Engineering narratives

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    How might we engineer narrative strategies within design education to enable future change? Using language effectively, particularly within the contexts of narrative storytelling, is a critical tool to aid design thinking. Narrative theory affects design, architecture, art, management, cognitive psychology, computing, and the games industry, and rarely engineering. Narrative may be dominated by design disciplines valuing the visual data driven output over narrative thinking. Barthes refers to this visual dependency as the tyranny of the visual, and, we could add, the tyranny of data driven design. Narrative thinking may be constrained by academic writing, or confined by technical terminology native to that discipline. Whilst images may pretend to project a reality, Forty reminds us that language is about keeping that reality at bay, or as Saussure describes, in language there is only difference. This paper describes three narrative strategies involving the disciplines of Architecture, English and Interior & Environmental Design in Scotland, USA and Netherlands. The workshops explore narrative making, and the link between image and object; virtual & cultural narratives, simulating client designer relationships, and ekphrastic narratives, exploring the interrelationships between the poetic and the spatial. The authors speculate on the transferable potential to engineering, product and non visual educators, and particularly how narrative strategies could transform disciplines, improve client engagement and impact upon international academic exchange.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDS 43: Proceedings of E and PDE 2007, the 9th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
    EditorsE. Bohemia, K. Hilton, C. McMahon, A. Clarke
    PublisherThe Design Society
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    EventThe 9th Engineering and Product Design Education International Conference 2007 - Newcastle, United Kingdom
    Duration: 13 Sept 200714 Sept 2007


    ConferenceThe 9th Engineering and Product Design Education International Conference 2007
    Abbreviated titleE&PDE 2007
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    • Narratives
    • Ekphrasis
    • Language
    • Storytelling
    • Ambiguity
    • Risk


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