Bolton Storyworld - Bellyfeel

Think of Bolton Storyworld as the “X-Files” set in Bolton UK, made by students, delivered onto multiple devices and media platforms.

This is one of Bellyfeel’s more experimental media projects…and perhaps most successful!

Over the course of more than 5 years we worked with Anna Załuczkowska and the University of Bolton solving the problem of how to create an engaging story experience that students contribute to as well as consume, and in doing so learn how to write, produce and deliver onto multiple media platforms.

In addition, the story needed to be used for teaching, local business outreach AND student recruitment.

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Krishna from Bellyfeel was a consultant to University of Bolton in 2009, helping create a degree course in media production with a focus on multiplatform.

Following on, Bellyfeel were invited to preliminary discussions about a new project involving students in an online multiplatform soap opera – provisionally entitled Here and Now.

Anna worked on various routes to fund the project through research and academic funding.

Bellyfeel contributed to plans and ideas which were used to generate funding bids.

None of the funding came through.

Bellyfeel continued being involved as advisors, suggesting cheap and effective ways to start the interactive story project with no money. Bellyfeel monitored and advised on what was working and what wasn’t.

As the retitled Bolton Storyworld story and characters developed on social media and became visible, funding opportunities became available.

Internal funding facilitated large scale shoots inside the University.

This produced a massive amount of media for the project and the story began to get unfocussed.

Then, outside funding brought Bellyfeel back into the project – we initially developed a geo-located story system, and a Diorama of the story and characters.

As the project progressed and expanded, 120 students worked on the project in different roles. The project spanned film serials, games, live events, competitions and, geo-locative technology.

The University decided to ban student involvement with the project when some previously unknown ethical barriers were broken.

Bellyfeel worked with Anna to quickly solve the issue after which the University backed the project and used it for their own PR and publicity.

Following on Bellyfeel were commissioned to re-engineer the story and media on 2 further occasions – running as different campaigns with different delivery


In its final output, the project was submitted to the Learning OnScreen Awards 2016, which the project won, surprisingly, not just in its category but across the board as the best project of the year, beating many larger Universities and BBC Learning.

Bolton Storyworld was also selected into the Seattle Transmedia and Independent Film Festival competition 2016.

Bellyfeel’s Transmedia and Multiplatform consultancy made me change the way we teach writing and media production at the University. We are now preparing students for the media industry of today and tomorrow rather than yesterday.
Anna Zaluczkowska
Programme Leader Media, Writing and Production - University of Bolton