Digital Storytelling: Exploring a Data-driven Value Exchange in Cornwall
The project explored the role and value of digital storytelling to the Cornish seaside town of Newquay – a town that has succumbed to the challenges faced by traditional seaside resorts.
By enhancing an existing story of place, and offering a more immersive experience, the project enabled a data-driven evaluation to be made - the first of its kind in Cornwall – to determine the value and impact of storytelling to the town. The outcome of which will drive future decision making about broader place-based projects. The goal was to re-connect people with the planet via the arts, culture, and heritage of place.
The project was born out of a series of problems – destinations being unsustainable, funding for set storytelling projects and innovative outputs being finite, and the lack of data driven decisions being made from a destination perspective. These problems have been exacerbated by market forces, whilst at the same time local people – those who are impacted by tourism – have lost their voice and community structures within their own destinations.
These problems led to the research question being established – can storytelling revive the visitor economy and enable a more sustainable approach towards tourism to be achieved? The key to unlocking the answers was in one word, collaboration. Collaboration between research partners, and collaboration between the people of place and organisations which promote the destination. The long-term goals were clear and seek to address sustainable places and communities (SDG11; 11.4). However, for this specific project, the goal was to generate data as a baseline to determine the value and role of storytelling in one seaside destination – Newquay.
Natalie Semley - Project Lead
Growing up in a traditional seaside resort on the North coast of Cornwall, Natalie Semley has a detailed understanding of the tourism industry. Her career path has taken many turns and her experience varies, from delivering visitor services to working in academia.Staff profile
The project was funded internally, through the Supporting Impactful Knowledge Exchange fund.
The primary beneficiaries of this work are the people of place, whose history and heritage has been transformed into an immersive online audio tour and made accessible to all. However, the reach has been extraordinary. Within the first 6 weeks of being online, the tour surpassed 1000 views (August 2023). The significance of this impact, led by the Geotourist data dashboard, is clear – as data driven decisions are already being made for future value exchanges in Cornwall.
Project outputs & outcomes
The project outputs include an array of audio files, various forms of data, and the dissemination of the project to various audiences. Different stories about the project have been curated for specific audiences, and consequently the project has been reported on both within and outside of the town. The outcomes of the audio tour are represented through the feedback received, the rating of the tour, alongside the reach and impact of the news stories generated. Further outcomes include a pending publication, and the invitation to present at the Tourism Management Institute’s annual convention in October 2023.
Scan the QR code above to follow the town trail learn more about Newquay's sealife and wildlife and help support sustainable tourism.