NiP 2016 TICKETS

Click here to buy your ticket
Tickets are £37 and include a light breakfast, light lunch and coffee or tea

NiP 2013 PUBLICATION

Now available for download
Publication cost £5
Featuring talk summaries and insights from our 2013 symposium

NiP 2011 PUBLICATION

Available for download
Publication cost £5
Featuring talk summaries and insights from our 2011 symposium


FIND US ON

Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter

Narrative in Practice 2011 took place on Saturday 21 May 2011 at Toynbee Hall in East London. The selected speakers represented a diverse range of design disciplines, from architecture to interaction design; museums to public engagement and participation. As part of their brief we asked them to investigate how narrative can be used in the creative process, when it is best described in full, and when it is a ‘secret weapon’ - something solely for the designer, and not to be shared with the client. During the day the 14 speakers discussed the role that narrative plays in their everyday practice, how they use it as a tool in their work, and the impact of stories on the experiences they create.

NiP 2011 LINEUP OF THE DAY


Scott Burnham - Keynote

Creative Director – Design for Urban initiatives

www.scottburnham.com

“Narrative is the story we tell about an experience. Narrative creates communities from strangers - communities of experiences shared. The beauty of narrative may strike when you first experience a significant moment in time, but lives and grows stronger in the re-telling of that moment. The beauty of narrative is found in the re-telling of an experience.”

Talk summary

From early public installations in London with the National Theatre, to the city-wide Urban Play project created for Amsterdam with Droog Design, and his recent Barrio Criativo project for the city of Porto in Portugal, Scott will present a selection of his public projects and work created to serve as platforms for other people’s narratives.

With inside stories about the installation created with Stefan Sagmeister made with 300,000 eurocent coins that disappeared overnight, enabling memories of people who have passed away to appear in the streets of Barcelona, and much more.


Profile

Scott Burnham works as a creative director and strategist for design and urban initiatives, working with a number of cities, institutions and organisations worldwide. He created the Urban Play project for the city of Amsterdam in collaboration with Droog Design to transform areas of the city into creative hubs and Bairro Criativo for the city of Porto, Portugal, where individuals create and design things they feel will improve the daily life of the city. He is currently Guest Editor for Volume Magazine for a series of issues dedicated to the relationship between design and trust. While Creative Director for the UK’s Urbis Centre for Urban Culture from 2003-2006, Burnham directed numerous large-scale urban projects including Will Alsop’s SuperCity to rethink the future of post-industrial cities, ‘Urban Oasis’ with Berlin’s Office for Subversive Architecture, ‘At Home’ with Peter Saville, and “The China Show”, an overview of contemporary Chinese design and architecture. Collaborations with Stefan Sagmeister, Marti Guixe, NL Architects and citywide projects in London, Montreal, Prague and Barcelona.

Burnham is the author of “Finding the Truth in Systems: In Praise of Design Hacking”, an exploration of how hacking and open approaches are transforming design and cities everywhere. He has addressed the International Conference on European Policy, the World Urban Development Congress, and is a guest lecturer at institutions including Design Academy Eindhoven, Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design, London, University of Quebec, Montreal, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Scott Burnham

Tricia Austin

Founder of the MA course, Creative Practice for Narrative Environments

www.narrative-environments.com

“Narrative seems to be one of the main ways we construct our personal and group identities and how we get a picture of time. Combining stories with spaces brings together mind and body and offers endless creative possibilities for producing memorable human experience.”

Profile

Tricia Austin is a PhD supervisor, design researcher and Course Director of MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts in London. The post-graduate programme pioneers collaborative practice among architects, spatial designers, communication designers, curators, writers and project managers. Students work in multidisciplinary teams to create and develop proposals for cultural, commercial and urban environments.

Tricia is co-author of New Media Design, published in 2007 by Lawrence King Publishing, UK. She was also co-investigator on a £1 million, two-year research project funded by the Technology Strategy Board deploying wireless sensor networks to explore creativity in the workplace. Tricia is currently leading CSM’s partnership in the EU funded, two-year European public art project, EuroPA which will facilitate installations in cities across Europe developing culture-led city regeneration strategies.

