MA Narrative Environments

People / PhD Students / Julia Pitts

I specialise in the syncing of design and content to create successful visitor experiences. My multi-disciplinary background (3D designer, writer, editor, exhibition interpretation and project leader) bridges the working methods of museum and design teams. I have a track record for bringing bright people together to create clearly articulated ideas – and holding these elements together through to project delivery. Most recently my clients have included Science Museum, V&A, Natural History Museum. When I'm not trying to get everyone we need into the conversation or making hastily drawn diagrams, I'm working to complete my doctoral thesis 'The Narrative Dynamics of Space'.

The Narrative Dynamics of Space

My research is concerned with the museum exhibition, the team that creates it and the visitors that move through it. I have worked in this field and related disciplines for over 20 years and I am fascinated and frustrated by the way we make and experience these extraordinary spaces.

I have been provoked by Michel de Certeau’s essay ‘Walking in the City’ (1984), which highlights the gulf between the vision of the planners and the choices made by pedestrians. My theoretical position is inspired by Doreen Massey’s ‘For Space’ (2005) that shows there are other ways to think about space than as a problem.

My research question asks for evidence to ‘better understand the role of the spatial in the relationship between visitor and content in the exhibition’. With two case studies I have used methods from mid-twentieth century urban planners to capture more closely how visitors might experience space and compare this with visitor behaviour recorded in these specific spaces in summative evaluations.

I have proposed the term ‘narrative dynamics of space’ to describe what lies at the heart of my research – that space operates like a narrative and that understanding this idea can help to change how we develop exhibitions.

Discipline: Experiential Design