Category A04. Data Storytelling
Entrant RT Moscow, RUSSIA
Idea Creation RT Moscow, RUSSIA
Media Placement RT Moscow, RUSSIA
Production RT Moscow, RUSSIA
Name Company Position
Kirill Karnovich-Valua RT Creative Producer
Revaz Todua RT Designer
Gleb Burashov RT Producer
Elena Medvedeva RT Producer
Eldar Salamov RT Producer
Ania Fedorova RT Producer
Ivan Fursov RT Producer
Ivor Crotty RT Producer
Lilly Kazakova RT Producer
Margo Tskhovrebova RT Producer
Peter Nalitch Peter Nalitch's musical collective Musician
Helen Rappaport Helen Rappaport Historical Consultant
Denis Semyonov Great Gonzo Studio Artist
Marina Amaral Marina Amaral Artist
Aleksandr Skryabin RT Director
Ilya Grachev RT Director of photography
Victoria Milovanova RT Producer

Why is this work relevant for Creative Data?

#Romanovs100 is a unique digital storytelling project driven by visual data and built on the analysis of thousands of photos shot by Russia’s last Royal family in the early 20th century. To make history come to life in the world of social media & digital platforms, we partnered with the Russian State Archive to retrieve over 4,000 actual analogue images once stored in the private family albums. Our work to digitise and analyse this trove of family photographs portrayed the Romanovs from a new, deeply human perspective, resulting in innovative data-driven educational storytelling on social media platforms.


On July 17, 1918, former Tsar, Nicholas Romanov, his wife and five children were brutally executed by the Bolsheviks. To pay tribute to the family, we worked on a large set of visual data for a transmedia storytelling experience that pieces out the big picture of a "lost Russia". #Romanovs100 is the story of the Empire’s last royal family through thousands of photographs they took themselves — published across 4 social networks, with accounts on each network showcasing their own narrative, format and content. We hosted a comprehensive photo-story depicting the last decades of Imperial Russia over the centenary of the last 100 days of the Romanov family on dedicated accounts on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Objectives: - create innovative educational social media storytelling - educate and inspire our audiences to learn history - increase brand awareness

Describe the idea/data solution

The Romanov archive is perhaps the first private photo chronicle in history to boast such detail and scope. With our project we wanted to pay a "live" tribute to the last ruling family, giving these photographs - once kept in family albums - a second, digital life in social networks. Every image was a potential story to be told asking for a historically accurate context. With a helping hand from the State Archive researchers and fellow historians such as Helen Rappaport, one of the best-known writers on the Romanovs, we managed to investigate, research and verify almost all of the images. The innovation behind #Romanovs100 lies with integrating complex historical data into real-time publishing mediums. #Romanovs100 is a research into history through the visual language of photography combined with the digital reality of social media.

Describe the data driven strategy

Data gathering comprised multiple stages: collecting thousands of century-old analogue pictures into an online archive; identification, tagging & curation of visual data; research & analysis through dozens of sources to put every photo into factual historical context. Identification and tagging the 4,000+ images began several months before the project was launched on April 8, 2018 and continued almost to the last day. Collaborating with the researches & historians we managed to pinpoint dates and names to most of the images. To link visual data to historical facts and create narratives for social media posts, we used dozens of different sources, ranging from personal diaries and letters by Nicholas II himself, to memoirs written by his contemporaries and extensive work by Russian and foreign historians. Audience-wise, the project aimed to show that learning history can be compelling and interactive. It targets younger audiences with innovative formats and digital approaches in educational storytelling.

Describe the creative use of data, or how the data enhanced the creative output

The team used a special digital asset management tool to gather thousands of photos and tagged every image: “who, what, where, when”. The cloud of tags involved up to 200 markers and provided us with early clues on possible stories and craft. Media planning was among the biggest challenges during data curation process - the task was to keep the narrative unique and original for every social media account. Guided by the specifics of every particular network and their audiences, the team was thoroughly selecting and splitting the content between YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This laid ground for creating comprehensive multimedia cross-platform content: more text-sophisticated posts for the Facebook community, snappy visuals for Instagram, real-time first-person storytelling on Twitter, short documentary-style videos on YouTube. Among some key storytelling elements: - 100-year-old shots turned into 180-degree Facebook panoramas - short documentary-style YouTube videos - real-time Twitter blog-posts by historical characters - POV Instagram perspective by the Romanov's dog - World's first-ever digital colorization contest judged by renowned artist Marina Amaral - Original soundtrack composed by Russia's famous musician Peter Nalitch - Music video integrating Romanovs photos into VR Animation

List the data driven results

This vast family chronicle is a detailed first-hand witness account of the early 20th century - for decades this part of Russian history was eradicated from school-books and kept in the dark during Soviet rule. Working on this large set of visual data and adapting our historical research to the formats of social media allowed us to bring history back to the spotlight making it easily accessible to younger audiences. The project generated over 25 million impressions and attracted over 55,000 fans & followers (on Facebook, one third of fans are aged between 18 and 24). Our short educational videos got 1+ million video views with over 500K minutes of watch time. Brand-wise, the data-driven approach helped the project get noticed by international media. #Romanovs100 was featured by Sky News, BBC Newshour, Quartz, The Daily Mail, Tatler and others. On a scientific level, the project has already attracted attention inside the educational community. #Romanovs100 has been selected to showcase at one of the world’s biggest educational festivals - SXSW EDU 2019 in Austin, Texas. The project is also included in the official program of San Diego's ASU GSV X summit "accelerating innovation in education".