Immersive Storytelling


    How can we craft narratives drawing on the dynamics of interaction and visual and sonic immersion? What design strategies exist to shape character, plot, drama, time, space, data, and event within linear and non-linear interactive fictions? This minor takes a close look at the mechanics of immersive storytelling within dynamic media and equips students with tools and technologies to make their story an immersive experience.

    Students in this minor explore experiential and immersive storytelling in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality, data visualization, 360 spherical film, and interactive theater.

    Students are exposed to various thought processes, design strategies, and production pipelines such as narrative design, systems and new technologies of interaction, and digital asset creation and implementation. Many of the skills used in film, video, game, 3D modeling, and computer animation production can be adopted for this new ground. Students learn to apply their knowledge to a variety of hybrid practices at the intersection of traditional, computer-based, and commercial and noncommercial design and art practices. Students have an opportunity to design the minor according to their personal interests and orientations. The contributions of students of many different backgrounds will create a productive incubator for innovation in media viewing and experience design.

    Note: Immersive storytelling encompasses the creation of motion for animate and inanimate objects and visual patterns. With these new technologies, we create the opportunity for participants to interact with and affect immersive worlds, characters, and stories with physical (smell/touch), visual, and sonic multi-modal experiences.


    A student who has completed this minor should be able to:

    • Immersive Experiences (Main Concepts) - Develop an understanding of narrative principles and systems, and experiment with these findings to create interactive immersive experiences on the designated technology and media platforms.
    • Current and Historical Professional Practices - Demonstrate an understanding of the history and theory of media technologies and the creation of immersive experiences in virtual spaces, theater, cinema, and emerging hybrid/augmented forms.
    • Craft - Competently use various media production pipelines to craft and design digital and analog scenes such as sets, landscapes, and architecture including audio/music/sound FX and projection techniques to create interactive digital and analog imagined and immersive realities.
    • Storytelling - Tell compelling stories through principles of engagement, interaction, navigation, narrative strategies, dynamic characters, and the invention of visual and sonic cues and devices to copy and advance cinematic continuity for 360-degree immersion.
    • World Building - Develop user experience and interaction design skills for digital immersion (surround projection and head-mounted displays) and haptic (clothing, gesture, gloves, tangible interfaces, brain interfaces) technologies as well as eye tracking and develop skills and knowledge of production pipelines for sound, dramatic performances, digital 3D asset modeling, rigging, animation, and exporting files and materials to appropriate hardware and venues.


    Subject Area Course Options Requirements
    Framing Conceptual Ideas Through Visual Media

    0-3 credits

    Students who have already completed one of these courses, or will do so for their major, should instead select another course in the subject area "2D/3D/4D Techniques and Processes" (below).

    Introduction to Main Concepts, History, and Theory

    3 credits

    Gate course

    Current and Historical Professional Practices 3 credits
    Craft 3–6 credits
    Storytelling & World Building
    • PSAM 2540 Visual Narrative I
    • PSAM 2541 Visual Narrative II
    • PSAM 3533 Illustration in Performance
    • PSAM 2840 Photo Concepts: Narrative
    • PSAM 3263 Projected Environment
    • PSAM 3742 Exploration as Narrative 
    • LLSJ 3800 Virtual Reality Journalism
    • PSAM 3XXX Recursive Reality

      Virtual reality (VR) is currently enjoying a renaissance in public interest and technology. In this class, we prototype novel VR experiences and installations with state-of-the-art hardware while considering usability design and VR sickness mitigation. But underneath the formal interface questions lie aesthetic ones: What does it mean to craft a reality that routinely makes its inhabitants physically sick? Can we resist weaponizing this reality? How do we situate VR in relation to "real reality" — as lamp, as mirror, or as recursive wormhole feeding back on itself? Basic instruction in code and 3D tools facilitate our research.

    • PSAM 2XXX Data-Driven Narrative

      What might the future of Web-based and data-driven narratives look like, and how are storytellers, artists, and creators creating humancentric design for virtual reality? Mixed reality technologies are disrupting the future of human-machine interfaces, unlocking human cognition and perception. Advanced 3D imaging and immersive design will change the way people interact with the Internet, visualize data, and analyze complexity in shared virtual environments. Google, Facebook, the New York Times, and PBS Frontline are investing heavily in virtual reality as a powerful storytelling medium. But who owns the data? Immersive experiences give rise to new questions surrounding data that is physiological and behavioral and have opened up new research in the study of neuroscience in immersive virtual environments. In this class, students discuss the philosophy of VR design and its relationship to input devices and other interaction techniques. The class then covers principles of understanding of human perception and intuitive interaction and discover design principles in immersive environments. Through agile and iterative design workflows, students create compelling Web-based, data-driven immersive experiences.

    3–6 credits


    Minors are available to undergraduate students across The New School except those students at Lang and in the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students who are completing a self-designed BA or BS in Liberal Arts, who are not permitted to declare minors. For students at Lang or in the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students who are interested in pursuing deeper study of this subject area, opportunities are available through the self-designed major in Liberal Arts. To explore this option, contact an academic advisor or read more information about self-designed options for Lang or the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students.
    For questions regarding this minor’s curriculum, including requests for course substitutions, please contact Anezka Sebek, associate professor, at