Digital Direction is a new 240-credit, 15-month Master’s programme starting in September 2017.
Digital Direction addresses media and storytelling in the digital era, assessing emerging issues associated with contemporary digital communication and the creative economy, training new creative leaders who are responsive to continually changing contexts, infrastructures and technologies and engendering a new wave of creative leadership. Graduates will develop a deep understanding of critical and experimental communication/media production, creation and design practices, and through applied innovation will address current and future contexts.
The programme prepares students to evolve and lead new approaches to media and storytelling through predictive innovation, enabled by rapidly changing cultural and industrial practices, plus uses of, and developments in, digital technologies. Centring on the interrelated domains of broadcasting, film and experience/brand, the programme addresses knowledge and skills gaps in four key areas of practice: production, direction, content development/making/writing and communication/digital media design.
The programme proposes new imperatives for storytelling in an age of alternative facts and fictions; challenges associated with multiple media forms and systems; and methods for engaging publics as audiences, users, consumers, (co-)creators, stakeholders and participants.
Established approaches to production, direction, content creation and communication/digital media design are transforming at an exponential rate, employing innovative forms of storytelling and narrative experience to engage audiences in new ways. The programme is informed by associated transformations in digital technologies, including the prevalence of post-broadcast models of On Demand media; the proliferation of networked forms of production and distribution; source- and platform-agnostic, multi-cast, multi-access and multi-layered, multi-linear media; cultures of openness and control; and the primacy of interactivity.
The programme acknowledges human adaptations to living with digital technologies. Contemporary media platforms are mobile, embedded in multiple types of environments, infrastructures and products, and user-controlled with an engagement in more democratic forms of content generation and curation. In parallel, core discrete professions within the media and communication design industries are being challenged and broadened by increasingly transdisciplinary requirements. .
The programme equips students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to engage productively with the creative, design and commercial demands of this emerging and rapidly evolving multi-platform and multi-layered world. To match, a transdisciplinary approach is demanded with a strong narrative sense and a honed instinct for communication. Our contemporary uses of new digital technologies have prompted a reconsideration of communication borders and different types of responsive modes; and content developers and distributors are, in turn, converging within an increasingly fluid space.
Traditional skill sets involving narration, scriptwriting, production design, direction, set design, casting, photography, filming, lighting, and sound recording, for example, are now increasingly accompanied and informed by hitherto unrelated practices such as coding and programming, interactive design, AI, cross-platform and cross-media integration (e.g. transmedia), data visualisation and analytics, visual design, gamification, virtual/augmented reality and social media. Digital Direction addresses the demands of this new world – for example, by enabling designer-directors to produce and create content for social videos with an accompanying strategy for ensuring delivery to their target audiences, including deployment of mechanisms for openness and input.
The programme draws on six key principles from the School of Communication – conceptualisation, experimentation, expression, information, contextualisation and interdisciplinarity – which are in turn supported and developed through strategic research clusters based on the broader themes of identity, experience and publishing.