Introducing: StoryEurope

Catalyzing New Narratives for Europe Through Collective Intelligence

Why?

Austerity. Eurozone Crisis. Secessionist/Independence Movements. Immigration. Terrorism. The Rise of the Far Right. Islamophobia. These are just some of the issues and challenges that Europe is facing today.

All of these big issues require public debate leading to concrete policies and concrete actions to address them, but we also need to think of new possibilities, new narratives for what is possible, rather than falling back and rehashing the same old debates. As Albert Einstein said:

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

Similar projects on “European Narrative” have been done before, but StoryEurope is the first that will employ Collective Intelligence tools to make the process participatory and open to anyone. In early 2014, the European Union itself launched its own “New Narrative for Europe,” initiative which was drafted by “a cultural committee, composed of artists and scientists from all over the continent.” Narratives.eu invited “thinkers, artists, writers and activists from Europe and beyond” to share their thoughts on four main topics: taboos, stereotypes, labour, and a new generation of political/bureaucratic leadership.

At StoryEurope we want to build upon these collective narrative building initiatives with a process that welcomes the participation of everyone. It will be a bold and radical experiment in collective intelligence and civic participation.

What, When, and How?

  • Now: StoryEurope is currently accepting submissions for short narrative idea pieces approximately 500 words or less that propose new narrative ideas and strategies for Europe. Please refer to sample article “The Euro Isn’t Our Only Shared Currency” for reference regarding style and length. We welcome contributions from people across the political spectrum and across the demographics of Europe (and outside of it as well). We also welcome non-text-based submissions like images, photography, and video. Please send all submissions to leesean@purpose.com.
  • Summer 2015: Over the course of the summer, we will publish the accepted submissions and invite the general public across Europe and outside of it to join the discussion on a platform called DebateHub. Unlike traditional discussion forums, DebateHub will allow us to map and visualize the semantic and social elements of the conversation.
  • Autumn 2015: We will gather and analyze everybody’s contributions in the discussion and debate, summarize, synthesize, and visualize it to produce a “StoryEurope 2015” book. Everybody who participates will be a co-author, making it the first collectively-intelligenced book on new European narratives.

Who?

StoryEurope is a project of Purpose and the Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute (KMI) as part of our collaboration on the Catalyst project.

  • Purpose builds bottom-up movements and business models that give agency to people and challenge existing institutions.
  • KMI is an institute of the Open University focused on research and development in the Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Artificial Intelligence and Semantic Technologies, and Multimedia.
  • Catalyst is a research and innovation consortium working to increase the quality and scale of online deliberation and debate.

The primary contact and community manager for StoryEurope is Lee-Sean Huang: leesean@purpose.com and @leesean on Twitter.