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New direction for the written word in a digital age

We all live in a digital age but where does that leave traditional literary forms?

Books have transitioned successfully to a variety of new e-reader devices. But although the ways of accessing literary forms have multiplied, literature has largely failed to take advantage of the potential of digital except to be “printed” on electronic paper.

As a multi-disciplinary university where computer scientists, engineers and industrial designers have become accustomed to working with musicians, writers and those in the performing arts, Brunel was ideally placed to explore the frontiers.

Led by Brunel Professor of Contemporary Thought and accomplished writer, Will Self, the interdisciplinary team of 70 took the literary essay as its starting point.

The resulting work “Kafka’s Wound” is highly innovative and of high artistic quality. It has impacted on diverse audiences worldwide, evolving a multi-media digital essay. It has also raised important issues about the nature of authorship, collaboration and co-design in digital forms which help frame broader questions about the nature of creativity, intellectual property rights and the processes and experience of reading.

The independent evaluation for Arts Council England stated: “A small number of projects (including Brunel’s) were consistently identified, by arts organisations and audiences alike, as showing innovation in terms of art form development and production, creating genuinely new experiences.”