Je Ahn & Maria Smith

Studio Weave

www.studioweave.com

“Narrative is how we understand things, as opposed to how they really are. Narrative is the high contrast filter through which we tell ourselves about the world. Narrative is inescapable.”

Talk summary

For us, narrative is the high contrast filter through which we tell ourselves about the world. It is how we understand things (as opposed to how they really are) and it is inescapable.

As architects, we often struggle to explain the non-physical, emotional qualities of a place. This is perhaps because the tools and strategies we are equipped with are primarily physical: diagrams, drawings, models, maps and so on. We use these tools to condense large amounts of information into formats that can be easily shared and adapted. This editing is essential to effectively understanding, representing and designing for complex places. However, by their very nature, these tools limit us to the physical, literal realm.

We turned to narrative as a more animated way to create this concentrated incarnation of a place. We have found writing stories to be an effective way of getting under the skin of a place and developing a personal relationship with it and its inhabitants. Our stories take different forms depending on the project and the people surrounding it. Sometimes they become explicit fairytales, illustrated by the physical proposal, and sometimes they are the subtle underlying logic, quietly generating the design.

In this talk we will discuss two ways in which we often employ narratives: as a way to embed a new scheme into an already complex and idiosyncratic place, and as a way to encourage an underperforming place to resist a poorly emulated abstract ideal, to become the very best version of itself..


Profile

Studio Weave is a young energetic art and architecture practice working on a diverse set of projects across the country. We aim to create places through playing into and exploring their hidden stories. It is important to us that our projects grow from the unique aspects of a place, through its physical and geographical qualities, its use both currently and historically, as well as its myths and legends. We particularly appreciate the quirky and eccentric characteristics that make somewhere distinctive. In all our work, we’re always on the look-out for alluring narrative arcs to inform our proposals. Sometimes this subtly manifests in the underlying logic and in some cases it involves very playful and explicit storytelling. We have used stories as a way to personify landscapes and design proposals, and have even realised designs that our fictional characters have designed themselves.

Burnham is the author of “Finding the Truth in Systems: In Praise of Design Hacking”, an exploration of how hacking and open approaches are transforming design and cities everywhere. He has addressed the International Conference on European Policy, the World Urban Development Congress, and is a guest lecturer at institutions including Design Academy Eindhoven, Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design, London, University of Quebec, Montreal, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Stephen P Anderson

Poet Painter

www.poetpainter.com

“Every conscious act is filtered through some story. The things we buy, the decisions we make, how we spend our time—personal narratives govern all these actions. But how are these narratives constructed? At any moment, our brains are trying to make sense of new information: is this something I’ve seen before? Is this like something I’ve seen before? Like kids playing with Lego bricks, our brains play a pattern matching game, constructing—through associations—memories, imagined futures and narratives. And it’s through these associations, conscious or not, that we make sense of the world.”

Talk summary

The Stories We Construct

We all understand the power of a good story to motivate, inspire and influence. But, how are stories constructed - from a biological perspective? What goes on in that gray matter that is our brains? Knowing how to use and apply stories is one thing. Knowing how and why stories “work” from a neuroscience perspective takes our storytelling abilities to a new level.

Prepare to play a part in this presentation, as speaker Stephen P. Anderson demonstrates through YOUR participation, exactly how it is we construct stories. We will focus on how we make the associations that in turn drive beliefs and behaviors. Stephen will end this session with a framework that makes sense of and aligns all the different factors that contribute to product and service experiences.

We turned to narrative as a more animated way to create this concentrated incarnation of a place. We have found writing stories to be an effective way of getting under the skin of a place and developing a personal relationship with it and its inhabitants. Our stories take different forms depending on the project and the people surrounding it. Sometimes they become explicit fairytales, illustrated by the physical proposal, and sometimes they are the subtle underlying logic, quietly generating the design.

In this talk we will discuss two ways in which we often employ narratives: as a way to embed a new scheme into an already complex and idiosyncratic place, and as a way to encourage an underperforming place to resist a poorly emulated abstract ideal, to become the very best version of itself.


