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Moving Image Design

Pathway in Information Experience Design

Moving Image Design is one of three Pathways on the Information Experience Design (IED) MA Programme, alongside  Experimental Design and Sound Design. The Moving Image Design Pathway 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, Moving Image Design unleashes the best skilled, dangerous minds to re-imagine future forms and content of moving image form and content, taking a critical methodology from within communication design practice.

Moving Image Design includes our Full Dome Research Group, which explores immersive moving image content in 360-degree fulldome spaces such as planetaria. It has ongoing high-profile collaborations and outcomes, attracting industry and academic partners including the Sonar Festival, Festspiele Berlin, National Space Centre, Bristol University, UCL and the V&A

Graduates will identify themselves as leading moving image practitioners, working fluidly across new technologies as well as 16mm film, 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.  

The Pathway works across three broad areas:

  • Moving image as design: This encompasses the cognitive, political and moral effects of moving image in society—moving image as mediating artefact, negotiating and constructing meaning in social situations. Time-based design includes animation, theatre, dance and their relationship to moving image. There is a strong emphasis on environments and installations, i.e. designing for experience in contexts where moving image represents the dominant medium – projection, sensors, scenography, moving image gestalt.
  • Moving image as data: not as content in the usual sense, but as a computational resource. This includes data-driven narratives and computational cinematics. Moving image as a network effect, YouTube memes, interfaces and interactions around digital moving image and their related affordances. The dialectical relationship between form and content is the focus here, an examination of the digital properties associated with moving image. 
  • Moving image as research: Using moving image to do research harnesses novel applications and methods from within IED as an analytical resource, practical discipline, and field of methodological exploration. Practice-led research into moving image implies moving image as a subject of enquiry. Practice-based research means using moving image as a developing design language of its own, one that makes explicit the connections with information experiences and the emerging research themes in IED, including the sensory, social, political. 

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 the Information Experience Design MA Programme. 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,  tutorials and technical workshops. In the first year, students will also choose from the School of Communication elective programme. Additional projects, activity, events and talks are provided by IED. The School of Communication has strong moving image expertise, and historically strong links with commercial and experimental film practitioners and theorists, from 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 topics such as observational filmmaking, 16mm filmmaking and a range of digital skills and new technologies.

Students in each Pathway begin with a wide subject bandwidth, which focuses increasingly on the Pathway progressively leading up tothe second year. Each student has a Personal Tutor for the year, who is a subject specialist and organises regular tutorials. IED seminars, workshops and research methods 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 with Work-in-progress and Final shows as key milestones. Their final projects in the second year constitute significant, substantive and ground-breaking uses of moving image to communicate information and narrative. Personal tutors, seminars, workshops and research methods all continue in the second year, and are supplemented with regular crits and a Professional Practice series. 

""Today we are all photographers, taking, sending and receiving photos at such a rate that they practically merge into a moving film. Personal, impersonal, searched, and researched images blend together in streams and scrolls, taking us everywhere and nowhere at the same moment."" — Sarah Sze