The presentation will chart the journey of designing a curriculum for the new School of Digital Arts (SODA) at Manchester Metropolitan University. SODA will provide a space that brings science, business, education and media practitioners together into one bespoke building that places at its centre, the future of storytelling. The curriculum design responds to emerging tech and media industries that increasingly fail to recognise disciplinary boundaries but continue to highly value creativity. SODA’s new curriculum was created through a series of short developmental “curriculum design sprints”, involving students, alumni, staff, external industry partners, international colleagues and partners from the creative, tech and business worlds. The curriculum makes creativity, collaboration and technology the central cultural thread of a shared multidisciplinary space, where risk-taking, playful learning and curiosity are fostered and where imagination and inventiveness are essential ingredients for future content makers.
SODA promotes the relationship between academic research and technological change as key drivers for a new curriculum. Our brief then is to develop an agile and responsive, research informed, vertical curriculum that places industry at the heart of the educational experience and emerging technologies as central components for future storytelling. This will necessitate a new pedagogy built on collaboration and sharing that cuts across the academy, with the central aims of creating a shared culture of entrepreneurship, co-creation and co-production.
The paper will be a shared presentation by two academics who are driving the development of curriculum for the school. It will provide an opportunity to reflect on the journey of its development so far, drawing out the realisations and revelations that have emerged from our extensive consultations with staff across faculty, current students, industry partners and international colleagues. By sharing our experience and seeking the insights and responses from colleagues at conference, we aim to open out discussion of what a new school of digital arts should look like in the 21st century.