• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length2 years full time (60 weeks)

MA Narrative Environments

On this course you'll design visitor experiences and events for museums, brand, urban and community environments and work in small multidisciplinary teams to tell stories through text, image, sound and physical space. You'll benefit from strong industry links that provide live, funded projects, mentors and placements.

This course is part of the Spatial Practices Programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • MA Narrative Environments enables you to pursue your studies whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities. You are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies; your taught input will normally be scheduled over a maximum of two to three days per week during term time.
  • Collaborate in a multidisciplinary team of architects, communication designers, media designers and writers to design complex and engaging environments that would not be possible to develop on your own.
  • Learn from leading industry figures affiliated to the course. Get a mentor, in the creative industries who can give you real world advice; do a placement or internship in a design company, an architect’s practice, a museum or a related business or government organization; get a sense of the global market for jobs in narrative environments.
  • Undertake live projects as part of the course with affiliates such as Arup, Cisco, Selfridges, Arts Council England, Southbank Centre, the National Trust and the London Festival of Architecture. Meet thought leaders and inspirational practitioners.
  • Try a wide range of projects from city branding to public engagement and social innovation that help you to define your future career in either the commercial or cultural creative industries or indeed in PhD research.
  • Contribute to the cutting edge of new design theory as it is applied to professional practice; clarify and define your own values and position as a creative practitioner.
The Story So Far by Amy Wallace, MA Narrative Environments, Central St Martins by John Sturrock
The Story So Far by Amy Wallace, MA Narrative Environments, Central St Martins by John Sturrock

