The Framework Knitters Museum is a small independent museum which explores the history of Nottinghamshire’s textile industry. One of the key stories we consider is that of the Luddite Riots. You may be familiar with the term Luddite in relation to a person who opposes new technology; however the origin of the word refers to a 19th century protest movement originally consisting of the Framework Knitters who attacked the machines, managers and industrialists which they blamed for their poor living and working conditions.
With such an emotive story to explore I was keen to create an opportunity for interaction and reflection. Inspired by the interactive book format we developed a unique interactive film in which the main character speaks directly to the viewer and requests their advice in confronting challenging dilemmas. For instance the knitter asks the viewers whether he should join a gang, engage in criminal damage, steal to feed his family or tell on his friends. All of these issues have obvious contemporary relevance.
By utilising hidden hyperlinks the viewer makes choices from a menu which changes the direction of the film. Each scene has been filmed a number of times with subtle differences to ensure that there is continuity as every choice made sends the story in a different direction. The viewers effectively create their own film. When used in a classroom setting the group debate the options and vote on their preferred choices. At the end of the film the users are encouraged to reflect upon the choices they made and whether, given the conclusion, they might wish they had made different ones. Essentially we aim to transform the audience from passive 21st century voyeurs into active, emotionally committed participants. The film is offered free to users on the museum website and our You Tube channel.
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