Film and its Audience
The module aims to introduce students to film and its audiences. Drawing on relevant debates and scholarship, the module will introduce students to a range of different films such as popular Hollywood film, independent film and world cinema. After providing an overview of different types of film, the module will start to explore such issues as reception, taste and consumption. As such students will consider the social and cultural contexts in which film consumption takes place. In addition, the module will introduce students to different methods of studying audiences in order to gain further insight into how audiences engage with film.
Filmmakers on Film
The module aims to introduce students to the study of film, including film history, theory and analysis as well as the technical, commercial and other aspects of the process. The module will introduce these issues through the writings and words of film makers themselves and through the screening and study of key films and moments in the development of film. Wherever possible, the introduction and discussion of most important, significant and essential aspects of film study (auteur theory, genre, narrative etc) will be introduced to students by film makers, past and present.
Britain on Film
Britain on Film introduces students to the study of national and regional-focussed cinema, with a specific focus on cinematic portrayals of the United Kingdom. Students will explore the diverse ways that Britain has been represented on screen, both internally from within the British film industry and externally via international filmmakers and productions that have imagined versions of the country from further afield. A conscious trajectory of the module will be to begin at a micro, i.e. regional, level (for example, thinking about Yorkshire on film) and developing a wider, macro, gaze towards notions of a ‘national’ film industry, before concluding with an exploration of the portrayal of Britain on film from international perspectives. A growing scope of this nature will allow the module to filter into fields of study encountered later in the program that have broader areas of focus (e.g. European Cinema and Transnational Cinema). The module will consider various industrial and historical developments in film history as well as how particular eras, ideologies and identities of ‘Britishness’ are displayed through the medium of cinema. Looking at specific case-study films that typify particular tropes and themes of British identity and culture on screen, this module will allow students to develop a greater understanding of Britain’s rich cinematic heritage across numerous genres and from various (inter)national perspectives.
Cinema and Society
The module introduces students to the skills of film analysis in an American historical context, focusing upon a series of key themes, including: women in Hollywood; race & the cinema; crime & the city; politics, war & film; and youth culture.
Cult and Extreme Cinema
Cult and Extreme Cinema is a module which explores films’ existence in a cultural ecology which is often unexpected, revealing and fascinating. The module considers the concept that film texts can exist in ways which are beyond the simple economic exchange of production and distribution and come to affect, draw together and at times baffle. The module will explore the notion of cult cinema historically, industrially and also in a contemporary context. In doing so, students will be encouraged to consider the form of film in broader cultural terms including notions of distribution, subcultural matters and subversion. During the module, students will engage with the ways in which historic examples of legislation have affected the status of cultism and cinema. This will include investigations into the ways in which screen and entertainment developments have played a part in enhancing certain filmic cult movements. In addition, this allows students to further explore notions of genre, authorship and introduce the global and transnational circulation of the form.
This module aims to further explore and develop key debates and on-going media discourses. As such the module encourages students to explore and critically engage with a range of contemporary media discourses. The module will be exploratory and practical, using a range of current sources, structured exercises, hand-outs and discussion. Drawing upon this material students’ will explore media discourses in relation to persuasion, tone of voice, dialogue and temporality. In doing so, students will analyse the ways in which media texts and images operate and start to question what they can learn from them. Through the investigation of these topics students will consider their own cultural practices and how they construct a sense of identity and give rise to certain meanings. Overall this module is concerned with the process of meaning-making and will utilise specific analytical tools that enable students to critically engage with media texts.
In addition, the module explores the links between academic and creative writing and how students could consider writing for different audiences and platforms by adapting their work through the use of style, tone and ‘voice’. The module will also use constructive group discussion to explore their work in order to learn more about the editing and redrafting process involved in writing.
The module aims to introduce the understanding that differing critical perspectives are possible in the consideration and analysis of any given media text or texts. Students will explore the subject of ideology through the viewing practices and belief structures of media audiences. Through the study of media communication models and their history, and through engagement with the extensive body of media audience literature (primarily but certainly not exclusively relating to television audiences), students will begin to appreciate the nature of contemporary mass communication, the ways in which ideology and meaning is ‘encoded and decoded’ throughout the communication process and the importance and practice of cultural ethnography in the consumption of media messages and the negotiation of ideological content.
