Growing a community of web-native storytellers

Telling stories born on the web

Popathon is an international series of hackathon events bringing together media makers, technologists and designers to prototype the future of web-native storytelling.


Visual storytelling has been with us since the beginning of times. Through the ages the way we tell stories has changed along with the evolution of different media. The capability of the web enables stories to be interactive, dynamic and participatory, allowing for engaging experiences around them. While this is hugely exciting, we believe a language of web-native storytelling is still developing and want to help that process along by hands-on collaboration.


For one weekend, participants team up to brainstorm ideas, create open-source code and demo prototypes of their own web-native stories. Participants compete against the clock, not against each other. Teams are formed by combining different skills and spend a short and intense period creating a story prototype that is born on the web. After the final sprint all prototypes are presented in a live demo open to the public. All the source code powering the projects is shared as an open-source repository on Github for others to study and build on beyond the event.


We believe disciplines like filmmaking, development and design already offer the most important skills required to make engaging stories that work on the web. By having different perspectives around the table, we share our expertise and learn from eachother.


They say the best way to predict the future is to create it. Creating something together also happens to be the way we learn most effectively. That's why every Popathon has as its prime mission to create a working prototype that can be shared with the world.


We want to contribute to a wider community of creators who embrace the web as the platform for their storytelling. By sharing all projects created at Popathon open-source, we let people build on the knowledge generated beyond the event.

Made at Popathon

Explore projects hacked at previous editions

  • Paraules de Barcelona

    Paraules de Barcelona offers you a way to celebrate, criticise, share or remember this unique city by using its own words, those you’d find walking down its streets.

    Fork this project

  • Coming Soon

    This ever unfolding story of digital pre-natives was waiting to be told. A real-time dynamic life story that is different every time.

    Fork this project

  • StereotypeCelona

    How stereotypical are your ideas about the people living in the different parts of Barcelona? An interactive video quiz with embedded data visualisation.

  • BCN Says

    Big cities are a constant buzz. Imagine you can conduct the sounds of your city into an urban symphony. Come in to play while listening what Barcelona has to say.

    Fork this project

  • Le 6 mai 2012

    On May 6, 2012, the socialist François Hollande was elected President of the French Republic, following Nicolas Sarkozy. Many considered that day historical, since the socialists did not succeed in the Elysée race since 1981. Celebrations took place in the Place de la Bastille

    Fork this project

  • Room 404

    Room 404 is the destination for all your online mistakes. A participatory experiment that collects a database of users' confessions.

    Fork this project

  • Surveillance

    A web-native thriller story exploring the theme of online surveillance. Who's watching who?

    Fork this project

Storytellers Unite!

Who should join us at an upcoming event?

Teams thrive when different skills are combined.

We believe disciplines like journalism, filmmaking, web development and design already offer the most important skills to tell engaging stories on the web. By sharing our perspectives, we can create beautiful things together and:

  • Meet, exchange and collaborate with professionals from different disciplines
  • Brainstorm and prototype ideas for a new medium
  • Create visually-rich interactive multimedia projects


Digital Storytelling

Are you a filmmaker, journalist, radio-maker, researcher, writer, photographer or communications professional with a story to tell? Explore how your story can become dynamic and interactive!


Web / App Development

Are you a developer, creative coder or computer scientist hungry for creative exploration? Experiment with new technology in a creative setting!


Digital Design

Are you a designer or artist with skills from UX, IxD, graphic, video or service design interested in all things digital? Co-create meaningful experiences, combining moving image and interactivity and help to bring web-native stories to live!

About the organisers


Philo van Kemenade

Philo van Kemenade combines video, data and the web to make storytelling more engaging and have it reach wider audiences. His expertise in Artificial Intelligence and passion for filmmaking brought him to London, where he researched data-driven storytelling using user-generated online video as its building blocks. He believes we are currently lacking an interactive storytelling language that fits the nature of the web and feels we need multidisciplinary experimentation to move this field forward.


Gilles Pradeau

Gilles Pradeau explores participatory documentary focusing on democratic innovations and public spending in Europe. The first chapter of “Learning to count” uses a 360º camera to record teenagers negotiating the budget for their high school. Before making his own films, Gilles provided consultancy and workshops for public engagement and worked in Paris for a mobile film festival.

Some places we've hacked at

i-Docs Symposium Bristol
Brighton Digital Festival
Darklight Dublin
Docs Barcelona
WebDox Leuven
Open City Docs Fest
Mozilla Festival

Get in touch

Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date about upcoming events or join the conversation on Twitter. If you're interested in hosting a Popathon or simply like to know more, please email us.