“There are countless forms of narrative in the world. First of all, there is a prodigious variety of genres, each of which branches out into a variety of media, as if all substances could be relied upon to accommodate humankind’s stories.”

– Roland Barthes, An Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative, 1975

“Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created.”

– Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize in Literature Lecture, 1993

Beginning in September 2023 the Lens-Based Media program will introduce the Narrative Design LAB:  a series of thematic seminars, screenings and special lectures that explore different aspects of Narrative Design.

Since the late Twentieth Century, when Roland Barthes initiated his seminal analysis of the shape-shifting quality of narrative, there has been an explosion of transmedia entertainment and communication of all kinds—moving between print, moving image, social media and gallery exhibition. The demand on contemporary artists is to be able to create vibrant and meaningful content that can move across these media contexts.

The Narrative Design LAB path proposes that this essential skill for the contemporary practitioner in the arts can be taught and developed. Students will explore new ways of telling stories—and ways to create new perspectives on story—within both old and new media, while engaging more deeply with the narrative potential of the media they have chosen to work with.

The teaching within the Narrative Design LAB is based on the belief that you can apply design principles to narrative—and the design tradition of art education has something unique to offer to Narrative Design as a discipline. Students will research and discuss the histories and principles of narrative design which have been developed over millennia. Students will also have the opportunity to actively harness contemporary narratological insights as organising principles for their studio-based artistic projects within the program.

Thematic Seminars will include:

  • Psychological and Anthropological Origins of Narrative
  • Tools for Storytelling
  • Narrative Shapes and Positions

A series of Guest Lectures will invite contemporary practitioners to present and discuss their work with a particular emphasis on narrative strategies.