Media Publics and Power
This module aims to introduce students to some of the key debates surrounding media and power in contemporary culture. Specifically the module will examine debates in which new media technologies are regarded as a way of providing self-expression and agency through creative forms of production such as mash-ups and fan fiction. At the same time, the module will examine how new media technologies might impact upon the social, economic and cultural power that is associated with major media institutions such as the press, public service television and radio. The module will also explore the ways in which new media technologies such as social media can be used as a platform to bring people together for particular purposes to critique power in society through media events (smart mobs) and activism (such as the Occupy Movement which criticises the global financial system and the uneven distribution of wealth). In turn, the module will also consider other debates in which social media also raises a number of problematic issues regarding power in terms of surveillance and privacy.
Research in Practice
This module introduces students to experiences in higher education. It uses a variety of methods to engage students and to develop their skills in research, referencing, critical thinking, academic writing, presentation skills and group work. Relevant examples of contemporary topics, themes and images will also be used to illustrate the importance of analysing the media. Overall this module provides a range of skills that will be essential to producing successful work as an undergraduate. A key element will be to encourage the idea that studying is fun as well as hard work.
Media, Culture and Society
This module aims to explore theories and concepts associated with analytical readings of the media. Students will examine a variety of ‘texts’ to exemplify essential theoretical perspectives and will introduce key issues and debates relating to Media in social and cultural contexts. In addition, students will be introduced to key methodologies which will be of use throughout their degree and which can be adapted for a wide range of critical enquiry. The module will provide opportunities for students to assess and evaluate key modes of critical and analytical investigation.
Media Evolution and History
The module will introduce students to the area of study known as ‘media ecology’ which encourages an understanding of a medium as anything in which meaning or communication of any sort talks place. Key thinkers in this field are most importantly Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, and Walter Ong amongst a number of others. The module will provide an introduction to the deep history of media and allied technologies (writing, printing, painting) and will examine how media, in the broadest of senses, determine the possibilities of communication, creative activity and understanding. The module will examine the ways in which traditional, new and emergent technologies influence our relationship with information and culture and how these factors additionally affect social organisation, aesthetic practice and political structure. The module will follow McLuhan’s critical method in considering other technologies to be of importance as ‘media’; thus, transport, cities, central heating, electric lighting for example are all of interest. The module is intended to provide essential historical and conceptual background for any understanding of today’s media environment.
This module will introduce students to the theory and practice of convergence technology and with associated areas of transmedia activity and network theory. Students will be encouraged to engage with the continuing development and evolution of communication technologies and the associated conceptual structures which support, explain and are facilitated by them. The module will require students to consider these developments in communications technology in relation to social, political and cultural factors and how these may affect the production and consumption of meaning and content. Students will explore both the culture which surrounds the theory and practice of convergence media and also the ways in which convergence media influence culture itself.
Music and Media
The purpose of this module is to explore the significance of various forms and uses of music within the fields of cultural production and to appreciate the histories and evolutions of these processes and movements as indicators of cultural change. The module also seeks to understand the possibilities for social, political and cultural exploration or critique offered through the study of music and to encourage an understanding of the uses and permutations of music within the context of counter-cultural production, innovation, reception, distribution, protest and socio-cultural moments. This includes investigations into key theories relating to the uses and implementations of music and its related cultural significance (such as authorship, activism, mode of production, meaning and representation, paratextual relationships etc.)
