#Romanovs100 is an online documentary "photo-puzzle" which merges a large set of visual data with transmedia storytelling to piece out the big picture of a "lost Russia". With a key objective to engage audiences in learning experiences, we partnered with artist Marina Amaral, the colorist behind 'Faces Of Auschwitz' and 'English Heritage', to run a creative digital colorization contest using photos from the Romanovs family archive.
The Romanov archive is perhaps the first private photo chronicle in history to boast such detail and scope. #Romanovs100 was a "live" tribute to the last Russian ruling family, giving their photographs - once kept in archived family albums - a second, digital life in social media. Four thousand photos combined to create a dynamic narrative, which was then shared across social media platforms in innovative ways.
Our team's objective is to demonstrate how interactive educational projects can resonate with "new generations" fully-adapted to gadgets and a "news feed mentality"; to highlight how innovative storytelling can help young people engage with history.
With the #Romanovs100 digital colorization contest we tried to make inspecting and recoloring the historic photos an immersive process through which people learn history, experience the epoch through a faithful retreatment of old photos.
We offered our audience the chance to color rare images from the Romanovs collection. Every participant could choose & download any 3 photos that Brazilian colorization artist Marina Amaral selected for the contest. It was up to the contestant how many to color. Once finished, contest submissions were posted on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #Romanovs100. We received dozens of artworks from all over the world - Indonesia, United States, Bolivia, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Russia, Philippines, Trinidad, Netherlands and many other countries. Artworks were created by professional artists as well as people trying their hand at digital colorization for the first time. Contestants of all ages took part - the youngest being 11 and 13 years old, while the oldest was a 70 year-old University professor in Chile. The winners were awarded 2 books - "The Colour of Time" by Marina Amaral and Dan Jones and "#1917LIVE: The Russian Revolution in Tweets".
"Colorization of photos is an art through which we can express ourselves. It is truly refreshing to see that people are beginning to understand that digital media can offer some powerful educational tools."
#Romanovs100 is widely acclaimed by educators, historians and researchers in higher-education. Our team already made several presentations at 2nd and 3rd level institutions. The project was selected to be part of the official educational program of America's biggest creative festival - SXSW 2019 in Austin, Texas. #Romanovs100 is also showcasing at ASU GSV X forum in San Diego, focusing on innovations in education, and PromaxBDA Europe, gathering the best-inclass creative case studies in TV industry.
#Romanovs100 had an impressive impact across social media. The project generated over 25 million impressions & gathered around 55,000 fans & followers combined. Social media posts generated over 1 million engagements (likes, shares, comments, retweets). Our short documentary videos on Facebook and YouTube gained 1+ million video views with over half-a-million minutes of watchtime.
#Romanovs100 became the key hashtag during the centenary of the Romanovs' death on Twitter worldwide. During 16-17th July #Romanovs100 hashtag usage grew more than 2,000% with the project's unique tag featured in tweets by museums, history magazines, publishers, historians, students and educators. The project received wide global media coverage, featuring in The History Extra magazine, BBC News Hour, Tatler, Sky News, Daily Mail, The Sunday Telegraph, Quartz, Culture Trip and more.
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