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.
Readings and references
- 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.
Banner image: Hans Op de Beeck, Staging Silence (3), video still (detail), 2019
Dissertation Studios 2020–21
Studio 01: Another Place
Out of a direct treatment of place, whether subjective or objective, emerges another place. It is neither new, nor fixed in time, but it has remained unexplored, scarcely documented – piles of lime and useless cicadas.
Studio 02: Feminist Approaches
The Dissertation Studio 02 seminar series will address feminist practices within architecture, history and activism.
Studio 03: 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 04: 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 05: This is my truth; show me yours: Post-truth, propaganda and bulls**t
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 "bulls**t". We will consider the usefulness of these ideas, and how they can be explored in creative practice.
Studio 06: The Practice of Space – Writing Atmospheres in Art and Architecture
Nico de Oliveira
Dissertation Studio 06 looks at space as practice, since each location is a mutable entity framed as a moment in time, populated by individuals and shaped by their actions as artists, musicians, curators, designers, architects, writers and spectators.
Studio 07: 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 08: Speak, Form.
Dissertation Studio 8 asks: How is it that form might speak? This studio looks at the power of rhetoric, of the medium as message, of the figure as discourse.
Studio 09: 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 10: Sport and Aesthetics
Dissertation Studio 10 will examine the concept of aesthetics as applied within that most everyday activity: sport.
Studio 11: Le Marteau Sans Maître (The Hammer without a Master)
In a networked world where knowledge and information seems to be accessible everywhere and in any form; and where people in distant places appear to speak to us in real time from our computer screens, Studio 11 tries to imagine an ‘immediate’ and performative experience of the world – outside language and not shaped by our intellect and will.
Studio 12: Material Culture and Transcultural Exchanges
Dissertation Studio 12 is concerned with the increasing complexity of the material and symbolic flows of fashion, textile, artefact and commodity.
Studio 13: B(read)
Focussing on two of life’s key ingredients, reading and bread, this Dissertation Studio offers sessions that will encourage you to experience and experiment with both.
Studio 14: Rewilding
In this Dissertation Studio, we will examine some of the many ways in which art, architecture, and design connect to the discourse on rewilding.
Studio 15: “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 16: A Material World
This Dissertation 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 17: 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.
Studio 18: Modes of Human Exchange (Being-with and without)
This studio considers the current (exceptional) conditions of human exchange in a broader historical/social context, highlighting how facial/bodily gestures and the decorum of their physical/ambient surroundings have provided essential clues to the way we respond to, and interact with, the ‘other’.