Research in Immersive Storytelling

Exchange programme

“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact it’s the other way around.” - Terry Pratchett

Stories are as old as humankind itself. They give our existence meaning and direction. But the way we tell them is constantly shifting due to new habits, new technology, new contexts and newly formed audiences. Our modern times ask for a new kind of storyteller to achieve this.

Research in Immersive Storytelling is centred around the idea that in recent years we have seen the rise of numerous new types of narrative practices and purposes alongside traditional media. Rather than developing stories for one medium, today’s professionals are very likely to design stories for all kinds of media, including computer and pervasive games, interactive web documentaries, virtual reality films, interactive installations and performances.

1 characteristic these media formats all have in common - and is central to this programme - is the power to create an immersive experience. Immersion means complete involvement. Immersive storytelling enables you to become totally absorbed in the world of the story. It creates an experience that fully appeals to your senses and lets you actively take part in what is happening. In Research in Immersive Storytelling you will work with different media, different story styles and formats, aiming to research how the dynamic between the 2 elements creates an immersive experience.

Learning objectives

Research in Immersive Storytelling focusses on researching the mutual influence of story, technology and immersion. This programme is a perfect fit for you if you are excited to critically explore the design challenges offered by the multitude of new opportunities in how we tell stories, how we use new technology and how we engage with our audience.

Programme research questions include: What does interactivity mean in terms of the relationship between the narrator and the audience? How much control can you let go to let your audience create the story? How can you achieve an immersive experience, and how far can you go? How does virtual reality impact your engagement with the story subject? You will explore these by experimenting, making, reflecting and sharing knowledge with a group of international students and lecturers who do research in this field.

Challenges and assignments

If you join the programme, you will be challenged to work and design with several different media and technologies. The programme is designed from the basic premise that everything can be a medium. Literally anything can be used to convey narrative information. You can tell a story using objects, a location, physical movement, scents, lighting, and so on. A narrative experience can also be created with technological means. These can include video projections, soundscapes and augmented or virtual reality or transmedia storytelling.

Training goals

Research in Immersive Storytelling focuses on learning how to carry out practice-based research. During the programme you will perform experiments and create work in order to acquire new knowledge and insight. In doing so, you will gain experience of various design research methods and techniques. This will prepare you for carrying out research in the context of your bachelor’s or master’s degree programme or your future profession.

Research in Immersive Storytelling brings you face to face with complex issues and has an interdisciplinary approach to design and training. To achieve results you must work in close collaboration with students from other disciplines and study programmes. You will perform creative and practice-based research and carry out projects as a team. In the projects you will cooperate with external institutions, companies or organisations. You are supervised throughout the process by a diverse team of lecturers.

This programme is part of the Communication & Multimedia Design programme at the School for Communication and User Experience in Breda. Research in Immersive Storytelling is a collaboration with the School of Fine Art and Design|St.Joost.