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Annie and Herman giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the development of CircleTales®.

Creative Start-Up Comes Full Circle with CircleTales®

University of Exeter alumnus, Annie Murdock (MA Ed Creative Arts, 2016) and her partner Herman Castaneda, co-developers of the collaborative tabletop game CircleTales®, shared their insights into creative entrepreneurship with current MA Ed Creative Arts postgraduate students. During their EFPM320 Policy and Practice in Arts Education session, the students had the opportunity to play the CircleTales® storytelling game. They were also given a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the development of this creative product from conception all the way to market launch. This was an excellent opportunity for the students to make critical connections between arts education pedagogy and how this intersects with both arts and business policy and practice. By merging their respective backgrounds in creative arts education and design, Annie and Herman have created CircleTales® as a lively alternative to competitive mainstream board games, pairing collaborative storytelling with an aesthetic sensibility, whilst celebrating the imagination of each individual player, and encouraging social interaction, divergent thinking, and deep listening. CircleTales® features original illustrations by Annie and is being produced with careful attention to ecological production. The game has been well received among parents who see the value of tabletop games as a way to encourage multi-generational bonding and avoiding the excesses of digital media and game themes that glorify violence. CircleTales® will initially be rolled-out into the consumer market, with a view to expanding into the educational market, with a classroom-specific product, later on. Some teachers have praised the game for its value as a learning tool to develop vocabulary, creative writing, and English language acquisition. After graduating with an MA Education Creative Arts in 2016, Annie and her partner Herman decided to base themselves in Exeter in order to develop this creative startup, working locally, but aiming to distribute internationally. They tapped into Exeter’s excellent resources such as the Exeter FabLab and Double Elephant Print Workshop to create working prototypes for their game. Testing of the game has been ongoing both locally, at Exeter Central Library, as well as internationally in the United States. They will be launching CircleTales® on Kickstarter in late May 2019. For more information and to have a peek at the game, please visit

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