Moving Image Design

The IED Moving Image Design (MID) pathway explores the creation and communication of information and narratives in a post-screen, post-digital world where non-linear is replaced by multi-linear, multi-modal, multi-layered and multi-access; content is scaled and scalable, both fixed and mobile, across surfaces, across environments, and across technologies. 

MID is not a traditional film programme, nor is it merely about technology. Freed from commercial constraints and set within the world’s foremost art and design university, MID unleashes the best skilled, dangerous minds to re-imagine future forms and content of moving image narratives, taking a critical methodology from within communication design practice

Graduates will identify themselves as leading moving image practitioners, working fluidly across media and professional specialisms, and pioneering new forms, contexts and business models aimed at communication, narrative and experience. As IED graduates, they will balance knowledge and expertise in digital and physical tools, materials and technologies with contextual, critical, historical and theoretical knowledge.  

As part of this new pathway, we have explored the area in an initiative called Exploded Screen.

The pathway works across three broad areas:

  • digital directing (mobile and social media, real and virtual contexts and environments, documentary and documentation, and visualisation)
  • time-based media and temporal narratives (nonlinear narratives, media theory, location-based media, CCTV, moving image as data)
  • moving image by and for design (information manifestation, interactivity, participation, computational cinematography, computer vision, performance and stage design).

The pathway enables students to create for their practice:

  • A conceptual framework – students develop a sophisticated understanding of how moving image can be employed in diverse forms and contexts, grounded in media theory, computation and information.
  • Discursive context – students create and situate their work within communication, collaborating within the College and with external partners to explore the significance of moving image and its relationship to other media and contexts.
  • Technical skills – with specially tailored technical training, students will be expected to quickly attain a professional level of practical moving image skills in image creation and capture, editing, and storytelling. They will explore various forms and distribution channels including projection and environments, mobile and social media.


The pathway sits alongside the Sound Design and Experimental Design pathways in IED. Like all of the IED curriculum, it is grounded in information (e.g. visualising and animating data, and conversely treating moving image as data), explored and deployed as experience (exploring new forms, contexts and technologies), through experimental design practice.

Our research and practice in this area has so far investigated related areas around robotic displays, projection design, user-generated narrative trails, and visualisation. We accept MA students from professional moving image backgrounds, and have research students working in moving image including planetariums and projection mapping. Other applicants come from Performance Studies, fine art moving image practice, stage and set design, and communication design.


First Year

The pathway is delivered through projects with external partners, seminars, peer reviews, tutorials, study visits and technical workshops. In the first year, students will also choose from the School of Communication elective programme (see for example our Exploded Screen elective). Additional projects, activity, events and talks are provided by IED. 

Critical discourse through a seminar series programmed throughout the two years explores the development of cinematic language, film theory as well as new media design and contemporary discourses such as the 'New Aesthetic' and media archaeology, forming the theoretical and practical grounding for the pathway. The School of Communication also has historically strong links with commercial and experimental film practitioners and theorists, from Sir Ridley Scott to the Brothers Quay.

Moving Image pathway students are expected to move across pathway boundaries in the first year, but will be supported in developing sequential image production skills through a series of practical workshops. Students develop critical design and technical skills while creating meaningful and engaging content, communication and narrative experiences through the understanding and application of both literal and atmospheric storytelling. A workshop series includes content creation, cinematography, editing, sound design, art direction and spatial design, compositing, projection mapping in the context of data visualisation, kinetic displays, installation, and multichannel, multimodal experiences.

Year 1 students assist Year 2 students with the Work-in-progress and Degree Shows, and students in each pathway begin with a wide subject bandwidth, which focuses on the pathway progressively leading up to Year 2. Each student has a Personal Tutor for the year, who is a subject specialist and organises regular tutorials. Weekly seminars and workshops are held across all three terms, with core curriculum and skills being front-loaded in Term 1.

Second Year

In the second year, students focus on developing final projects around their core practice.  Students also design, curate, organise and host a series of events and debates featuring invited external speakers that relate issues in contemporary culture to their professional practice. Their final projects in Year 2 constitute significant, substantive and ground-breaking uses of moving image to communicate information and narrative.