Provocare: A New Digital Story Exploring Female Agency and Violence Against Women

Recently launched, ‘Provocare’ is a multimedia verse thriller created by Sisters in Crime member, Meg Vann, writer; Mez Breeze, interaction designer; and Donna Hancox, research lead for Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). It is the first work to be commissioned and produced for ‘Queensland Writers on the International Stage’, an Arts Queensland funded programme created by QUT and The Writing Platform.

Provocare‘ is based on ‘Provocation‘, a short story by Meg Vann, that has been adapted and made into a multimedia verse thriller by the writer working in collaboration with Mez Breeze and Donna Hancox. The work explores themes of female agency and violence against women at a time in Australia when sixty-three women have been murdered by their intimate partners or ex-partners in 2015 alone.

Readers can explore both works online. ‘Provocare’ is available here, and ‘Provocation’ is available here. Writer, Meg Vann, has also shared her experience of collaborating to create digital work of fiction in this article on this site.

Said writer, Meg Vann:

“Like most women, I live with the effects of violence. Memories of abuse, and ongoing vigilance against harm creates core beliefs and behaviours that often cast women as having victim mentalities. But I believe it makes us survivors. Dedicated to a young woman who lost her life to a stalker, ‘Provocare’ explores this premise: the main character is a survivor of anorexia nervosa. She develops dysfunctional habits that, while self-harming in relation to her illness, are adapted to become tools in her battle for survival against the pernicious and unrecognised violence of a workplace stalker. Surveillance is also a theme in ‘Provocare’ as I am increasingly concerned about the misuse of surveillance technology – designed to improve public safety – in the abuse of women. Providing digital collaboration opportunities, and welcoming all-women teams, is vital in voicing women’s lived experiences, and challenging the predatory viewpoints so dominant in normative cultural narratives”

Interaction designer, Mez Breeze, commented:

“At a time when violence against women is at such catastrophic levels, working with this all-gal ‘Provocare’ team on the first commissioned production for ‘Queensland Writers on the International Stage’ has been a thoroughly rewarding experience. It’s been a privilege to have been invited to design and develop this collaborative digital fiction project with the potential to critically reflect upon such crucial social issues. With Donna at the Project Management helm, Meg the consummate wordsmith, and with the support of The Writing Platform, this has been one of the most successful international teams with which I’ve had the pleasure of working.”

About Queensland Writing on the International Stage

‘Queensland Digital Writing on the international stage: QUT and The Writing Platform’ is an Arts Queensland-funded programme which supports collaborations between writers and interactive designers to develop works for exhibition on The Writing Platform.

The second work created for ‘Queensland Writers on the International Stage’ will be an audio adaptation of the short story ‘Crawl Space’ by Krissy Kneen which will launch later this year.

Said Donna Hancox, research lead for Creative Industries at QUT:

“This project, which is focused on bringing together writers and designers to re-imagine how stories can be crafted and shared, is a really important way of increasing knowledge and skills around digital writing.  The future of writing is collaborative, and the creative works created through this project showcase the benefits of collaboration. The ongoing partnership between Queensland University of Technology, The Writing Platform and Arts Queensland is crucial in delivering information about new forms of writing to writers at all stages of their careers.”

Joanna Ellis, co-founder of The Writing Platform, commented:

“We are delighted to be working with our long-term partners, Queensland University of Technology, to create this opportunity for Queensland-based writers and interaction designers. As well as providing opportunities for the artists directly involved we are able to share their experience of creating digital stories, and of the collaborative process itself, with our wider community of writers and technologists.”  

If you would like to find out more about ‘Provocare’ – including speaking to the artists involved – or ‘Queensland Writers on the International Stage’, please contact:

Joanna Ellis: joanna[at]theliteraryplatform[dot]com

About The Writing Platform:

The Writing Platform is a website and commissioning program dedicated to providing inspiration and information for writers and creative technologists on new forms of storytelling. It was launched in 2012 by The Literary Platform and writer, Kate Pullinger, and operates in partnership with Bath Spa University and Queensland University of Technology.