Identity and collaborative digital storytelling

Whatever People Say I Am is the latest digital storytelling production by James Walker and Paul Fillingham. A natural extension of their Guardian award-winning digital literacy platform Dawn of the Unread (2014-2016), Whatever People Say I Am launches in 2019 and aims to dispel myths around identity whilst challenging prejudice and stereotypes.


The title Whatever People Say I Am is taken from a line in Alan Sillitoe's 1958 novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. In Karel Reisz's 1960 film version, Sillitoe’s key protagonist Arthur Seaton rants: ‘I’m me and nobody else. Whatever people say I am, that's what I'm not because they don't know a bloody thing about me!.’ Sillitoe’s line also inspired the title for the Arctic Monkey’s debut album which was released in 2006.

Fillingham and Walker have a deep association with the writer Alan Sillitoe (1928-2010). Their first digital literary project: The Sillitoe Trail was produced in association with the Sillitoe Memorial Committee and launched in 2012 as part of The Space; an experimental, on-demand digital arts platform commissioned by Arts Council England and the BBC.

In 2014, Fillingham and Walker also co-produced Being Arthur, a 24 hour Twitter presentation of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning in association with the University of Nottingham. This real-time screenplay involving multiple Twitter profiles and sequenced imagery was shown on public screens in London and Nottingham as the finale for Being Human: the UK's first National Festival of Humanities.