Week 5: Locative Narrative & Actionbound: Finding me @ work

Firstly, I struggled with this.

However, the purpose of my ‘bound’ was to ensure that others (namely, my step-kids), would not. With work experience at school imminent, I thought it would be useful for them to not only discover exactly what I do for a living, but simultaneously how to make their way from home, to my studio, without (human) assistance. With the potential to learn a couple of things on the way, and get an idea of what it’s like to commute and work in a city, I set up a basic bound so that they could find their way to me, rather than travel with me in the morning and have to spend their entire day in work.

The bound itself is simple; navigate your way from the house to one train station, and then from another train station to my studio (via a stop for a sandwich). From experience, I know that both step-kids would be initially apprehensive about travelling from Darlington to Newcastle on their own. Not only would the journey itself take them out of their comfort zone, but so would buying the ticket for a train and navigating their way around Newcastle, upon arrival. The concept of a bound seemed like a reasonable solution; providing them with something akin to a ‘mobile game’, in order for an element of their regular comfort zone to be with them at all times.

From a technical point of view, I struggled with the two mobile versions of Actionbound at my disposal; both iOS (iPhone and iPad) didn’t function as bound ‘builders’. I was stuck in a constant loop between downloading the bound app, and registering to use it. Subsequently, I created and edited my bound solely on my MacBook (which I tend not to carry with me, given that I own two more useful mobile devices, and its limited battery). A did manage to implement each required process, however, although the scanning of QR codes along the route may rely heavily on the live technology of Newcastle station and Virgin Rail (below).

However, after making the journey and considering how I would feel making it for the first time, again, I considered the process(es), and sketched out a basic step-by-step process. Including a couple of historical pieces of information finding; one which they should already know as lifelong residents of Darlington (below), and one which could well pop up in a pub quiz one day (second below), I ended the navigation with a plaque from my building; proof of why I fully support(ed) the UK remaining in the EU (third below) (which would hopefully solve any further teatime politics at home).

As mobile locative narratives go, it is simple, but the motivation for its perceived ‘audience’ (albeit two teenagers) is one to motivate their personal growth, and allow them more freedom. The audience would certainly be constrained by their inability to venture too far from the route itself (although in this instance, from the ‘creator’s’ POV, this would certainly be an affordance – in that I wouldn’t want them to wander in any case) (Ritchie, 2014, pg.54); the idea being that either child would be familiar with the process of following instruction on their mobile device, despite being unfamiliar with their surroundings.

Physically, in the absolute sense of the word, they would be unbound to explore Newcastle as they desired, but their more mental limitations would dissuade them from doing so – particularly if they were encouraged by the Actionbound app to simultaneously navigate both the digital and physical space of the route (which I added a navigational arrow to, after my initial test) (Ritchie, pg.65). Step 6 on my bound provided them with the option of sandwich shops to choose from, and cunningly invited them to bring me a sandwich too, which would hopefully encourage them to remain on the navigated path, but in essence does limit their physical journey (again, after testing, I added the task of uploading a photo of said sandwich, proving their arrival would be imminent).

Queueing and buying said sandwich, in an unfamiliar location, as well as purchasing a train ticket for the journey, in Step 3, are the sort of ‘face-to-face’ activities I see both children most daunted by in everyday life as they turn into young adults. These ‘bodily encounters’, that they will try to avoid at all costs, if either myself or my partner are around, are the sort of small elements of personal growth I believe they would feel more comfortable with, were they merely part of something akin to a mobile game. If following a simple bound turns these perceived ‘perils’ into ‘pleasures’ (Berry, et al., 2013, pg.3), then I sincerely support the use of locative narratives in not just the finding of information, but the development of essential physical, mental and corporeal attributes in people who have grown up with, and subsequently rely upon, digital technology in all aspects of their lives.


Actionbound. [online resource: accessed March 2018]. Available at http://actionbound.com

Berry, C., Harbord, J., & Moore, R., (2013). Public Space, Media Space. Palgrave Macmillan

Ritchie, J., (2014). The Affordance and Constraints of Mobile Locative Narratives. The Mobile Story: Narrative Practices with Locative Technologies. Routledge. pp.53-67.


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