The storyteller of the future is not just someone with ideas, but a person that is able to communicate concepts through a series of platforms, that can lead innovation and communicate effectively within an inter-disciplinary team. Today’s designers, coders, journalists, documentary film makers, photographers, educators, broadcasters, radio producers and social campaigners need to have the appropriate digital media skills to “tell their stories” in an interactive way.
The Interactive Factual Narrative MA is designed to create a safe experimental environment where you will acquire the methodology you need in order to develop your interactive factual stories. As this is a new field, terminology is still confusing and you will have heard wording as varied as i-docs, web-docs, social apps, mobile news, immersive journalism, VR stories, factual digital experiences, serious games, stories for change, transmedia non-fiction and more.
We have conglomerated all these different terminologies into the larger family of interactive factual narratives, or “interfactuals” – stories that use digital interactive media to portray the world around us and who want to initiate change.
The Interactive Factual Narrative MA has a totally different approach from any masters degree course you might know of. It has been conceived as a multi-disciplinary lab that will be taught in burst mode - blocks of three full days every two to three weeks. This is to enable you to work alongside of your studies, while developing your dream personal project on the side. Perhaps you will use the course to research and develop your company’s special project, or as a way to stay creative and socially engaged while keeping your day-to-day job. Whatever your situation, the Interactive Factual Narrative MA offers you a creative space to engage with your passions.
Modules on this course are following the production schedule of an interactive project and adopt an iterative way of working. Testing and user experience is taken in consideration at each step of the creative process. It will feel as a safe playing ground where you will be encouraged to learn, fail, re-iterate and ultimately think outside of the box.
You will be asked to adopt a collaborative ethos and open your professional expertise to the benefit of your course peers. In doing so, you will feel part of a creative community that will support you when needed, and may serve you as a network even after the course has finished.
The modules will be very hands-on and will be lead by a mixture of professionals from the field and university staff. All modules will be compulsory – this is to allow the different groups to advance at a similar pace.
By the end of the year you will have expanded your ideas of what an interactive narrative can be, acquired a solid knowledge of the field, consolidated a multi-skilled network of people and developed a digital prototype of your group idea. By then your project should be ready to be presented to potential financers and media partners.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.
INTERACTIVE FACTUAL FUNDAMENTALS (IF FUNDAMENTALS)
The aim of this module is to provide you with a theoretical and historical overview of the field of interactive storytelling – with a focus on factual narratives. Theories of interactivity and narrative models will be analysed while looking at existing examples. This module will run through the first two semesters and will provide a critical space for the class.
Taking a full day out of the three of each burst, IF Fundamentals will use the theme of the burst and give the students a chance to be active in their research and experimentation. Students will be asked to present case studies and examples will be peer-critiqued so that you will have a solid understanding of the field that will allow you to place your projects in a critical context. Guest speakers will be invited to participate.
IDEATION: INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING AND PROTOTYPING
The first part of this module will be dedicated to sharpening the core story of each group. Strategies to pin down and research the primary and secondary audience of the project will be disclosed, and teams will work on the “what, whom and why” methodology. This is where a mixture of user personas, impact charts, platform maps and other user experience design techniques will be tried.
The second part of this module will be dedicated to initial prototyping of your ideas. User journeys and user flows might act as a starting point to start paper prototyping and presenting a first structure to the class. Testing techniques and iterative design will also be experimented.
BUILDING 1: PLATFORMS, DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
This module aims to equip you with the tools to decide of the scope of your project so that you can start digitally prototyping it. Concepts such as “minimum viable product” and “project scoping” will be used to delimitate your first prototyping efforts. Current authoring and digital prototyping tools will be presented and you will be asked to experiment with them. Theories of user experience, iterative design and user testing will be core to this module. By the end of this module you will aim to have your first project’s digital prototype.
BUILDING 2: THE BUSINESS OF INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
Not forgetting that your project will need a solid business grounding if it wants to be fully developed, this module will touch upon four main areas: impact, budget, marketing and pitching. Each of these themes will be developed through a full hands-on day lead by specialists in each field.
By the end of this module you will have to complete a first draft of your project’s industry treatment.
The last semester will be dedicated to the building of your interactive project and the consolidation of its industry treatment. Through regular meeting points and tutorials you will be coached all the way till your final pitch in front of a panel of industry members.
Following the pitch you will be asked to provide a critical review piece that could be a written paper of 3000 words or an interactive piece – the form of which will need to be discussed with your module leader. Here you will be able to critically evaluate your own work within the group efforts, position your project within the current interactive landscape and relevant interactive theory.
The course is mainly geared at giving you the right support and methodology to develop your interactive project during the course. The critical awareness and the iterative methodology that you will gain will then serve you to remain competitive in the digital creative industries you might enter in the future, regardless of the technologies they use.
At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.
Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster
work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.
We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.
Our standard postgraduate entry requirements for most courses are: a good honours degree from a recognised university or qualification or experience deemed to be equivalent AND English Language competency requirements vary among courses, but as a minimum, you will need the equivalent to an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall (and minimum 5.5 in each component)