Best Papers at ICIDS 2023 Conference 

The Interactive Technologies Institute proudly participated in the 16th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS) held in Kobe, Japan, from November 11-15, 2023. As the premier gathering for researchers and practitioners exploring digital interactive narratives, ICIDS provided a platform for ITI to showcase groundbreaking research and innovative projects. 

Best Short Paper Winner  

The Best Short Paper award and a prize of 300 euros were bestowed upon Claudia Silva for her work on combating hate speech through Interactive Digital Counter-Narratives (IDCN). Cláudia Silva’s paper “Fighting Against Hate Speech: A Case for Harnessing Interactive Digital Counter-Narratives” delves into the potential of IDCNs to address hate speech effectively, emphasising the limited existing research in this critical area. Drawing inspiration from two case studies and incorporating principles of decolonial thinking and Critical Race Theory, the paper highlights the unique ways digital media, including video games and VR/AR/XR, can counteract hate speech. The research argues that interactive counter-narratives offer a powerful means to challenge this societal phenomenon, preserving freedom of speech, debunking stereotypes, encouraging mutual understanding, and facilitating dialogue. 

Two Best Full Paper Nominees and One Winner 

Cláudia Silva has also joined María Cecilia Reyes and Hartmut Koenitz to receive the Best Full Paper award and a prize of 400 euros for their work on decolonising Interactive Digital Narrative (IDN) pedagogy. The paper “Decolonizing IDN Pedagogy From and with Global South: A Cross-Cultural Case Study “presents a cross-cultural case study involving 120 students from higher education institutions in the Global South and Global North. Through collaboration and cross-cultural dialogue, students could incorporate decolonial thinking into the analysis of IDN artefacts, challenging colonial norms of universalism and Eurocentrism. The study demonstrated that global collaboration and interaction across time zones fostered a critical understanding of IDNs. 

Valentina Nisi, Stuart James, Paulo Bala, Alessio Del Bue, and Nuno Jardim Nunes presented their work on inclusive digital storytelling, which was shortlisted as a Best Full Paper. Even though it did not win, the paper “Inclusive Digital Storytelling: Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality to Re-centre Stories from the Margins” featured groundbreaking work on the MEMEX project, an interactive digital storytelling tool developed over three years in the context of an EU-funded project. The tool integrates Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality to support the cultural integration of marginalised communities, addressing concerns about the widening digital divide. The paper describes the final working prototype of MEMEX and its pilot study, showcasing the potential for technology to amplify voices from the margins. 

The Interactive Technologies Institute’s presence at ICIDS 2023 underscored its commitment to advancing research and innovation at the intersection of technology, narrative, and societal impact. ITI continues to be at the forefront of shaping the future of interactive digital storytelling.