Course catalogues

Narrative Environments on Instagram

  • Look out for @team_yamiichi at the @csm_news art auction tonight! A cheeky non-monetary bidder?!? 😜 Regram @team_yamiichi #narrativeenvironments #artauction
  • First years are engaged in prototyping the Storyshapes projects!… Regram @_rachellllin_ Toilet travel ~~~🚽 . . #narrativeenvironments #southbankcentre #storyshapes #timetravel #toilettravel
  • This week we welcomed visiting critic Noel McCauley back to Narrative Environments to run the emotional mapping workshops. Creative chaos, Storyshapes and emotional mappings – first years are taking over the studios! #narrativeenvironments #emotionalmapping #storyshapes #inprogress #collaboration
  • Inspirational evening with Martyn Ware (@waremartyn) of #Illustrious (+ #heaven17 :) sharing their work creating
  • A fabulous evening talk from #ElaineGurian on how to make museums welcoming places: start with people! #narrativeenvironments #museums #welcome #picnictables #layering #complexitytheory #sharedauthority
  • Tree Ceremony – A ritual for the Autumn. Three MA Narrative Environments graduates ran a workshop this week at creative hub ARTnSHELTER in Tokyo. Regram @mayamerhi: Tree Ceremony – A ritual for the Autumn where poetry is exchanged for sap of the sacred tree. A poetry workshop and culinary experience to connect with the changes of the season through the senses, and expressions of words. In collaboration with @vilmaluostarinen and @mymamiko. A special thanks to everyone who participated and @artnshelter for hosting us. More details on the web soon. Image credits: Chris Green #tokyo
  • Tree Ceremony – A ritual for the Autumn. Three MA Narrative Environments graduates ran a workshop this week at creative hub ARTnSHELTER in Tokyo. Regram @mayamerhi: Tree Ceremony – A ritual for the Autumn where poetry is exchanged for sap of the sacred tree. A poetry workshop and culinary experience to connect with the changes of the season through the senses, and expressions of words. In collaboration with @vilmaluostarinen and @mymamiko. A special thanks to everyone who participated and @artnshelter for hosting us. More details on the web soon. Image credits: Chris Green #tokyo
  • Second Years threw a HARVEST MOON PARTY to welcome the new @narrativeenvironments @csm_architecture_march @spatial_csm students! 😍🌕 #welcome #spatialpractices #narrativeenvironments #march #harvestmoon
  • Very excited to welcome our new first year MA Narrative Environments students this week @spatial_csm! #andsoitbegins #narrativeenvironmentsfamily
  • Tree Ceremony – A ritual for the Autumn. Three MA Narrative Environments graduates are running a workshop at creative hub ARTnSHELTER in Tokyo this October. Experience designers @mayamerhi, @vilmaluostarinen & @mymamiko invite you to participate in a ritual where poetry is exchanged for the sap of a sacred tree. During the event, a Tree of Poems will grow, forming a collective exploration of the feelings, aesthetics, flavours and patterns of Autumn. More details at: artnshelter.com #autumn #autumn🍁#fall #workshop #ritual #trees #sap #poetry #poetsofinstagram #experiencedesign #narrativeenvironments #collaboration #alumni #grads #narrativeenvironmentsfamily
  • CSM X LVMH. Spatial Practices and Fashion at the LVMH Future LIFE event in Paris. The two-night event included a catwalk show featuring sustainable fashion from a fantastic group of CSM students, a talk by CSM LVMH Director of Sustainable Innovation Carole Collet, and the interactive installation 'Goûtez la solution' designed by a brilliant team of our CSM Spatial Practices @spatial_csm students. . . #liveprojects #narrativeenvironments #architecture #LVMH #CSM#SpatialPrctices #Fashion #SustainableDevelopment #LVMHLIFE #FutureLIFE #photocall #souvenirs
  • The talented @spatial_csm student team behind the design. Congrats Roya, Zeena, Eve, Dalia & Norbert! . . #liveprojects #narrativeenvironments #architecture #LVMH #CSM#SpatialPrctices #Fashion #SustainableDevelopment #LVMHLIFE #FutureLIFE
  • Last week saw the launch of our latest live project with LVMH. A team of students from MA Narrative Environments and BA Architecture designed ‘Goûtez la solution’ – an installation to celebrate 25 years of LVMH’s commitment to sustainable development and the launch of their new 2020 environmental targets. Guests from the Group’s 70 Maisons and invited Press interacted with four unique LVMH ‘labs’. Each lab invited the audience to consume bespoke food and drinks representing an LVMH LIFE environmental target; and to learn more about the LIFE programme through short films telling stories of sustainable development from specific Maisons. Thanks to LVMH for this fantastic opportunity to explore approaches to sustainable design, and huge congratulations to students Dalia, Zeena, Roya, Eve & Norbert! . . #liveprojects #narrativeenvironments #architecture #LVMH #CSM#SpatialPrctices #Fashion #SustainableDevelopment #LVMHLIFE #FutureLIFE (📷 @gregory_ross)
  • Last week saw the launch of our latest live project with LVMH. A team of students from MA Narrative Environments and BA Architecture designed ‘Goûtez la solution’ – an installation to celebrate 25 years of LVMH’s commitment to sustainable development and the launch of their new 2020 environmental targets. Guests from the Group’s 70 Maisons and invited Press interacted with four unique LVMH ‘labs’. Each lab invited the audience to consume bespoke food and drinks representing an LVMH LIFE environmental target; and to learn more about the LIFE programme through short films telling stories of sustainable development from specific Maisons. Thanks to LVMH for this fantastic opportunity to explore approaches to sustainable design, and huge congratulations to students Dalia, Zeena, Roya, Eve & Norbert! . . #liveprojects #narrativeenvironments #architecture #LVMH #CSM#SpatialPrctices #Fashion #SustainableDevelopment #LVMHLIFE #FutureLIFE (📷 @gregory_ross)
  • A team of MA Narrative Environments graduates led by 2016 alum Julie Howell and Tom Butler have just completed an important exhibition design project working with University of Leicester and the National Trust. EXILE which examines the life and exile of William John Bankes, who was forced out of Britain because of his gay relationship, has gone on display at his former home Kingston Lacy, now a National Trust property. Visitor information: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy . . #prejudiceandpride #Exile #nationaltrust #storytelling #exhibitiondesign #narrativeenvironments #CSM #collab #alumni Image: ‘In Memoriam’, a tribute to the 51 men hanged under laws that criminalised same-sex acts during Bankes’ lifetime. Photograph from National Trust/Steven Haywood
  • What agencies do we need to engage with to ensure we are part of planning decisions rather than living as a consequence of them? MA Narrative Environments alum Tom Butler is part of the team behind the V&A Lansbury Micro Museum project, and the last event in their Neighbourhood Number 9 series is this Saturday 30 September. Join Micro Museum curator (and CSM Spatial Practices tutor) Ruth Lang in conversation with Finn Williams (Common Office/GLA), Tom Coward (AOC Architecture), Suzanne O’Connell (The Decorators, also MA Narrative Environments alum!) and Maria Lisogorskaya (Assemble) to reflect on the role of community action within neighbourhood development. More information: http://lansburymicromuseum.com/ . . #museums #planning #futures #cities #poplar #lansburymicromuseum (Images: http://lansburymicromuseum.com/)
  • MA Narrative Environments 2017 grad Aga Szypicyn presented her final project diverCity – a powerful design critique of the limitations of placemaking through visualisation – to #urbanistasLDN last night! Read more about the project in this book designed by Aga: https://issuu.com/ines_designes/docs/aga_degree_show_book_single_pages And check out the next Urbanistas events here: https://www.urbanistas.org.uk . . #narrativeenvironments #alum #cities #criticaldesign #urbanistas #london #placemaking (📷 @urbanistasldn)
  • Yami-ichi x YBA is today! Join MA Narrative Environments' Sachiko Osawa for the next iteration of her fantastic graduation project @team_yamiichi in collaboration with @youngbloodinitiative Money can't buy our art!
         

