Updated: 06 Jan 2012

Award-Winning Innovation at De Montfort University

27th April 2007

Innovation out of De Montfort University (DMU) has attracted national acclaim this week with awards for a pioneering digital author and the prototyping of a child safety invention.

Kate Pullinger, Reader in Creative Writing and New Media at DMU, won the Gold prize in both the Higher Education and the Exceptional Creativity categories of the annual British Female Innovators and Inventors Network (BFIIN) Awards for taking literature into a new interactive realm. See www.katepullinger.com

DMU also contributed to another winner. The Walkodile - a safety walking system for infants on group outings - was developed and prototyped for inventor Elaine Stephen by the University's Product Design Unit. She was awarded Diamond prize in both the Innovation/Invention and the Product Development categories for the Walkodile. See www.walkodile.com

Judges saw the Walkodile and learned about Kate Pullinger's work including online multimedia novels, at a showcase of 50 shortlisted candidates at the BFIIN Awards at the Department of Trade and Industry. See bfiin.gwiin.info/award_2007.htm

Run by the Global Women Inventors & Innovators Network (GWIN), the awards aim to increase the number of innovative women embracing enterprise.

Kate is one of the UK's few established writers to make in-roads into digital fiction. Her projects range from the world's first-ever wiki-novel with Penguin Books UK and DMU's ground-breaking Institute of Creative Technologies (see www.ioct.dmu.ac.uk), to the first story-led casual online game for women.

The successful 'A Million Penguins' wiki-novel project (www.amillionpenguins.com) was a unique experiment in collaborative digital writing, ultimately written by over 2000 authors around the globe and debated by the international media and weblogs around the world.

Another example of her work is the award-winning online multimedia novel, Inanimate Alice, which tells its story through images, video, music, animation and narrative text (see www.inanimatealice.com). It is co-created with Chris Joseph (www.chrisjoseph.org) who is currently Digital Writer in Residence at DMU's Institute of Creative Technologies.

Kate has found new ways to maximise the potential for collaboration with distributed and virtual social networks for entertainment and education. Such networks encompass an enormously diverse population, in the UK and worldwide, and the under-catered for audiences of girls and women; the primary focus of her work on the UK's first online casual game aimed at women, 'Venus Redemption', for games developer nDreams (see www.storygamer.com).

Further examples can be seen in the development, with Professor Sue Thomas at DMU, of the UK's first online Masters degree programme in creative and digital writing, where Kate is using her expertise to enthuse students.
Kate said: "It's very exciting to win these awards because it brings recognition to our work at DMU in new media writing where we are at the cutting edge of creativity, and draws attention to the endless opportunities for innovation available to everyone on the internet."

DMU's lead in creative technologies continues when it hosts Europe's first women's conference about blogging and business on 8 June, with key speakers from Microsoft, BlogHer in the States, and Guardian Unlimited. For information and booking see www.nlabwomen.com


Notes for Editors

For further information, images or to arrange interviews please contact De Montfort University Press Office on 0116 2577021

For further information or to be kept informed about IOCT activities, please contact:
The Director, Institute of Creative Technologies,
De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH
Tel: (+44) 0116 250 6146
Email: eedmonds [at] dmu.ac.uk

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