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Haihan Li

MA Narrative Environments Student
Central Saint Martins
Person Type


Haihan Li is from China and is a student on in MA Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins. Haihan identifies herself as a storyteller, interior designer and spatial experience designer. Her main research interests are related to social design, spatial design and sustainable design.


Why did you choose to study MA Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins (CSM)?

Having previously studied interior design in both China and the United States, I have come to recognise that MA Narrative Environments stands out as a truly industry-aligned and interdisciplinary course. Its unique emphasis on the global state of affairs, coupled with its ability to harness the diverse strengths of its students, fosters the development of exceptional projects.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on so far? What made it so interesting to work on?

One of the most captivating projects I've had the privilege to be involved in was collaborating with Estee Lauder to conceptualise a futuristic beauty experience space enriched with an innovative narrative journey encompassing various mediums. This project provided a remarkable opportunity to immerse myself in the real-world beauty industry, granting me valuable insights and a multifaceted perspective through engaging discussions with the think tank. It was a truly fascinating experience that broadened my understanding and appreciation of the industry's dynamics.

Have you completed any work placements / internships whilst being on the course? 

While pursuing my studies, I had the opportunity to work as a trainee at Wignall and Moore, specialising in Narrative Architecture. In this role, I collaborated closely with designers, actively contributing to the creation of expressive buildings, captivating spaces, and distinctive installations that imbue a sense of delight and wonder within their respective environments.

What important piece of advice would you give to students thinking of studying this course?

Embarking on the journey to join the MA Narrative Environments is a profound exploration of yourself. Each person lives in their own unique time zone and the advice I would like to offer is to embrace and savour each step of the journey. I hope that each student discovers their true passion and derives great joy from the course, discovering their true self in the process.

What has been the highlight of your CSM experience so far?

With a strong focus on the integration of environmental narratives in shaping future societies and addressing prevailing social issues, my research interests have led me to explore narrative approaches through various mediums and tools. One significant highlight is the opportunity to collaborate with the Smart and Sustainable Cities Lab at Ain Shams University in Cairo. During the first term, I actively contributed to the development and hosting of a 2-3 hour COP27 Egypt radio show with my group as part of a 24 hour marathon live show called "ZERO". This immersive experience plays a key role in delving into the field of computing and computation with the aim of creating portable and movable prototype spaces for broadcasting.

What are your career aspirations? Where would you like to be in five years' time?

I aspire to pursue a PhD focused on the intersection of social and spatial design. In five years' time, my goal is to obtain a position at a prestigious university in China or at the United Nations. Leveraging the valuable partnerships between universities and enterprises, I aim to collaborate with rural businesses and governmental organisations within China, in order to cultivate unique and distinctive villages that break away from the conventional, uniform formats. This endeavour will subsequently extend to enhancing the living and learning environments of children residing in remote regions across the globe, while simultaneously bolstering the resilience of women and children in the face of climate change risks.

What is the most important thing you've learnt on the course so far?

Embrace the power of teamwork and dedicated practice to cultivate self-awareness. As well as, have a collective mindset in projects, replacing individualistic thinking with a strong sense of community in practical pursuits.


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View the MA Narrative Environments course page