Course detail

MA Narrative Environments is part of the Spatial Practices programme. The course combines storytelling with experience design, interaction design, museum studies, exhibition design, event design and communication design. You will develop and install interventions in cultural and corporate settings as well as making critical urban interventions in the public realm. You will undertake site and social research, visiting spaces, observing, filming and talking to visitors and inhabitants. You'll also produce proposals and make and test these in situ.

Distinct disciplines contribute to the postgraduate programme. 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. We value all.

About the course

  • MA Narrative Environments lasts 60 weeks structured as two consecutive periods of 30 weeks each (i.e. two academic years) in its 'extended full-time mode'.
  • MA Narrative Environments is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises 2 units. Unit 1 (60 credits) lasts 20 weeks. Unit 2 (120 credits) runs for 10 weeks in the first year and 30 weeks in the second year.
  • Both units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of the award of MA derives from your mark for Unit 2 only.
  • You are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies, within which, your taught input will normally be scheduled over three days. MA Narrative Environments has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue your studies, whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities.

Course structure

Unit One: Methodology and scope of the design of Narrative Environments

This unit is an intensive introduction to the methodology and scope of the design of Narrative Environments taught through team based practical projects. You'll attend workshops on research, collaboration and presentation techniques, and lectures and seminars on narrative and spatial theory.

Leading UK and international practitioners will attend studio crits and give talks on professional practice. You'll be allocated mentors who will provide further insight into particular professional roles and conventions.

Unit Two: Challenging, originating and repositioning Narrative Environments

This is designed to enable you to become a self sufficient, critical practitioner, with clear career aspirations and confidence to pursue your goals.

The Unit begins with a bridging project that prepares you to move from responding to design briefs onto devising your own self-directed brief. The bridging project is followed by studio, museum or business placement that gives you first hand insight into professional practice and informs your major project proposal and your career direction.

Through your major project proposal you'll produce an original, engaging and meaningful narrative environment. You'll assemble your own team to evolve and produce a complex and multilayered user or visitor experience that critiques and challenges conventional practice. The content, structure and submission requirements are agreed through discussions and debate with your peers and the course tutors.

After you have submitted your major project you write a critical report that reflects upon and evaluates your major project and your plans for a future career.

MA Narrative Environments Programme Specification 2018/19 (PDF, 308KB)

Industry collaborations

Working with paying clients on live briefs will give you valuable commercial experience which may mean your work being taken forward for production or, if so desired, in the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value.

Recent client projects in the Spatial Practices programme include: London Borough of Camden, National Trust, Arup, Mindfolio, New World Development, Grange Hotels, Oasis, Hot Spots Movement, Redbridge Council and Southbank Centre. 

Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients.

Facilities

  • 3D Large: Wood

    Find out more about our wood workshops.

  • Wood

    Find out more about the Wood facility at Archway.

  • CAD

    Find out more about our CAD facilities at King's Cross.

Staff

Course Leader: Tricia Austin
First Year Architecture Tutor: Sarah Featherstone
Second Year Tutor: Stuart Jones
Second Year Tutor: Ingrid Hu
3D Design and Public Engagement Tutor: Xavier Llarch Font
Museum Specialist and Historian: Kevin Flude

How to apply

When to apply

We recommend you apply by the end of May to avoid disappointment. Your application will only be considered after you have successfully completed an online application, submitted required documents and a digital portfolio.

We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

Required information for all postgraduate courses

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form: 

General Information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses);
  • Current English language level;
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details;
  • Employment history;

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should explain what role the course would play in your personal and professional development and where you aim to locate yourself within the cultural and commercial industries. 

If you do not complete all the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.                                    

Apply to MA Narrative Environments

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Portfolio review

Your portfolio should demonstrate your practical and conceptual skills as well as your working processes. The content of your portfolio will depend on your field of expertise as follows: 

Designers should include:

  • 20 images of visual work;
  • Examples of moving image work if appropriate;
  • Developmental research material;
  • Samples of written work.

Curators and museum studies graduates should include:

  • A link to a detailed professional CV with project descriptions;
  • Documentation of work where possible.
  • Architects should include:
  • Your degree project;
  • Two other projects featuring concept drawings and process work that demonstrate your own concerns;
  • Drawings, designs, visualisations and photographs of models appropriate to your experience and background.

Writers and humanities graduates should include:

  • A publications list or CV detailing recent projects (e.g. screenplays, scripts, art direction, articles from journals or newspapers, short stories, novels);
  • Details of membership of professional organisations (e.g. Writers Guild, NUJ);
  • At least three samples of work.

Following a review of your application and portfolio, you will either be invited for an interview or your application will be rejected via the UAL Applicant Portal. 

Interview

  • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend an interview at college.
  • If you currently live outside the UK or unable to attend the interview in person, we can arrange a skype interview for you.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

When to apply

We recommend you apply by the end of May to avoid disappointment. Your application will only be considered after you have successfully completed an online application, submitted required documents and a digital portfolio.

