A top award for digital storytelling has gone to a project co-led by researchers at Goldsmiths, University of London that digitally reconstructs an infamous Syrian prison.
The Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Awards honour groundbreaking digital narratives and the technologies used to tell these stories.
Since 2011 thousands have died in Syria’s prisons and detention facilities. With anyone perceived to be opposed to the Syrian government at risk, tens of thousands of people have been tortured and ill-treated in violation of international law.
The winning project focused on Saydnaya Prison, near Damascus. As there are no images of Saydnaya the researchers worked closely with survivors of the prison to reconstruct its architecture and their experiences of detention. With little daylight inside and detainees held in underground cells much of the focus was on using “ear-witness testimony” to recreate the architecture and soundscape of Saydnaya.
The result is an interactive 3D model that enables online visitors to explore the prison and the stories of those who witnessed its brutal regime.
The Saydnaya project was also named one of the 2016 winners of the Digital Dozen: Breakthroughs in Storytelling, awarded by the Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab, which celebrates the past year’s most innovative examples of digitally enabled storytelling.