On the 13th of July 2018, five of my fellow students and I presented our research and final project for our Master degree. The EVA symposium took place at the British Computer Society.
At this stage, I had not yet written my final dissertation nor had the time to interview professionals about how to approach child abuse so my project was not as defined as I will describe it bellow.

This was a rewarding experience as sharing our work live with people was new to me. I received a positive feedback and many questions. People were interested in my project and wished to see more. This first wave of feedbacks helped me shape my project and become confident that such a project is important.

Many things changed since the Symposium, for example my project is no longer called "Little Red" but "Emily's Journey".

I will explain my research bellow and the story behind the project.

We only had 3 minutes to present our work in 3 slides! (No videos or GIFs allowed)

First of all: where does my project comes from? As an MA Communication Design student, I've been ask to find an issue and see how I, with my skills, can create and impact. Through discussions with my tutor, Peter Smith, we settled on the idea that I could turn the famous tale "The Little Red Ridding Hood" into a modern tale to raise awareness about child grooming.

I did a lot of research to create the main character, Emily, she was at first drawn with watercolour and pencils. I brought my project to the Bologna Children's Book Fair in March 2018 to get some feedback. Overall people like the character but wanted some digital illustrations which are easier to amend. Also my style was labelled as "too disney-like" and "too smooth". I decided to redesign the whole character to give her a more contemporary look. Her skin colour change as I know that it is often requested that different ethnicity are represented in children's book. Emily's mother is a "white British" woman with flaming red hair and her dad is "Asian British". By having mixed race parents, Emily will be easier to relate to for children as her skin colour seems to vary depending on the people surrounding her.
I started researching the subject: what is already in place to stop child grooming? Who should I talk to? Where do victims of child grooming find help and support?  I also read a lot of reports and statistics about child grooming in the UK. An scope about how and why victims come forward for disclosure. It came to my attention that statistically initial disclose are received by the mother or friends of the victim and these people usually don't have the training to handle the disclosure. I found some reports where the victim wasn't taken seriously or the receiver of the disclosure didn't recognise the disclosure. This is why my interactive graphic novel should help people to start talking about child grooming.
What I wish to do with this interactive graphic novel is to give the opportunity to the reader to experiment and influence the story's flow. I developed short scenarios where the reader could decide which mood Emily is in or how do her family and friends react to her change of behaviour.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any question about this project
or if you simply wish to learn more about it.
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