We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

Required information for all postgraduate courses

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form:

General Information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses);
  • Current English language level;
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details;
  • Employment history;

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should explain what role the course would play in your personal and professional development and where you aim to locate yourself within the cultural and commercial industries.

If you do not complete all the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.                                             

Apply to MA Narrative Environments

Alternatively, international applicants can apply through an overseas representative in your country. 

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

Immigration History Check (for International Applications only)

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

What happens next

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Portfolio Review

Your portfolio should demonstrate your practical and conceptual skills as well as your working processes. The content of your portfolio will depend on your field of expertise as follows:

Designers should include:

  • 20 images of visual work;
  • Examples of moving image work if appropriate;
  • Developmental research material;
  • Samples of written work.

Curators and museum studies graduates should include:

  • A link to a detailed professional CV with project descriptions;
  • Documentation of work where possible.
  • Architects should include:
  • Your degree project;
  • Two other projects featuring concept drawings and process work that demonstrate your own concerns;
  • Drawings, designs, visualisations and photographs of models appropriate to your experience and background.

Writers and humanities graduates should include:

  • A publications list or CV detailing recent projects (e.g. screenplays, scripts, art direction, articles from journals or newspapers, short stories, novels);
  • Details of membership of professional organisations (e.g. Writers Guild, NUJ);
  • At least three samples of work.

Following a review of your application and portfolio, you will either be invited for an interview or your application will be rejected via the UAL Applicant Portal.

Interview

  • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend an interview at college.
  • If you currently live outside the UK or unable to attend the interview in person, we can arrange a skype interview for you.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

Entry requirements

Applicants must have an Honours Degree, or evidence of equivalent learning and normally at least one year of relevant professional experience.

The relevant disciplines and professional fields are: architecture, exhibition, graphic, interior, performance, retail, spatial, theatre, 3D, multimedia or interaction design, museum studies or curatorship, writing, and design management.

The qualifications and experience we are seeking vary according to your field of expertise, as follows:

  • Designers: A degree in 2D or 3D design or equivalent experience.
  • Curators and museum studies graduates: A degree in museum studies or equivalent museum experience; or a degree in another subject. At least two years' experience in a full-time museums curatorial position, and associate membership of the Museums Association.
  • Architects: A degree and RIBA Part I, or equivalent.
  • Writers and humanities graduates: A degree or equivalent experience.

For further advice on entry requirements contact Tricia Austin, Course Leader, on +44(0) 20 7514 8535, email p.austin@csm.arts.ac.uk.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is:

IELTS Academic 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the 4 skills (on one single test).

For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

What we look for

The MA Narrative Environments is aimed at graduates with some experience of architecture, curatorship, writing or design who want to grow their expertise within the cultural and commercial sectors. We seek resourceful, talented and ambitious individuals who work well in multidisciplinary teams. The college's strong international profile is reflected in the broad cultural mix of our students and our international studio placements and exchanges.

Selection criteria

Applicants will be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • BA qualification or equivalent level of skills and knowledge in your own discipline and preferably some examples of post college work in your particular field;
  • Evidence of interest and understanding of in narrative structure;
  • Work demonstrating engagement with narrative in a spatial context, whether that is a real or virtual space;
  • A reflective and critical approach;
  • Experience of teamwork;
  • Self-motivation, ambition and a commitment to the programme.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £5,550 per year. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

ELQ 

Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the 'ELQ' fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. If you have a query regarding the ELQ fee, please use our course enquiry form.

International fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £13,890 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

MA Narrative Environments 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 for corporate environments.

The postgraduate course also addresses the need for advanced research in spatial practices. It provides a grounding in design research and intellectual, scholarly debate that can lead you to MPhil and PhD research degrees.

MA Narrative Environments has 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 that are affiliates and sponsors of MA Narrative Environments include:

  • Arthesia HD, Switzerland
  • Arup Innovation Unit
  • The British Museum, London
  • Event Communication, London
  • Eyebeam, NY
  • FAT (Fashion Architecture Taste) London
  • The Freud Museum, London
  • Glasshouse Community-led Design, London
  • G.T.F, London
  • Hidden Art, London
  • IDEO London and Shanghai
  • Imagination, London and NY
  • Land Design Studio, London
  • LDJ lighting design, Yorkshire
  • MET London and Hong Kong
  • Metaphor, London
  • Participle, London
  • Ralph Appelbaum Associates London and NY
  • Selfridges, London
  • the Serpentine Gallery, London
  • The Science Museum, London
  • The Speaker's Corner Trust
  • Southbank Centre, London
  • Stanton Williams, London
  • Tate Modern, London
  • United Visual Artists, London
  • Wolf Olins, London
  • The Wellcome Trust, London.