The course forges collaborations between disciplines in the creative development of cultural and commercial narrative environments. You will be concerned with visitor/user experience and not simply space, objects or images. In any museum, visitor centre, speciality store or themed entertainment venue a story is being told. Experience unfolds in response to the visual, textual, audio and spatial context. Engagement is sustained by environments that develop interactive opportunities and commercial activities. Distinct disciplines contribute. Developing a new science centre, for example, draws on architects, curators, destination consultants, 3D designers, communication designers, interaction designers, time-based media designers, scenographers, writers, retailers and project managers.
The course provides a framework for personal and professional development. Core aspects include: narrative structures and their use in visual, formal, spatial and textual language; the use and integration of film, objects, text, sound and image; the engagement of the senses in the perception of the narrative; sophisticated project planning and management; the evolution and evaluation of models that respond to changing socio cultural, business and technological contexts; and skills to negotiate boundaries and collaborate effectively.
In the first year students learn through doing a series of practical group projects complemented by taught lectures and reflective seminars. In the second year students learn through a self-directed project. They form their own team collaborating with internal and external partners.
Knowledge and Skills Development (October-March)
Unit 1 addresses the Critical Interrogation of Practice and emphasises collaborative and multidisciplinary learning. The unit is shared by four courses across the College: MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments; MA Industrial Design; MA Textile Futures and MA Design: Ceramics, Jewellery and Furniture; and offers you the opportunity to meet and work on joint projects with your peers from these related subject areas. Running in parallel with unit 2, unit 1 introduces you to critical thinking and topics, research methodologies and research techniques. It is a 10 credit unit delivered through a sequence of four group projects scheduled across the first two terms.
Practice and Contextualisation (October-May)
Unit 2, Narrative Forms and Transformative Experience, emphasises diagnostic and negotiated learning. It is entirely team based, and consists of short, practical group projects that explore different models of narrative to generate masterplans for cultural and commercial environments. You are introduced to narrative theories through a series of seminars and workshops. Critical thinking, research methodologies and techniques learned in unit one enable you to analyse and challenge prevailing conventions in order to evolve new solutions and original proposals. You deploy your own expertise and develop collaborative skills by working in teams. It is a 70 credit unit in which you begin to acquire first hand knowledge of the cultural industries and commercial contexts by meeting leading designers, architects, curators and brand managers who will give lectures, contribute to projects and act as mentors.
Presentation and Reflection (June-June)
Unit three, Narrative in Practice, emphasises independent learning. It is predominantly team based, but includes two specific elements of individual learning - the placement and the critical report - one at either end of the unit. The studio, museum or business placement at the start of the unit gives you direct insight into opportunities and working methods in the industry, and enables you to appraise your own abilities and ambitions. You then prepare your Major Project Proposal. You determine the content, structure and submission requirements of this proposal through discussions with your peers and the course team. The Major project is collaborative. It enables you to define your personal and professional goals, reflect upon the dynamics of the industry, consolidate your experience and demonstrate your advanced skills and knowledge. You evolve a masterplan and progress it to detailing, production and installation, and complete the unit by writing a critical report on your major project.
The course extends and enhances your employment opportunities in sectors such as: exhibition, event, retail and interpretive design; visitor centre development; curating; scripting and creative direction; film and TV production; architecture; new media and interaction design; brand development; and design of corporate environments.
The course nurtures an in-depth understanding of narrative strategies and collaborative working processes within the experience economy. It enables you to develop a clear sense of your own personal and professional goals and an ability to deploy your expertise in an emerging collaborative culture that transcends traditional institutional boundaries.
We have excellent links with renowned practitioners across the spectrum of narrative design. Professional fields include: interpretive design; production; architecture; interaction, media, graphic and communication design; brand communications; museums and galleries; planning and management.
Companies and institutions include: Applebaum Associates; At Large; Event Communication; Eyebeam,NY; G.T.F; Imagination; Institute of Contemporary Arts; KerrNoble; Land Design Studio; Locum Destinations; Ogilvy and Mather; Rom & Son; the Science Museum; Smart Studio Sweden; Stanton Williams; Tate Modern; United Visual Artists.