Accessibility statement

Our research

The research of the ICNS clusters around the four research themes outlined below. Each theme encompasses a range of activities and projects, and there are a few that spill over the boundaries between themes. You can also browse the Centre's research activities by starting from the Projects page.

Narrative and complex systems


The Narrative and Complex Systems theme is the Centre's most radically interdisciplinary research initiative. It brings together scholars with narrative interests from across the humanities and complex systems analysts from a similarly broad spectrum of the sciences and social sciences. It is founded upon a close association between the ICNS and YCCSA, the York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis, and it is the home of the international NarCS network. 

Interactive narrative

M. C. Escher, Drawing Hands (1948)

Interactive Narrative is a theme originating in a collaboration with Computer Science at York, but has developed several distinct lines of enquiry. These projects share a focus upon the potential for interactive narrative in new media, using the latest research in narrative theory to inform the development of digital technologies and, reciprocally, exploring the implications of such new technological possibilities for our understanding of narrative itself. 


The Countryman and the Cinematograph, RW Paul, 1901

The Fictionality theme originates with the Fictionality research group in the English department, and foregrounds the Centre's historical scope and emphasis upon the specifics of cultural contexts. The enabling premise for this research theme is that fictionality is best understood not as an ontological quality but as a rhetorical resource in communication, and that the terms of its use are pragmatic and contextual - so variable across periods and cultures, and not confined within generic fictions.

Narrative in the humanities

CModS Narrative Research banner image

The Narrative in the Humanities theme provided the foundation in interdisciplinary narrative studies upon which the ICNS was built. It encompasses a range of research activities that foster dialogue and collaboration across the humanities by foregrounding the relevance of narrative as a conceptual frame of reference across a range of media, and emphasizing the ways in which narrative theory can articulate the interdependence of formalist and ideological perspectives.