Culture, Controversy and Media
This module aims to engage students in debates about the production, reception and contexts of media and cultural products which have produced controversy: It aims to: Analyse the debates about taste and the reception of text in a range of traditional, new and emergent media. Conduct this analysis using terms from aesthetics, from studies in contemporary media, and from the writings and records of those involved in critical debate and rereading. Introduce students to the terminology of aesthetic discussion and dispute, terms such as: propaganda, artistic licence, canonical status, acceptability, pornography, ‘harm’, censorship, etc. Introduce students to a brief history of these terms, how they arose, how they are institutionalised, by whom, and for what reason. Study some of the aesthetic values which have been dominant in the middle and late twentieth century. Explore the concept of the ‘moral panic’ and assess its use in understanding media messages, power and democracy in contemporary societies
This module aims to acquaint students with critical debates in visual culture and allow students the opportunity to try out theoretical notions in a creative manner. They will be able to integrate material developed in previous and current modules which will provide a potential focus for the later stages of the programme. Students will be able to understand the essential relationships between word and image from illustration to the internet. The module will investigate how graphonemic strategies can be used to communicate complex ideas and the ways in which the visual world has responded to socio-historic flux. Students will familiarise themselves (with professional guidance) with the principles and functions of layout etc. in order to communicate an essential content. In this way, the module will develop students’ familiarity with combined text and image-based work to a high standard
Globalisation, Media and Sustainability
‘Globalisation’ is a fundamentally important term in understanding the processes of cultural, political and social change in the modern world and sustainability is one of the most important considerations at the moment. The role of the media in reacting to these processes through representation and articulation, and also in contributing to these changes, is inescapable. The aims of this module are to introduce students to the key theoretical debates and ideas which surround the contested notions of ‘Sustainability’ and ‘globalisation’ and to examine the ways in which globalisation has been articulated and understood through media representation. The module will also examine the role of the media in reflecting and reacting to the processes of globalisation and its role in affecting emergent, resistant and dominant cultures
The module will examine some of the different processes required to produce a professional portfolio in the context of practical and vocational activities. The module aims to offer students the opportunity to engage with a more vocational element in the media and cultural context of their degree. Students will work in groups to produce a portfolio which requires them to consider, amongst other things, marketing, advertising, business cases, product development and effective communication of ideas. The rationale underpinning this module is that key skills gained in theoretical modules can be utilised in a productive and practical manner for a ‘real world’ environment which encourages students to explore their entrepreneurial potential. This module builds upon the theoretical and analytical material delivered in other modules at Levels 1 & 2 and transfers those skills to a practical context in an attempt to foster enterprise.
The module aims to develop discussions concerning independent cinema in a range of contexts (e.g. historical, social, national and international). Examine independent cinema as a counter-hegemonic voice to ‘mainstream’ studio production. Investigate key theories relating to independent cinema and its related cultural significance (such as auterism, activism, mode of production etc). Explore the wider cultural currency of independent cinema in relation to for instance, the festival circuit, film preservation and cult cinema.
Film and the American imagination
This module is designed to facilitate student exploration into some of the diverse notions of American culture and identity. Students will examine the ways in which America has imagined itself through film and consider the contextual frameworks to identify historical patterns and continuities. The module explores the ways in which American myths and ideologies have been central to attempts to define the national imagination. Looking at particular film examples, the module will enable you to trace shifts in the cultural meanings, narratives, and symbols that inform American national identity in historically specific contexts.
Gothic and Horror
The aim of this Level 2 module is to develop students’ understanding of the ‘Gothic’ as a mode of representation; to increase students’ awareness of interdisciplinary approaches in film, art and literature; to foster skills of analysis and interpretation, and to provide opportunities for the use of open learning techniques such as worksheets, booklets, and web-based resources.
The purpose of this module is to explore the significance of various European cinemas within the fields of cultural production and to appreciate the histories and evolutions of these national cinemas as indicators of cultural change. The module also seeks to understand the possibilities for social, political and cultural exploration or critique offered through the study of European cinemas and to encourage an understanding of film within the context of counter-cultural production, innovation, reception and distribution. This includes investigations into key theories relating to European cinema and its related cultural significance (such as auterism, activism, mode of production etc).
