Dissertation advice needed please!!!


New Member
Hi everyone,

I stumbled upon this forum while searching for dissertation ideas. I'll be entering my 3rd year at uni next month, studying illustration BA(hons).

I could really use some help with trying to create a structure from my current interests and ideas for my upcoming dissertation. Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

I'm currently looking at Neo-Victorianism and the genre of Steampunk as a possible idea for my final project but would like to incorporate this into my dissertation somehow. I have to link it into illustration and create an 'argument' for the essay.

As a starting point, (I'm hoping my idea will develop into something a bit more in depth as I'm aware the following isn't enough to warrant a 5000 word essay of degree standards) I was thinking of looking at Steampunk and whether it can be classed as an aesthetic movement in it's own right, but not really sure where I could take it from there and how to keep it interesting?

Any ideas/suggestions would be great! :icon_smile:

Steampunk is first and foremost a literary genre.... or at least that's what the website says anyway! I personally have no idea what you're talking about. lol


From what I've just read, Neo-Victorianism is the use of Victorian-Edwardian aesthetics and values in a modern environment. Steampunk literature (and therefore I'm assuming Steampunk as a genre) often includes modern technological advances in a Victorian environment (but that's open to interpretation). I'd read from that, that you want to base your illustration dissertation on Victorian aesthetics, in a Victorian environment with modern technology?
There have been a number of movies which use steampunk designs. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Golden Compass come to mind. Sucker Punch ?, although I haven't seen it, and a crap Will Smith "western" from a few years ago, although they
aren't Victorian based.
You could try and look for some original sketches/concept stuff from these, and come up with your own. Google "steampunk movies". How you would get this into a dissertation, I can't help you, I'm afraid.
You could expand on it by looking at Steampunk within video games or table top roleplaying game - perhaps as concept art? I'd recommend looking at Unhallowed Metropolis, which is a Steampunk with zombies roleplaying game.

When you're planning a dissertation, write down a list of things you'd like to discuss within it. Origins of the genre and influences, usage within graphic design, games design, web design, etc.
It's an interesting idea. I'd say it started out as a literary genre, but has grown. It's worth looking into steampunk in comics, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman's been mentioned, some fun ideas in there (the design for the Nautilis for example). Aetheric Mechanics is a short written by Warren Ellis. While not specifically 'steampunk', it definitely draws from that same creative pool.

I like steampunk as long as it's more than adding cogs onto things that don't need them. :icon_biggrin:

Good luck!