This studio focuses on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We will particularly consider how narrative intersects with, and informs, identity. That is, how the stories we are told, share and express, inform our sense of self and others. Consideration will be given to race and recent black cinema. Black films matter, and through diverse genres such as the historical drama (Selma, 2014), satirical-horror (Get Out, 2017), sci-fi dark comedy (Sorry to Bother You, 2018), coming-of-age drama (Moonlight, 2016) and super-hero fantasy (Black Panther, 2018) these narratives foreground issues and questions around racial identity and culture. This could be the contemporary relevance of the civil rights movement (Selma), liberal ignorance and myriad levels of racism (Get Out) the connection of race and class (Sorry to Bother You), sexuality and gender (Moonlight), and afrofuturism and fictional analogies for real-life struggles (Black Panther).
The studio invites you to consider how your practice and dissertation interests might relate to and intersect with theories, ideas and questions of narrative generally as well as possible issues raised by narrative and identity.
Students will be producing storygraphs, storyboards, and various forms of narrative analysis in the seminars. Under scrutiny will come issues around:
- narrative and identity
- definitions and models of narrative
- ways of researching narrative
- the narrative theories of Todorov and Aristotle
- mythology and Campbell's hero’s quest
- postmodern narrative
Previous dissertation topics in this studio include Japanese anime, the mythology of the dragon, transgender in film, gothic imagery, the superhero genre, gender in Disney animation, digital cinema, psychoanalytical narratives, crime-scene photography, death and mourning, art therapy, photographic manipulation, David Hockney, psychedelic art, alternative economic narratives, the films of Scorsese and so on.
Suggested readings, resources and preparatory activities
- Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Princeton University Press, 1986)
- Herman, David, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)
- hooks, b., Race and Representation (1992)
- Mask, M., Contemporary Black American Cinema: Race, Gender and Sexuality at the Movies (2012)
- Rose, S., Black films matter –how African American cinema fought back against Hollywood (2016)
- Selma, 2014
- Moonlight, 2016
- Get Out, 2017
- Sorry to Bother You, 2018
- Black Panther, 2018.
Studio 01: ideas in places
This studio prescribes a direct treatment of place, whether subjective or objective.
Studio 02: Narrative and Storytelling
This studio focuses on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We will particularly consider how narrative intersects with, and informs, identity.
Studio 03: The Conquest of Joy
This studio encourages dialogues around the cultural production at a time when narratives founded on certainty have ceased to make sense.
Studio 04: Bullshit, propaganda and post-truth
This studio will look at the emergence of the notion of ‘post truth’ and explore links between other ideas around propaganda and Harry Frankfurt’s argument about ‘bullshit’. We will consider the usefulness of these ideas, and how they can be explored in creative practice.
Studio 05: Meaningful Work
This studio will consider the value of making -in itself, independent of the product or outcome, exploring the idea of craft as meaningful work.
Studio 06: Writing Rough
What are the outer limits of the essay? Write on the edge of the possible in a rich, researched and evidenced discussion which creatively explores the expanded field of the essay.
Studio 07: Thinking with Ruins
This studio pays heed to these cultural forms and persuasions but asks, how might we productively think with ruins in the present?
Studio 08: The things you can tell just by looking (or, Oriented Writing)
Writing tells us who we are and how each of us thinks and interprets the world.
Studio 09: Le Marteau Sans Maître
Digging through the deepest layers of archaeological time, André Leroi-Gourhan (La geste et la parole, 1964) concluded that for millions of years, human culture and technology evolved without complex language, rational planning or abstract ‘thinking at a distance’.
Studio 10: Globalism
For good or ill, we live in a global world. Whilst this may appear to be obvious, globalism is only a relatively recent term as is the phenomenon itself. What do we mean by this? How did we arrive in this place?
Studio 11: Performative Acts: Art, Architecture and Writing
Nico de Oliveira
In the last decade or so we have moved from objects to subjects or audiences. In parallel, the word performative has been adapted from a theoretical term to a key rubric within the discourse of contemporary art, architecture and beyond.
Studio 12: Decay, Repair and Back Again
Things break down and decay. In this studio you will experiment repair as strategy to negotiate breakdown, and you will practice mining patina and weathering for information and stories.
Studio 13: ‘If I stay silent nothing will change’: Identity, Politics, Social Change and Creative Culture(s)
This cross-disciplinary studio considers how power, culture, politics, identity, representation, activism, social media, and mass culture theory intersect with a range of arts practices, including photography, architecture, design and fine art, film studies, fashion and music, sound, pop art, and theatre.
Studio 14: A Material World
As the title suggests, this Studio will be based on the processes that are intrinsic to the design and making of textiles, however it will also be looking at the materiality of these textiles as objects.
Studio 15: Souvenir
This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past. It considers the role of memory and how it is embodied in cultural artefacts.