Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling

Studio brief

This studio focus on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. Students will be producing storygraphs, storyboards, and various forms of narrative analysis in the seminars. Under scrutiny will come issues around realism and classic Hollywood narrative; definitions and models of narrative; ways of researching narrative (semiotics, content analysis, focus groups, representation); the narrative theories of Todorov and Aristotle; alternative narratives; mythology and Campbell's hero’s quest; postmodern narrative; alternative narrative and the function of storytelling.

As a case study exploring these issues we will look at the narrative, cultural construction, and legacy of ‘Jack the Ripper’ and the ‘othering’ of the East End of London – notable in film, graphic novel, TV dramas and documentaries, music, and computer games. We anticipate having a walking tour of the crime locations. 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, photographic manipulation, alternative economic narratives, the films of Scorsese and so on.

Summer preparation:

If you are thinking of taking this studio then as preparation over summer I'd recommend From Hell (dir. Hughes Bros, 2001) and How to Write your Undergraduate Dissertation (Greetham 2009).

Outline the first seven weeks of study

  • Week 1: Introduction to the module
  • Week 2: The importance of narrative and story-telling
  • Week 3: Defining and modes of narrative
  • Week 4: Research narrative
  • Week 5: ‘Jack the Ripper’ walking tour
  • Week 6: Realism and Mythology
  • Week 7: Postmodern, digital, interactive, and alternative narrative

Reading list

  1. Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Princeton University Press, 1968)
  2. From Hell, directed by A and A Hughes (Don Murphy and Jane Hamsher, 2001)
  3. Greetham, Bryan, How to Write your Undergraduate Dissertation (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)
  4. Grizzly Man, directed by Werner Herzog (Lions Gate Films, 2005)
  5. Herman, David, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  6. Kearney, Richard, On Stories (London and New York: Routledge, 2002)
  7. Stories We Tell, directed by Sarah Polley (National Film Board of Canada, 2012)
  8. Warwick, A. and Willis, M. eds., Jack the Ripper: Media, Culture, History (Manchester University Press, 2007)

Black and white photograph of busy city area.


Tutor Jon Baldwin

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