Patricia Austin

Profile image of Course Director for MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments

Course Director for MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments

Central Saint Martins

Biography

Tricia is an academic, PhD supervisor, author, curator and design researcher. She is Course Leader of MA Narrative Environments and Research Leader for the Spatial Practices Programme at Central Saint Martins (CSM), University of the Arts London.

Tricia has taught art and design in Higher Education for over 20 years. She has lectured in Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai on spatial narrative and placemaking. She has devised and run collaborative projects with Universities in China, the United States, South Korea, Germany and Turkey. Tricia was the CSM lead on EU-PA, a €400,000 EU funded project to develop culture-led city regeneration methodologies, involving multiple stakeholders and producing exemplar case studies. 

Tricia has convened international conferences and curated numerous exhibitions. She co-devised and co-curated the inaugural Re-envisioning Exhibition Design summit ‘Chaos at the Museum: Designing for Audience Participation in London, 2014, which examined what’s working and what’s not in the realm of designing for audience interaction and participation. She co-curated the international conference ‘The Future of Museum and Gallery Design’ in Hong Kong, 2015, an international conference exploring creative research and practice in museum making. Tricia’s paper discussed the expanding role of museums as agents of change in the social fabric of their cities.

Research interests

The theory and design of multi-sensory, interactive, narrative environments, physical and/or virtual spaces and mixed reality that tell stories or allow stories to be told, such as exhibitions, branded and leisure environments, urban and community environments.

Research statement

Patricia is investigating how stories can be folded onto physical space in order to create memorable human experiences and produce places that have distinct identities.

How can theories of space and theories of narrative inform each other? How can physical and virtual worlds be combined, to produce multi-sensory environments? Where is the agency and who or what are the actants? What is the role of user participation? How can narrative environments address social, economic and environmental sustainability?

Areas of research: cultural theory and design practice

The use of narrative theory to unite different disciplines, designers, curators, writers and architects, in the development of spatial environments that integrate objects, text, sound, images, media and light for example, cultural venues, visitor centres, exhibitions, museums, historic sites, entertainment venues, sports events, shopping experience, branded environments, corporate events, product launches, urban and community environments.

The systematic inclusion of socio-cultural issues in the development and application of new digital technologies in the design of spatial environments which support direct and emotional user engagement, participatory and co-design.

Students

Current students

Silvia Grimaldi, Designing Narrative Product Interactions.

Matthew Haycocks, Where were we now? Geo-located narratives of quotidian archives.

Julia Pitts, Story Design and the Museum: Re-evaluating the Role for Narrative in the Exhibition Experience.

Olga Maria Surawska, Discovery in Flux: Adventure and Safety Factors in Exploratory Walking in Changing Urban Landscapes.

Ryo Terui, Graphic Tools for Public Engagement.

Completed students

Giles Rollestone, Lost in transcription: Enhancing the Typographic Description of Prosody in written Discourse through Dynamic Typography.

Selected research outputs