Serious storytelling – a first definition and review

Artur Lugmayr*, Erkki Sutinen, Jarkko Suhonen, Carolina Islas Sedano, Helmut Hlavacs, Calkin Suero Montero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


In human culture, storytelling is a long-established tradition. The reasons people tell stories are manifold: to entertain, to transfer knowledge between generations, to maintain cultural heritage, or to warn others of dangers. With the emergence of the digitisation of media, many new possibilities to tell stories in serious and non-entertainment contexts emerged. A very simple example is the idea of serious gaming, as in, digital games without the primary purpose of entertainment. In this paper, we introduce the term serious storytelling as a new potential media genre – defining serious storytelling as storytelling with a purpose beyond entertainment. We also put forward a review of existing potential application areas, and develop a framework for serious storytelling. We foresee several application areas for this fundamental concept, including wellbeing and health, medicine, psychology, education, ethical problem solving, e-leadership and management, qualitative journalism, serious digital games, simulations and virtual training, user experience studies, and online communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15707-15733
Number of pages27
JournalMultimedia Tools and Applications
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Ambient media
  • Design science
  • Digital interactive media
  • Digital narratives
  • E-health
  • E-leadership
  • E-learning
  • Education
  • Forensics
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Journalism
  • Persuasive messages
  • Serious games
  • Serious storytelling
  • Smart media
  • Storytelling, digital storytelling
  • Ubiquitous computation
  • Ubiqutious media
  • User-experience
  • Virtual reality


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