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Designing Narratives for Event Experiences

Designing Narratives for Event Experiences

London College of Communication
Taught by
Pigalle Tavakkoli


Discover how to use narrative and storytelling to create site-specific installations and performances, pop up interventions and mass festival experiences. You will chart the background and context to these formats, and find out how to apply a range of methods to suit different environments. You will gain new perspectives for developing event narratives, and a variety of techniques to tell high impact stories which leave lasting memories with audiences long after they have left.

This structured course is based on illustrated lectures, group discussions and short collaborative exercises carried out in pairs. At the end of the course you will have increased your knowledge and professional skills, and be inspired by the potential to incorporate these into your own studies, practice or work.

Topics Covered

  • Narrative and storytelling – Understanding the difference between a narrative and a story, how to use these to design meaningful events which bring about change and transformation in the audience, setting aims and selecting the appropriate tools to achieve these. Ensuring you are telling the right story in the most compelling way, and choosing the appropriate narrative structure to reveal this to the audience
  • Site-specific installations and performances – Using the properties and qualities of a landscape, city, building or a room, and physically mapping the stories and audience routes through the space to emphasize and elaborate on these. Find out how site-specific performances have developed in response to locations and spaces ranging from abandoned docks, graveyards and hotel rooms. How to fully utilise a space so that the environment and event directly feed each other, and overcoming constraints and obstacles that might be present with the site
  • Pop ups – Taking an event out of a fixed environment and into a temporary space to make the most of the moment, and charting the emotional journey of the audience through the experience. Follow the history of pop ups from being a guerrilla grass roots concept which took over abandoned buildings with very limited funds, through to brands such as Nike and Gap spending high budgets to launch pop up shops as major PR and marketing events
  • Festivals – Creating a mass experience at a festival, and deciding on the levels of audience participation. You will chart the ever increasing popularity of music and multi-arts festivals across the world, and how they have evolved from being free communal experiences for people to express love and freedom with Woodstock in 1969, through to becoming temporary mini cities at festivals such as Glastonbury with ‘glamping’, champagne bars and corporate sponsorship.

Course Outcomes
By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Understand how narrative and stories can be used to design impactful experiences
  • Design events that are engaging and long lasting
  • Incorporate new methods and techniques into your practice or profession

Who Should Attend
This course is ideal for you in you work in events, marketing, PR, brand management and exhibition design.

Beginner. You don’t need any prior events experience.

Follow-on courses
After completing this course you may be interested in learning more about event logistics in Venue and Event Management, or ways to tell stories across multiple platforms in Transmedia Storytelling.

Tutor Description

Pigalle Tavakkoli originally worked extensively in the fashion industry, as Studio Assistant for Alexander McQueen before going on to run her own label designing high end womenswear for boutiques worldwide. She went on to work as Creative Assistant to Jasmine Di Milo, Marketing Manager for designers such as Lezley George, and project managed lookbooks for Benetton and Levi's Vintage Clothing.

Pigalle is now established as a Creative Producer with over a decade’s expertise in designing experiences which merge art and science. She develops immersive environments which place audiences at the heart of the narrative. She has worked for leading cultural organisations such as the V&A, National Portrait Gallery, Wellcome Collection, and multi-arts festivals such as Latitude, Wilderness and Secret Garden Party. She has also developed experiential activations for brands such as Marmite, Yo! Sushi, Cinzano, and communications campaigns for the English National Ballet and the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Pigalle has been running the Experience Design short course at Central Saint Martins (CSM) with Susanne Buck for 6 years. Their joint expertise includes Experience Design, Audience, Participation, Story and Narrative. Pigalle is a visiting lecturer for London College of Communications.

Further work can be seen on hter website:

Available dates