Columbia Digital Storytelling: Blockchain Fairy Tales PART 1

Tech & Democracy Summit

Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab (DSL) is a pioneering next-generation media lab that creatively integrates the arts, humanities and technology to tackle some of the world’s impossible problems.

The DSL presents Blockchain Fairy Tales, a collaborative world-building workshop. Those formerly known as the audience will become architects of the future as we explore playful worlds, contend with magical threats, and face the question: What if happily ever after is not guaranteed?


Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab

The Columbia DSL designs stories for the 21st Century. We build on a diverse range of creative and research practices originating in fields from the arts, humanities and technology. But we never lose sight of the power of a good story. Technology, as a creative partner, has always shaped the ways in which stories are found and told. In the 21st Century, for example, the mass democratization of creative tools — code, data and algorithms — have changed the relationship between creator and audience. The Columbia DSL, therefore, is a place of speculation, of creativity, and of collaboration between students and faculty from across the University. New stories are told here in new and unexpected ways.

Olivia Powell

Olivia Powell is a writer, experience designer, and storyteller who wonders what else stories can be and do. Drawing from theater, film, digital storytelling, and more, she experiments with narrative design across forms, producing works that have been described as “the bedtime stories that we forgot to tell.” Olivia earned her M.A. in digital direction from the Royal College of Art and B.A. in film & media studies from Dartmouth College. With Columbia School of the Arts' Digital Storytelling Lab, she has been a key collaborator on the emergent, open-source works, “Where There’s Smoke” and “Blockchain Fairy Tales.”

Shar Simpson

Shar Simpson (they/them) is a non-binary artist, interactive writer, and educator. They specialize in the crafting and mapping of compelling immersive stories for all ages. Shar is drawn to horror, comedy, and fun-houses as hot-zones for self-expression and discovery.

Shar is a Sundance Storytelling Lab fellow and a member of the Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab. Their work has been presented at Tribeca Film Festival’s Virtual Arcade, the Slamdance Film Festival, Mozilla Fest, and others. Shar currently teaches Digital Storytelling and World-Building at Columbia University’s School of Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab. For more information, visit

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