Profile

Stephen P. Anderson is an internationally recognised speaker and consultant based out of Dallas, Texas. He created the Mental Notes card deck, a tool that is widely used by product teams to apply psychology to interaction design. He is also the author of the book “Seductive Interaction Design”, which explores this topic of psychology and design in more detail.

Prior to venturing out on his own, Stephen spent more than a decade building and leading teams of information architects, interaction designers and UI developers. He has designed web applications for technology start-ups as well as corporate clients like Nokia, Frito-Lay, Sabre Travel Network and Chesapeake Energy.

Between public speaking and project work, Stephen offers workshops and training to help organizations manage creative teams, make use of visual thinking, and design better customer experiences.

Ian Curry

Local Projects

www.localprojects.net

“At a very basic level, narrative is pattern. While I mostly deal in trying to assemble coherent narratives, I’m very interested in what happens when narrative patterns break. While these breaks can be disorienting, they can also be delightful and surprising. Often, it’s the breaks that most clearly reveal the patterns themselves.”

Talk summary

Made to be Broken: Continuity and Discontinuity in Narrative. The play of continuity and discontinuity in narrative has a strong role in how we think about designing for museums and public spaces at Local Projects.

The challenge of designing for museums often boils down to the art of weaving disparate stories and details into a coherent narrative. Beyond this fundamental task however lies the even more important challenge of connecting visitors to that narrative. The idea of “continuity” is a useful lens to look at how to make those connections. When people are able to see continuity between their own life and experience, and lives and experiences perhaps previously foreign to them, this opens rich opportunities for empathy and learning.

While continuity has an obvious role in connecting users to narratives, the use of discontinuity is less-frequently explored. Discontinuity shocks. It confuses. But it is also the space of humour, surrealism, and play. It is the punch-line at the end of a joke. Intentionally breaking narrative can open up a space for understanding of a different sort than that which comes through continuity. It is a space that can enable people to ask questions that aren’t otherwise permitted.

The lens of continuity and discontinuity can be applied to design narratives even beyond story-driven environments like museum exhibits. From the creation of home furnishing to jokes, the interplay of continuity and discontinuity can shape powerful experiences.


Profile

Ian Curry is an interaction designer focused on exploring new forms of interactivity in public space. He is currently the Director of Interaction Design at Local Projects, and teaches a course on interaction design for public space in SVA’s MFA Interaction Design program. Local Projects were the interaction designers for StoryCorps, a nationwide initiative to oral histories, and are the co-lead designers for the National 9/11 Museum at ground zero. Other current projects range from an online platform for civic engagement to an augmented reality learning centre within an art museum.

Ian previously worked with frog Design, where he helped create websites, large-scale interactive displays, product UI, and iTV interfaces for clients including MTV, BBC, Hewlett-Packard, IPC, and Microsoft. Ian has also worked on interactive projects for Eyebeam R&D, and the United Nations.

Caf Fean

Soundings

www.soundingsoffice.com

“Narrative is...... a story made up of a sequence of events, interpreted by the storyteller and re-interpreted by the listener. Once it enters the realm of interpretation it cannot be controlled or managed and so takes on a life of its own.... complicated... essential.”

Talk summary

When you are in the business of public engagement for regeneration and architecture, you hear a lot of stories. From the developer or the council, the people living in the place undergoing change, from your colleagues.

Caf’s job is to act as a filter and an interpreter of these stories. To frame a narrative that creates an aspiration and a new story for a place.

She will share with you her passion for storytelling showing how this can add unique experiences to a place.

Stories are so powerful: becoming expert in telling and retelling is essential to getting the best out of people and place.


Profile

Caf is a writer and consultant specialising in leading public consultation projects. She has experience of engaging with hard to reach groups and managing conflict resolution. Caf brings her creative thinking to developing innovative and participatory consultation processes and making engagement fun and meaningful. She led the public consultation on Woolwich Squares and Thames View Estate in Barking.

After graduating with an MA from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design (2005-2007), Caf worked as a Research Consultant for Locum Consulting. She joined Soundings in September 2008, signifying a return to exploiting a hands-on, creative way of working.

