Dr Tom Abba


Dr Tom Abba is an Associate Professor in Art & Design, and a specialist in narrative theory and practice, teaching into BA (hons) Drawing & Print.

Established as a practitioner and theorist in new media, Tom’s work has also included narrative illustration, graphic design and critical journalism, the latter addressing the convergence of psychogeography, genre fiction and new media form. Tom co-directs the Ambient Literature project with colleagues from UWE, Bath Spa and Birmingham Universities. He is a Trustee of the UK Science Fiction Foundation, and maintains an independent, very irregular, research blog.

Building on a networked, distributed digital narrative published as ‘anovelexperiment in 2011, he has since worked alongside the artists’ collective Circumstance, writing and designing these pages fall like ash (2013) and ‘short films for you’ (2012), each of which explore how digital and physical platforms can combine to create unique narrative experiences. He has written a manifesto for writers working on digital platforms – This is Not a Book – and finds choose-your-own-adventure stories tedious.

Tom’s practice and research is predominantly concerned with the development of new methods by which to write and produce interactive narrative. That question immediately proposes a multitude of possible answers. Is interactive storytelling hypertextual, in which one amongst numerous outcomes is chosen, or is the manner of its distribution significant, over for example, a number of different platforms and devices? Is it dependent on mobile, pervasive media, or a remediation of old forms into new. Can it be expressed by writing alone, or might it depend on a convergence of media forms? Is computer game design the solution? Augmented, or alternate reality simulations? Or is it all of these and more, a new form for writing that encompasses a post-literature, post-film ecology that might reframe the nature of narrative itself?