Immerse yourself in lost stories from our past, brought to life with 21st-century technology in streets, squares and libraries around the UK.

StoryTrails is a deep dive into our collective history. It’s a magical immersion in the lost and untold stories that shaped our towns, cities and communities – and a chance to start a conversation about who we are now and where we’re going next.

We’re transforming the streets, squares, cinemas and libraries of 15 UK towns and cities into gateways to our past. Through these gateways, you can explore some of the extraordinary hidden histories that changed where we live and who we are. We’ll uncover the unknown stories that made these places what they are today – and using state-of-the-art augmented-reality and virtual reality (AR and VR) technology, we’ll retell them for you in 2022.

A journey through time and space

StoryTrails is a unique immersive experience that will change the way we tell stories about ourselves. Each StoryTrail is a journey through time and space – a radical and magical new way to experience our towns and cities.

Your journey will begin in the local library at the StoryTrails Portal. After being immersed in a virtual map of your town enhanced by 3D imagery and audio, you’ll head out into the streets – guided by a free AR app, moving at your own pace and in your own time.

Using a mix of stunning augmented and virtual reality experiences that remix the BFI and BBC archives, you’ll experience history where it actually happened, bringing the physical and digital worlds together. These moments will retell the story of each place and its people via immersive technologies that bring together our national media archives, exciting new 3D ‘selfies’ of people and places to create the world’s first ‘Spatial Archive’.

StoryTrails takes place during 2022 in Blackpool, Bradford, Bristol, Dumfries, Dundee, Lincoln, London (Lambeth and Lewisham), Newport, Omagh, Sheffield, Slough, Swansea, Swindon and Wolverhampton. It will culminate with a brand new film for the BBC and the BFI by David Olusoga: exploring our history, considering our lives today and starting new conversations about where we might go next.

StoryTrails is led by StoryFutures Academy, which is run by Royal Holloway, University of London and the National Film & Television School (NFTS), and is delivered in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI), David Olusoga, Uplands Television, ISO Design and Nexus Studios using cutting-edge technology from Niantic, makers of Pokémon GO. It will be brought to life in The Reading Agency’s national network of libraries by event-making specialists Produce UK.

BFI Hall

Get involved!

The StoryTrails team is recruiting a network of 50 people from the next generation of UK creative talent to help produce this project. Roles and responsibilities will vary from producing mobile AR trails to scanning people places and object for a new 3D map in every town to a series of placements with StoryTrails creative partners.

Find out more about these amazing opportunities at www.story-trails.com

Credits

Created by StoryFutures Academy – Royal Holloway, University of London and the National Film & Television School (NFTS)

Delivered with The British Film Institute (BFI), David Olusoga, Uplands Television, ISO Design, Nexus Studios, Niantic, The Reading Agency and Produce UK

key information

When

Summer/autumn 2022

Where

Blackpool, Bradford, Bristol, Dumfries, Dundee, Lincoln, London (Lambeth & Lewisham), Newport, Omagh, Sheffield, Slough, Swansea, Swindon and Wolverhampton

Suitable for

All ages (VR experiences 12+)

Admission

Free – no booking required