module specification

DN5003 - Narrative (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Narrative
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 80%   Project Work
Coursework 20%   Critical evaluation
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Friday Morning
Year City Tuesday Morning
Year City Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module encourages graphic designers, publishers, illustrators and animators to gain experience and understanding of ‘narrative’ as a key element within creative practice. The principal purpose of this module is to explore understanding of how found or individually generated narratives can be utilised imaginatively within design practice. Narrative within design practice regularly employs fictional devices as stimuli. Thoughtful reflection on storytelling conventions will enable you to enrich and extend the range of creative expression.

Within this module, students will be encouraged to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct narrative to inform or subvert the reading of design practice for public dissemination. Intelligent, creative selection of media and process will enable students to enrich and extend the range of practice, developing confidence in communicating through narrative studio themes.

This module seeks to enable students to:

• explore narrative themes, patterns and types within design practice;

• deepen confidence and evolve a distinctive approach through research and re-interpretation of narrative within design practice;

• further relevant practical skills in order to employ expressive themes within creative practice;

• develop critical understanding of semiotic reading in relation to visual and material design practice.

Prior learning requirements

Pass & Completion (120 credits) of Prior Level


Through studio projects, students will normally develop knowledge and experience of:

• analysis of existing creative practice utilising narrative;  LO 2

• research, development, production and presentation of project/s resulting from critical response to narrative;  LO 1, 2

• development of practical and intellectual knowledge and skills in relevant media and processes for production of outcomes;  LO 2, 3

• seminars and peer reviews to debate your work and that of others;  LO 4

• suitable locations and sites for exhibition for narrative work.  LO 4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module is delivered through lectures, practical workshops, demonstrations, inductions and studio-based activities supported by external visits where necessary. Group seminars, tutorials and informal feedback during workshop sessions offer the opportunity to reflect upon learning-in-progress, and to discuss and progress strategies for developing skills and practice. Blended learning will support students in individual and group projects. The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development.

Successful learning in this module is dependent upon regular attendance and engagement in the scheduled teaching and the level of self-managed study undertaken. In order to make the most of all the opportunities available, students will be encouraged and supported to organise and plan their learning activities effectively. The level of self-managed learning will be monitored. Self-directed study may include individual and/or group tasks, for example, research, site visits, drawing tasks, digital skills, or collecting and collating materials in preparation for the following week's session. The construction of a portfolio of personally produced and assembled work is vital to success in the module and the progress of this will be monitored in tutorials and seminars.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning and teaching


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
LO1 reflect upon and test how narrative techniques can be communicated effectively in creative practice;

Cognitive Intellectual Skills
LO2 critique practice in relation to thematic metaphors and motifs employed across relevant global cultures and traditions;

Transferable Skills
LO3 exercise initiative, responsibility and adaptability in individual practice, finding ways to communicate narrative within a personal approach to design;

Subject Specific Practical Skills
LO4 apply the creative and technical skills needed to effectively select from, manipulate or combine relevant media in the construction, interpretation and presentation of a given or self-generated narrative demonstrated through a course specific portfolio.

Assessment strategy

At regular reviews, students will present summary of work in progress, including reflection upon intellectual and practical development.

Each component of work in development will be assessed formatively and feedback given. Satisfactory completion of relevant technical/ workshop activities and continuing independent practice will also be monitored.

All students are required to undertake formal interim presentations with evidence of continuous reflective journals responding to studio critique and tutorial guidance. Work presented will be subject to formal studio feedback from a panel of disciplinary specialists. This will inform final assessment marks and must be considered and acted upon by the student.

A final mark is given at the end of the module, as a measure of the qualities of the completed portfolio in relation to achieving the module’s learning outcomes. Written summative assessment will be provided corresponding to published assessment criteria. Work must be carefully organised and presented to indicate the development of work and the content clearly labelled. Coursework requirements will be stipulated in project briefs and detailed in the module guide. Students are required to attend all timetabled taught studio and workshop sessions.


Core Texts:
Begleiter, M. (2010) From Word to Image: Storyboarding and the Filmmaking Process, Michael Wiese Productions
Booker, C. (2016) The Seven Basic Plots- Why We Tell Stories, Bloomsbury

Caputo,T.  (2002) Visual Storytelling: The Art and Technique, Watson-Guptill
Eisner, W. (2008) Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist, W.W. Norton
Kress, G. and Van Leeuwen, T. (2015) Reading images: The Grammar of Visual Design, Routledge
McClean, S. (2007) Digital Storytelling: The Narrative Power of Visual Effects in Film, MIT Press
Wigan, M. (2007) Thinking Visually, Worthing, AVA Publishing

Other Texts:
Berger, J., Savage, J. (2008) Berger On Drawing, Occasional Press
Benjamin, W. (2008) The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Penguin Books
McLuhan, M. (2008) The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects, Penguin Modern Classics

Electronic Databases:
E-Flux Journal
The Serving Library

Chapman, J. (2005) Emotionally Durable Design, Earthscan
Fulton, H., et al (2005) Narrative and Media, Cambridge University Press
Gorbman, C. (1999) Unheard Melodies: Narrative Film Music, Harvard University Press
McClean, S. (2007) Digital Storytelling: The Narrative Power of Visual Effects in Film, MIT Press
Thompson, K. (1999) Storytelling in the New Hollywood: Understanding Classical Narrative Technique, Harvard University Press

Additional texts and other reference materials will be identified by studio tutors annually that support a specific studio theme.