FAQs

GENERAL

 

What is StoryTrails? 

StoryTrails is an immersive storytelling experience bringing untold stories and local history to life in 15 locations across the UK. There are three individual activities within StoryTrails; Augmented Reality (AR) trails, Virtual Reality (VR) experiences, and Spatial Map installations. You can view more information about each activity by clicking on the segments below. 

When and where is it taking place? 

StoryTrails will be based in and around the local library of each location. StoryTrails is taking place in: 

  • Omagh Library – 01 & 02 July 
  • Dundee Central Library – 07 & 08 July 
  • Dumfries Ewart Library – 12 & 13 July 
  • Blackpool Central Library – 16 & 17 July 
  • Bradford City Library – 22 & 23 July 
  • Sheffield Central Library – 27 & 28 July 
  • Lincoln Central Library – 30 & 31 July 
  • Wolverhampton Central Library – 06 & 07 Aug 
  • Swansea / Abertawe Central Library – 10 & 11 Aug 
  • Newport / Casnewydd Central Library – 13 & 14 Aug 
  • Bristol Central Library – 20 & 21 Aug 
  • Swindon Central Library – 27 & 28 Aug 
  • Slough – The Curve Library – 03 & 04 Sep 
  • Lambeth – Brixton Library – 10 & 11 Sep 
  • Lewisham – Catford Library – 17 & 18 Sep
For more information, including opening times and library addresses, click here.
How do I attend? 

StoryTrails is a free event suitable for all ages, no ticket or booking is required. If you would like to attend a free guided trail, please arrive half an hour before departure to allow time for onboarding.

What will I see?

There are different experiences that visitors can participate in on the day, all are free and you can do as many or as few as you like. Visitors can go on guided augmented reality walking trails, using borrowed mobile devices from the library or they can download the StoryTrails app and complete the trail themselves. The app allows audiences to experience a local story on the streets of their town often at the very spot these stories took place. Audiences will see photos, watch videos, view 3D models, and listen to stories, all at specific points across the trail.

Outside the library you can start a bespoke augmented reality trail using the free StoryTrails app (available to download from the App store or Google play store soon) which takes you on an interactive tour of the town or join one of our guided tours. Local landmarks are transformed to become interactive scenes through which you can explore history at or close to the location it took place in. Featuring archive footage and recordings from the BBC and British Film Institute and local and national archives you can uncover untold stories presenting a window into the past.

There is also a one stop AR virtual cinema experience just outside the library. This offers visitors a  fun introduction to each town with local facts and an archive reel celebrating the town, past and present. There’s a chance to hear from the local trailmaker and learn what inspired them to create their walkable storytrail. This experience is ideal for those unable to commit to completing the longer trail, or for anyone with mobility challenges.

Historian and television presenter David Olusoga, familiar to viewers of the BBC’s A House in Time, narrates a further AR experience that invites visitors to turn a dial on a virtual giant radio and travel back in time. From Beatlemania and the flares and haircuts of the swinging sixties, to dancing to the end of the millennium in crop-tops and trainers, audiences will experience a potted history of the UK through the decades. This is available outside the library via the StoryTrails app.

Inside the library will be a large immersive cinema screen featuring a virtual map of your town unlike anything you have seen before. Using 3D scans of the local buildings, people, objects and places alongside audio stories of the people from your city creating an emotional map. An expanded version of the map can also be viewed on iPads inside the library.

Time travel continues inside the library when visitors can enter digitally created worlds using a virtual reality (VR) headset. You can enjoy a selection of fully immersive and interactive tales. For example, you could put yourself into the punk past of Britain in the 70’s or fast forward 50 years into the future to see how the world might look then. Some VR experiences are also available inside the StoryTrails van which will be parked outside, or near to the library entrance.

How accessible is StoryTrails? 

At StoryTrails we are committed to inclusivity and ensuring everyone can have an exciting experience, regardless of ability. 

If you are unable to follow the main trail, the one stop AR cinema experience outside the library will enable visitors to connect with the story of the main trail. There is another AR experience just outside the library narrated by David Olusoga which is also suitable for those unable to complete the full walking story trail

There are multiple Virtual Reality experiences which can be completed both inside the library and in our StoryTrails van.

The immersive cinema experience can be viewed inside the library and iPads will also be available which visitors can use to explore all of the stories which make up the virtual map of the town.

We also recommend viewing your local libraries accessibility guidelines before attending.

For more information about accessibility, click here.

 

MOBILE AR TRAILS

 

What is AR?

Augmented Reality, or AR for short, enhances reality by overlaying digital information onto the real world being viewed through a smart device. In other words, by using the camera on a smart device, AR is able to place digital objects in the real world.

What are the trails?

Guided by the Voices of the Trails, visitors will travel round a set route and use our AR app to view historical photos, watch archive videos, and listen to the stories of people and places in the exact spot it happened. Voices of the Trails are all from or connected to the towns, varying from local heroes, Paralympians and celebrities.

While the AR trails are drop in, there are guided sessions we recommend doing, especially for families! Guided tours leave every hour, but please make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before departure.

How many trails are there?

There are three different trails for each city, ranging in distance and time. All of the trails finish at the library they start from, and there is always a maximum of 4 minutes walking between stops. Trails take between 20-45 minutes to complete, but this may vary depending on ability.

For more information about accessibility, please click here.
What do I need to bring? 

We have a limited number of smart devices available for visitors to take around the trail. Hiring a device is free, but you must bring a form of photo ID.