Imaginary Worlds: Researching Science Fiction
The aim of this module is to enable students to improve and develop research skills in preparation for the independent research project that forms part of the final year of undergraduate study. The focus of the taught element of the module will be upon selected science fictional texts as well as related secondary texts – theoretical, philosophical, inter-textual and historical. Students are introduced to a single genre in order to provide a material basis for the process of research: within the course they will make choices about combinations of primary texts, relevant secondary sources, and the structure and layout of a ‘mock’ dissertation in preparation for the long project they will undertake in Level 3. The module will review and emphasise key composition skills, providing a focus on argument, structure and academic referencing.
The module provides an advanced understanding of the ways in which new and emergent media, communications and other technologies shape our ways of living, acting and understanding the world and our place in it. Students will build upon work undertaken in other modules which will enable a richer and more productive understanding into the development of various technologies and our relationship with them as well as recognising the profound global inequalities in the availability and importance of these. By considering the history of communications, media and other technologies students will be better able to appreciate how these affect, contribute to and challenge our notions of human philosophy, ethics, morals and meaning as well as how developments in convergent technology might influence aesthetic activity in its production, consumption and cultural value. Students will be encouraged to consider how the history of predictions into technological development as well as the complicated and seemingly chaotic nature of scientific and technological progress itself might provide insight into future directions for media and other technologies, and students will be invited to consider how new and emergent technologies might determine directions, frameworks and approaches to our cultural, political, scientific and social futures. The module aims to provide a cutting-edge platform for the consideration of new technologies and the thinking which will inform it and be informed by it.
The module aims to explore and develop the concepts and issues of globalisation, localisation, regionalism and national identity in relation to city cultures. The module will draw upon the media and cultural studies area of ‘urban studies’ in order to consider the representations, symbolic and social structures, development, uses and experiences of the modern and contemporary city. Students will be required to engage in experiential exploration of contemporary cities and identify their historical traces. Alongside this, students will consider technological advances and futuristic narratives of the city. The aim of the module is to consider the mediated aspects of the urban environment in relation to our lived experience of the physical space.
Special Study, Dissertation
This Level 3, 40 credit weighted module aims to encourage students to become independent learners through an extended piece of work which should demonstrate the ability to offer a sustained critical and analytical examination of a student’s chosen, relevant topic and a similar engagement with the literature available on their chosen topic. This double module offers the student the opportunity to integrate and develop aspects of the taught components of their programme and to provide a context for the selection, application and exploration of relevant analytical techniques.
The module aims to explore and critically analyse different forms of animated film and video games. As such the module will provide students with an overview of different visual styles (languages) of animation and genres within animated film and gaming. The module will also consider the production, distribution and consumption of animated films and video games in contemporary culture. To do so, the module considers animation and film production in relation to large-scale media companies such as Disney, smaller independent companies as well as participatory cultures and the growth of user-generated content. The module will also provide insight into the connections between language, culture and identity. By doing so, the module aims to stimulate debates surrounding realism, hybridity and ideology in relation to animated film and gaming. Students will also critically analyse the fandom in relation to animation and video gaming.
Documentary Film Studies
This module aims to deepen Level 3 Film Studies students’ understanding of the history, theory and practice of documentary film. The module will examine the historical circumstances and the technical developments as well as the cultural contexts which have informed the production and consumption of documentary film.
This Level 3 module aims to introduce students to important developments in cinema understood as a transnational cultural form. It considers how transnational film articulates themes and experiences of displacement, nomadism, cosmopolitanism, border-crossing, homelessness, diaspora, and hybridity. Students will examine some of the ways in which challenges to the category of national cinema stem from the work of diasporic and cosmopolitan filmmakers. This module will also explore how transnational cinema – both as a cultural form and a mode of production – problematizes dichotomous us/them narratives in conditions of heightened global connectivity.
Gender and Sexualities
On this module students explore debates in gender studies with particular relevance to the production and reception of art forms which deal with gender and sexualities. Students are given the opportunity to read theoretical material and to apply it to a variety of art forms. These might include films, tv, graphic novels, music, novels and popular fiction. The module explores how different gender roles and sexual identities are represented in popular culture, as well as the way in which specific social groups use art forms to transgress or disrupt normative gender expectations.