Linda Florence

www.lindaflorence.me.uk

“Narrative drives my making process, the use of materials, and essentially the authorship transfer between maker and audience: audience and maker. Every pattern has a story to tell.”

Talk summary

How can personal narratives and oral histories be explored in the making of interactive and performance installations for museums and galleries?

This presentation looks at the use of historical artefacts, buildings and records in the exploration of material, focusing on how materials can tell stories and how stories might inform materials used within projects.

I see narrative as the experience of a story. It can be dinosaurs marching in bed covers, sugar dusted over the floor or being taught how to dance by my grandfather. Using example projects for the National Trust and the V&A, I will explore how narrative can be used as a method and tool for the creation of interactive work, be it layered scratch card wallpaper, patterned surfaces which are swept up in the momentum of a dance or created by visitors as they play with the work.


Profile

Linda Florence produces bespoke hand printed wallpaper and installation artwork for public, commercial and domestic interiors. Linda’s printing techniques incorporate a mixture of traditional and new technologies.

Clients include the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Jerwood Space, Swarovski, The National Trust, Ted Baker and Penguin.

Linda has won multiple design awards including a British Design Award and is currently visiting professor Weißensee Kunsthochschule, Berlin and senior lecturer at Central Saint Martins, London.

Lucy Macnab

Ministry of Stories

www.ministryofstories.org

“Everyone has a story to tell.”

Talk summary

Ministry of Stories: inspiring a nation of storytellers

How can one story change the world? Co-Director Lucy Macnab explains how the inspirational story of 826 Valencia triggered London’s first Monster Supplies Store, hundreds of new stories by children and young people and over 1000 volunteers. She also raises for discussion a question that the MoS asks children every week: what are the ingredients of making a narrative? Do you need a beginning, middle and end?

The Ministry of Stories was founded in November 2010 by author Nick Hornby and co-directors Lucy Macnab and Ben Payne. Hidden away at the back of Hoxton Street Monster Supplies (a shop supplying the needs of East London’s monster population), the Ministry of Stories provides a free space for fresh writing by young people. Workshops and one-to-one mentoring for local 8-18 year olds is provided by volunteers: local writers, artists and teachers, all giving their time and talent for free.


Profile

Lucy has a background in participation, writer development and teaching and learning. Her work is about finding ways to help people tell their stories: in print, performance, digitally, through collaboration. Most recently, Lucy was Participation Producer for Literature at Southbank Centre, where among many projects she made a Global Poetry System, a children’s production of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and an oral history of the Royal Festival Hall.

Melissa Mongiat & Kelsey Snook

Daily Tous Les Jours

www.dailytouslesjours.com

“Narrative in our work is like a set of inputs and variables: X is where the meaning is. How do we connect people to X? That’s where the story comes from. We sleep well when the audience gets the story to the point they care and want to take it somewhere we could not think of ourselves.”

Talk summary

We connect people with stories. We are currently working on Good Participation (www.goodparticipation.wordpress.com). A project, a quest, we try to unpick how meaning is created in a project and how an audience can get something out of it.

Our talk will look at the impact of stories on the experiences we create. How are stories constructed? How to make them compelling? What makes them an experience? How do they affect people’s actions? Why would anyone care? Through our recent projects, we will unveil our findings on how people engage and interact within project narratives to make them their own.


Profile

Living With Our Time comes from the fields of interaction design and narrative environments. With those skills, we design large scale projects that impact cities down to tiny ones that fit inside a pocket. Our projects bring magic to everyday places, behaviours and objects, inviting the public to become active contributors in the process and surrounding environments. We research new ways to interact and tell stories.

These experiences take many shapes: urban interventions, exhibitions, products, spatial design, events, software applications. In the past, we have created projects for PS1/MoMA and Eyebeam Technology Center in New York, London’s Southbank Centre, Kensington Palace, Arup Foresight, British Design Council, Capitol Film and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Julia Pitts

The Science Museum

www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

“On a good day when things seem clear, I’d say narrative is the glue, the thread, the angle, the order... It’s something to hold onto, for the teams during the development and for the visitor. It’s the way you make sense of the experience, in a few objects, words, colours, materials, fonts, forms, images, actions and spaces.”