Due to software compatibility, we highly recommend using one of our smart devices and taking part on a guided trail for the full immersive experience. However, if you wish to use your own, you will need an up to date smartphone and headphones, as audio can be difficult to hear amongst the background noise of the city. We also strongly recommend bringing a battery pack as Augmented Reality can quickly drain phone battery. You can download our app by searching ‘Story-Trails’ in your app store, or clicking the link below.

Please also be aware that visitors use provided and personal devices at their own risk, and StoryTrails is not liable to use of mobile data or damage to any personal device. 

Download our App

To install our app, click below:

Apple iOS (iPhone)
Google Play Store (Android)
I’ve downloaded the app, now what?
Click here for our handy guide on installing and using our app.
Can I leave my belongings anywhere whilst doing the trail?

Visitors must take their own belongings with them. Any belongings left behind are done so at your own risk. StoryTrails is not responsible for damage or theft of personal belongings.

How long does it take? 

Guided trails take approximately up to 45 minutes. If you choose to walk the trail by yourself, this will vary.

What are the age guidelines?

Younger children are welcome on the AR trails and in the immersive screen experience but the VR is not generally recommended for children under 12. This is in compliance with the headset manufacturer’s guidelines. Some content features mature/adult themes, similar to a PG rated feature film.

Do I need to book? 

No, you do not need to book. Guided trails leave on the hour, but please arrive 30 minutes before to allow time for on-boarding and to borrow a device.  The other experiences you can drop into throughout the day. As times may vary, please check your locations opening times by clicking here. 

How will I know what to do? 

If you take a guided trail, our actors and team will guide you around the town or city providing a fully immersive experience. If you choose to do the trail yourself, our app will guide you around the trail. At the live events in each StoryTrails location we will have volunteers on hand to assist you and make your experience as seamless as possible.

If you have any concerns or questions before or during your visit, please speak to your local library staff, or email us at: StoryTrails@rhul.ac.uk

If I can’t make the dates, can I still do the trail? 

As StoryTrails exists digitally, the trail will still be available for 6 months after the location’s date. All you need is to download the StoryTrails app on an up to date smartphone and you’re good to go!

How accessible is StoryTrails? 

At StoryTrails we are committed to inclusivity and ensuring everyone can have an exciting experience, regardless of ability. 

If you are unable to follow the main trail, the one stop AR cinema experience outside the library will enable visitors to connect with the story of the main trail. There is another AR experience just outside the library narrated by David Olusoga which is also suitable for those unable to complete the full walking story trail

There are multiple Virtual Reality experiences which can be completed both inside the library and in our Story-Trails van.

The immersive cinema experience can be viewed inside the library and iPads will also be available which visitors can use to explore  all  the stories which make up the virtual map of the town.

We also recommend viewing your local libraries accessibility guidelines before attending.

For more information about accessibility click here.

 

VR Experiences

 

What is VR?

Virtual Reality, or VR for short allows audiences to inhabit a completely different virtual world through a headset. 

During StoryTrails, a number of VR projects will be available for visitors to experience. Headsets will have multiple experiences available, and visitors will have the option to choose which they’d like to view. There will be four VR headsets set up inside each library during the time StoryTrails is there. For some locations, there will also be a StoryTrails van outside housing additional VR experiences.

What do I need to bring?

Just yourself! There will be bag boxes at the side of each space for you to leave belongings while experiencing the VR experiences.

Any belongings left in the boxes are done so at your own risk. StoryTrails is not responsible for damage or theft of personal belongings.

How will I know what to do?

StoryTrails staff will be there to help and guide you throughout your entire VR experience.

Do I need to book?

You do not need to book to experience the VR installations. Instead, visitors will be asked to queue.

As there are a limited number of VR headsets, visitors will need to rejoin the queue if they wish to view multiple VR experiences.

How long will it take?

Each VR experience takes approximately 10 minutes.

If I can’t make the dates, can I still experience the VR?

Unfortunately, as you must have a preloaded headset to use VR, the experiences will not be available to view after StoryTrails has left your location.

How accessible is VR at StoryTrails?

Accessibility into the venue may vary with each location. To check your library’s accessibility, please check your local location page, or for more detailed accessibility information please click here.

The VR spaces inside the library and the StoryTrails van are both wheelchair accessible.

 

Immersive Cinema

 

What is it?

Inside the library will be a large immersive cinema screen featuring a virtual map of your town unlike anything you have seen before. Using 3D scans of the local buildings, people, objects and places alongside audio stories of the people from your town we’ve created an emotional map of each location.  

The map can be viewed in two ways: projected on a curved cinema screen as a 20-minute-long curated film or interactively on one of the  iPads.

Each iPad also holds all stories along the trail. We will also be providing splitters for headphones.

How will I know what to do?

StoryTrails staff will be there to assist you with viewing the spatial maps.

How long will it take?

The curated video is approximately 20 minutes long. Visitors may use the iPads for as long as they wish.

If I can’t make the dates, can I still view the spatial maps?

Yes! StoryTrails will be leaving behind iPads at each library we visit for 6 months after we attend, with all maps and stories available.

How accessible is it?

As the projection and iPads are being housed inside the libraries, accessibility into the venue may vary with each location. To check your library’s accessibility, please click here.

Please be aware that there is limited seating inside the projection screen.

 

If you have a question which wasn’t answered here, please contact us at: StoryTrails@rhul.ac.uk

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