Hello! Welcome to the MA Narrative Environments (MANE) Course Compendium!

The design of narrative environments lies at the intersection of design as social practice taking place within, while re-shaping, public space; design as commercial practice taking place within, while re-shaping, global and local marketplaces; design as spatial practice taking place within, while re-shaping, natural, urban and digital environments; and design as academic discipline, taking place within, while re-shaping, the interdisciplinarity of the university.

The design of narrative environments, being transformative in character, also lies at the intersection of the actual and the virtual, so is well positioned to incorporate explorations of the changing terrains emerging from the increasing ubiquity of digital technologies that continue to shift perceptions of the boundaries among the real, the artificial and the natural, a condition that requires not just (critical) reflection but also heightened awareness of the consequential outcomes of reflexive action and interaction.

How do you use this Compendium?

The design of narrative environments employs a tripartite model whose three interlinked major terms, people, narrative and environment, form a network, a responsive adaptive system that is open to the world.

While you may enter the Compendium by starting from any term, as your investigation develops you will become aware of the networked interconnection of the terms. As you navigate the Compendium, you will follow certain narrative threads interconnecting the terms, but you will also become aware that the overall pattern of the Compendium does not form a single, linear narrative nor a singular hierarchical structure. Following the principles of the design of narrative environments, the Compendium, while articulating narratives, opens to the rhizomic and the heterarchical.

In practical terms, you will discover concepts, methods and theories that you can employ in the design and construction of your narrative environment.

The Compendium seeks to enable you to understand how meanings, values, ethical stances and political dynamics emerge for situated actors, or actants, a term whose meaning will become clear to you, through particular design configurations. It also enables you to question, to propose, to facilitate and to act in the pursuit of your design goals.

Edited by Allan Parsons on 10 April 2021, revised 21 July 2021.

This is (and will always be) a work in progress. So far, the entries we have are as follows: