Digital Visual Art and Literature Converge at British Council’s Saptan Stories


British Council India today launched Saptan Stories in collaboration with Aardman Animations, as part of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017. Saptan Stories is a mass collaborative arts event that will engage the Indian public to generate the first ever crowdsourced short story, interpreted and illustrated by 7 standout artists from India and the UK.

Audiences can take part in Saptan Stories online via a brand new website and community hub where they can view activity, find out about the artists, enter their own submissions, and vote for the winning lines each week.

Oscar® award-winning Aardman Animations – widely celebrated as the creators of Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Chicken Run – have been selected to develop Saptan Stories. The digital project is now launched for the public to submit their ideas for how the story continues. Over seven weeks, a new crowdsourced storyline will be added to the story every week and voted on by the Indian public. The seven artists will interpret the growing story in their unique visual styles.The event will take place over a seven week period to create one unique story and 49 art works, at the culmination of the project.

Alan Gemmell, OBE Director India, British Council, said “We are delighted to be working with Oscar-winning British animation studio Aardman Animations as part of the UK-India Year of Culture.  Saptan Stories invites people to create and share a story together – celebrating the long tradition of storytelling in India and, we hope, connecting and inspiring people in the UK and India to make something unique together. We can’t wait to see the results.”

Neil Pymer, Interactive Creative Director, Aardman, said, “Storytelling is at the heart of everything we do here at Aardman and we’re truly excited to be working with the British Council and some incredibly talented artists from India and the UK on Saptan Stories.  Creating a collaborative, unique, crowd-sourced story on this scale, over the entire country of India is awe-inspiring as much as its daunting!  We have no idea where the story is going to go, or how the artists will respond, which is why this project is so special; I can’t wait to see how it develops and evolves through the process.”

Visit Saptan Stories to contribute the next line of the story, vote on the outcome and see the artist responses to this one of a kind story for India. You can also download the Saptan Stories resource pack designed for use by teachers and educators, and workshop leaders, providing ideas for educational projects, activities and resources centred on developing storytelling skills and promoting collaborative creativity.

About the artists:

Adrita Das: Mumbai-based illustrator; often found dabbling in religion, dark humour, ethnography, meditative video editing, shaky backstage footage, story-telling for adults and educational games for kids.

Gavin Strange: By day, a Senior Designer for the brilliant Aardman Animations and by night goes under the alias of JamFactory, where he indulges in his passion for side-projects, from filmmaking to toy design, illustration to photography. Gav’s illustrations are colourful, fun and bold.

Gemma Correll: Cartoonist, writer, illustrator and all-round small person, with  illustration clients including Hallmark, The New York Times, Oxford University Press, Knock Knock, Chronicle Books and The Observer, Gemma’s illustrations are achingly British, addictively funny and invariably feature pugs!!

Janine Shroff: Janine’s art is figurative and occasionally surreal. It explores a range of themes including birth, pregnancy, gender. She was born in Mumbai but currently lives and works in London.

Priyesh Trivedi: Mumbai’s another gifted artist, who has been storming the art space with his spellbinding and immensely popular Adarsh Balak (Ideal Boy) series of paintings. According to him, art leaves lasting impression on the mind of the viewer than words.

Saloni Sinha: An illustrator who day-dreams to ignite her art work. She’s been freelancing for a lot bands for their album covers/logos, comic strips and flyers for music fest & events. Music is a major source of inspiration for this designer from Bengaluru.

Tom Mead: A surreal character designer and fine artist, working traditionally with pen drawings on paper or wood and based in Bristol in the UK. Mead’s inspiration comes from his own intense personal fears and inhibitions, which are represented vicariously through mysterious genderless characters. These stem from his childhood fear of humans dressed as animals, He is influenced by dark folk tales, the pop surrealist art scene, horror films, and is a huge fan of anything creepy and otherworldly.

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