Talk summary

How do museums go about creating exhibitions? What is the relationship between content and design, the collection and the audience, information and narrative? How does today’s museum practice influence an exhibition’s development and its final three-dimensional, multi-media reality?

This presentation will give an insight into some of the methods and tools used in the development of contemporary science exhibitions at the Science Museum, London. Using a case study, it will explore how content is ordered and mapped in a way that can be played out in space. It will also consider some

of the reasons behind current practice and how these affect the potential for narrative in exhibitions.


Profile

Based at the Science Museum in London, Julia’s current post – Manager for Narrative Environments – builds on her multi-disciplinary background in spatial and product design, design direction, creative writing, editing and publishing.

Julia uses all of these skills to create a bridge between the content and design teams at the Museum, strengthening the potential for a powerful, joined-up visitor experience. Her output is generally conversational, either in terms of creating a textural conversation with visitor in the gallery’s final copy, or in dialogues with teams during the gallery development.

Julia worked on the recently opened ‘Atmosphere …exploring climate science’ gallery with Casson Mann and Nick Bell Design; the ‘Launchpad’ gallery with Pentagram; and on many temporary exhibitions including the Museum’s Centenary projects in 2009/10. Behind the scenes Julia has also written the copy for the key strategic documents for the Science Museum over the last few years is currently working towards a PhD at Central Saint Martins looking at narrative in museum exhibitions.

Rakhi Rajani

www.rakhirajani.com

“Narrative is the means by which we make sense of the world.”

Talk summary

Cross Cultural Dialogues

We spend much of our lives talking at cross purposes - some people ‘get’ the stories we tell and others do not. Our understanding is affected by a number of factors, not least the story we bring with us to a situation.

In a world of interdisciplinarity and transmedia, our ability to make sense of each other and of different media is often challenged. Using examples from psychology and design, Rakhi will talk about how and why this happens.


Profile

Rakhi specialises in human behaviour - how people think, talk, walk, move, interact and participate with the world. She often works in the ‘in-between’ spaces where different elements and disciplines need to be brought together to create unique experiences for human interaction.

Matt Wade

Kin Design

www.kin-design.com

“Narrative for me is about injecting life into the fabric of things through stories. For me, it’s less about the written word and more about how we structure experience. I’m interested in what our senses tell our brain when we touch or interact with something and what connections that makes to past histories, previous experiences or existing knowledge. As a designer I want to find ways to twist those connections and develop new ways of understanding what things do and what they tell us.”

Talk summary

For me, narrative is a way of adding structure to the way we experience something. It is an ordering system for a sequence of events that are crafted from an obsession with the everyday. I am interested in the small things that happen as we go about our everyday lives; the things that feed us information. For example, when we pick something up, when we press something, when we look at something, or when we play with something.

As a designer I use this feedback as a way of shaping experience, as a way of triggering connections to past experiences, and thus, as a way of applying individual meaning to something. Yet, as standalone moments from the everyday they can seem chaotic and worst of all random.

It is the ordering system, or narrative that binds these things together into a coherent experience.

More often than not this is called a journey, however, it is not a linear process, it is lots of things happening synchronously and in relation to each other – so for example, the relationship between how something feels and what it does and how each of those things relate to the whole message. So more than a journey the narrative acts as a core story from within which everything else in framed.

The talk examines how we apply this thinking to our work and the reality of such a process in a commercial context.


Profile

Matt’s work examines the relationship between physical and virtual experience. He studied Design at Goldsmiths and Adaptive Architecture and Computation at the Bartlett. On leaving College Matt spent 3 years at Imagination, followed by 4 years at Moving Brands.

In 2008, Matt founded Kin, an Interaction Design Studio with Kevin Palmer. Over the last three years, they’ve delivered over 150 projects in over 10 countries. Kin’s work has featured many times in the National and Industry Press and in numerous books. Their Custom Cover project for Wallpaper* Magazine can currently be seen in the Designs of the Year 2011 exhibition at the Design Museum.

Matt is actively involved in education as a visiting tutor at Camberwell College of Arts and Goldsmiths. He is also external examiner for BA (HONS) Computing & Interaction Design at Goldsmiths.