2021 The Bureau of Investigative Journalism + Coney Project

In early 2021, the Contemporary Narratives Lab embarked on its second project, bringing together interactive theatre-maker Coney and the Health Inequality team at Bureau Local, part of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The project is funded by a research grant from City, University of London.

Unlike our previous pilot project, this partnership between Coney and the Bureau takes place over a longer ten-week period to create opportunities for sustained dialogue and collaboration. Both parties aim to use the opportunity to work with the public, reporting with rather than on people affected by changes to home care during the pandemic.

As part of their investigations, the Bureau runs “Open Newsrooms” — one-hour online events that are open to the public, sometimes led by panelists, to allow everyone to delve deeper into a topic area. For this project, Coney designed an “After-Party” experience that allowed participants to reflect on, and share with each other, what they learnt during the Care in a Time of Crisis Open Newsroom.

The investigation has already yielded an exclusive story delving into the true number of deaths amongst home care recipients in England and Scotland during the pandemic.

To accompany and build on the reporting in the article, Coney created a digital storytelling tool to help people document their perspective and circumstances. We hope this might form the beginning of a self-sustaining community, and for individuals and the families of those who receive assistance, who believe they’re invisible, to feel acknowledged.

This project is ongoing.

2018 Pilot Project

In June 2018, The Contemporary Narratives Lab carried out a pilot project that commissioned five groups of artists and journalists to work on stories emerging from the journalists’ investigations and articles.

The project was a partnership between the Financial Times, People’s Palace Projects, Queen Mary University of London, and The Battersea Arts Centre to explore the future of storytelling through digital and performance means. It was funded by a research grant from Queen Mary University’s Humanities and Social Science collaboration fund.

After just four days of development and rehearsal, the five sets of artists presented their works-in-progress, which all explored how theatre, performance and journalism can come together to spark curiosity and create meaningful experiences, to a live audience of 40 people at the Battersea Arts Centre.

Click below for more information about each of the works: