Filmmaking BA

Media Production and Filmmaking

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
P313
Start date:
September 2017

At Sussex, you’re taught by media/film producers and film scholars who help you develop both critical and practical skills around filmmaking.

You'll learn to produce both documentary and fiction films and develop a range of skills in producing, directing, cinematography, editing and sound. You'll also gain a critical understanding of film history and film theory.

And with 24/7 access to specialist facilities – including a news room, edit suites and a sound-proofed studio – you can access the equipment you need whenever suits you.

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

GCSEs

You will also need GCSE (or equivalent) in English at grade C (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

The Access to HE Diploma should be in the humanities or social sciences.

GCSEs

You will also need GCSE (or equivalent) in English at grade C (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

Advanced Diploma

Typical offer

Pass with at least grade B in the Diploma and A in the Additional and Specialist Learning

Subjects

The Additional and Specialist Learning must be an A-level (ideally in a humanities or social science subject).

GCSEs

You will also need GCSE (or equivalent) in English at grade C (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma

Typical offer

DDD-DDM

GCSEs

You will also need GCSE (or equivalent) in English at grade C (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

34 points overall.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

GCSEs

You will also need GCSE (or equivalent) in English at grade C (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

34 points overall.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually don’t accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses.

However, we do accept one of the following qualifications for our International Foundation Years:  

  • Senior High 2 at an average grade of 75% with a minimum of five academic subjects including key subjects
  • Senior High 3 at an average of 70% or above in a minimum of four academic subjects including key subjects.

If you successfully complete the International Foundation Year you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. 

Check which qualifications we accept for the International Foundation Year.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.0.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at AABBBB.

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole - Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language. 

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

 

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% or Grade 3

 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

InterviewNo
Transfers into Year 2

No

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • Communication and Media Studies at Sussex is ranked in the top 15 in the UK (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018).
  • Brighton is one of the UK’s fastest growing hubs for digital and creative media – perfect for work experience and career opportunities.
  • Our course combines theory and practice equally so you become a critically informed practitioner who can work across a range of disciplines.

Course information

How will I study?

You develop core skills in film practice and are introduced to key approaches in film theory. You experiment with scriptwriting, preparing and shooting material for both documentary and screen drama formats. 

Modules

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

How will I study?

You develop advanced skills in screen-based media production. Working in screen drama or documentary, you continue to enhance your practice skills while taking options – from media and film theory to analysis – to suit your interests.

Modules

Options


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

Placement (optional)

A placement is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you’ll benefit from having the experience employers are looking for. Find out more about placements and internships.

Please note

If you’re receiving – or applying for – USA federal Direct Loan funds, you can’t transfer to the version of this program with an optional study abroad period in any country or optional placement in the USA. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

“I was a BBC documentary-maker, so I’m frequently involved in making programmes about the things on which I research and teach.” Professor David HendyProfessor of Media and Communications

Fees

UK/EU students:
£9,250 per year
Channel Islands and Isle of Man students:
£9,250 per year
International students:
£18,750 per year
Study abroad:
Find out about grants and funding, tuition fees and insurance costs for studying abroad
Placement:
Find out about tuition fees for placements

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Our focus is personal development and social mobility. To help you meet your ambitions to study at Sussex, we deliver one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Recent Media and Film graduates have started jobs as:

  • assistant director, Torne Films
  • film publicist, Way To Blue
  • executive producer, UniTV.

(Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

At Sussex, you’re given the chance to develop real-world skills outside the classroom. You can write for our student newspaper, or present a feature on our television channel or radio station.

You’ll learn how to use industry-standard software and equipment, and develop skills in video editing, photographic manipulation, digital design, animation and sound. You also build up a portfolio of work to show potential employers.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Creative Film Production: Screenwriting

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module develops your understanding of the art and craft of screenwriting. 

Your group will undertake a thorough investigation of plot structure, and develop a sophisticated understanding of character development and theme. You also consider other screenwriting concepts including subtext, scene design and cinematic juxtaposition. 

The practical dimension of the module involves you writing a script for an 8-10 minute short film. Through guided writing exercises and viewings, you will work through a script development process that guides you from initial conception to the completion of a fully revised draft.

Creative Production: Documentary Video

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to narrative using the moving image and encourages you to reflect critically on issues of form and representation in relation to your own work. You will learn key processes and techniques involved in video production: research, scripting, camera, sound and editing. You will work in a team to complete set exercises both in and out of class and produce a video project to a set brief.

Film Analysis: Hollywood Narrative and Style

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module explores the diverse ways that filmmakers use key techniques of cinematic expression, such as narrative, cinematography, mise-en-scene, editing, sound, performance and special effects.

You explore how such techniques are accomplished (i.e. the creative choices available to filmmakers) but also the potential they have for generating meaning and pleasure when combined together to produce filmic texts.

The module is based around a series of reading assignments, which will be discussed in seminars along with the week's set film and extracts from other films. In particular, we examine one of the most influential and most pervasive models of cinema: the classical narrative film produced during the era of the Hollywood studio system (from approximately 1915 to 1960).

You will consider several films from this era, as well as films produced subsequently, in the light of influential propositions by David Bordwell and other film scholars regarding the systematic organisation of stylistic and narrative norms within classical Hollywood storytelling.

Creative Film Production: Screen Drama

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Creative Film Production
In each of these courses listed below you will do one of four areas: screen drama, sound design, screenwriting and documentary video. You are introduced to basic technical skills, software manipulation and aesthetic practices associated with each area. You will conceive, research, develop and produce a small film-related project as directed by a tutor. This project is an initial foray into a filmmaking mode or focus, which you will have opportunity to explore further at level 2.

Screen Drama:
This course introduces you to narrative using the moving image. It encourages you to reflect critically on issues of form and representation in relation to your own work. You learn key processes and techniques involved in film production: 

  • research
  • scripting
  • camera
  • sound
  • editing. 

You will work in a team to complete exercises in and out of class, and produce a completed film project to a set brief.

Issues in Global Cinema B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Popular Music Cultures

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module will provide you with an introduction to the critical discourses regarding jazz and popular music. This module will broaden your historical awareness and critical understanding of different traditions in jazz and popular music, although it is not designed to be a historical overview.

Likewise, while some technical understanding is required, the primary focus is not on minute analytical distinctions between different styles or practical instruction in song-writing, production or performance. Rather, we will concentrate on the social and cultural functions and meanings of the popular music cultures studied and the reasons why they exert such a powerful hold on audiences and practitioners alike.

Every week we will focus on a critical issue that has been central in discussions about popular and jazz music. Deliberately, these issues transcend the boundaries of style (or 'genre') and historical period. Thus, rather than honing in on the minutiae of individual styles, we will seek to contextualise them more broadly and see what, perhaps surprisingly, they have in common and what historical lineages connect them. It is the intention that this wider awareness of historical, social and cultural contexts will also enable those of you who are musicians to reflect more critically on their own artistic practice, thus enriching their work.

Creative Production: Communication Design

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to using desktop publishing and interactive media applications whilst also encouraging critical reflection on issues of form and representation in relation to the work they produce. You will learn key processes and techniques involved in the production of digital media:

  • research
  • development
  • image editing
  • composition and manipulation
  • information and communication
  • layout design and presentation.

You will work individually to realise set exercises in and out of class and produce a completed set of digital artefacts to a project brief.

Creative Production: Documentary Video

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to narrative using the moving image and encourages you to reflect critically on issues of form and representation in relation to your own work. You will learn key processes and techniques involved in video production: research, scripting, camera, sound and editing. You will work in a team to complete set exercises both in and out of class and produce a video project to a set brief.

Creative Production: Photography

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Please note: space on Media Practice modules is very limited. Only students for whom a practice module is a requirement of their home institution's programme will be considered for a place on these modules, and only then if places are available.

This module introduces you to using the still image and encourages you to reflect critically on issues of form and representation in relation to your own work. You will learn key processes and techniques involved in digital imaging: research, composition, exposure, editing. You will work individually to on set exercises in and out of class and produce a completed series of images to a set brief.

Creative Production: Sound Design

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to sound production and will encourage you to reflect critically on issues of form and representation in relation to your and others' work. You will learn key processes and techniques involved in sound design, such as research, acoustics, voice recording and editing. You will undertake exercises in and out of class, and produce a completed sound design piece to a set brief.

Culture and the Everyday

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Explore 'doing culture' in everyday life.

If the 'everyday' refers to the mundane, the unremarkable – to the forms of life routinely taken for granted – it is also through the practices of everyday life that we experience who we are, how our lives are invested with meanings, and how we engage with change.

In the modern world (especially in the developed north), it's difficult to think about cultures of everyday life without also considering the media and its contribution to the structuring of daily life, its varied use in daily life, and its discursive construction and engagement with aspects of everyday life. We introduce you to critical approaches to everyday life, including those engaging with media, before concentrating on a series of case studies.

Topics are likely to be organised around 'embodiment' and 'mobility' and could include getting dressed, meal times, time for love, driving and shopping. We provide historical and cross-cultural material and encourage study of other cultures. You'll also have the opportunity to reflect on your own experiences.

Working with Film

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module is designed to help you to develop your study skills in preparation for working with film in more advanced ways in years 2 and 3 of your degree. The skills we will work on in particular include those of detailed, scholarly, film analysis and interpretation, critically, historically and theoretically informed film studies research, and multimedia forms of academic presentation and writing.

By focusing on a single set film [in 2012-13, this is intended to be Los olvidados/The Young and the Damned (Luis Bunuel, Mexico, 1950)], the module will offer the space and guidance to enable you to develop your own critical case study. Weekly lectures will introduce you to the film, its production and reception contexts, as well as to a wide range of potentially relevant issues to consider when establishing how you will go on to work with it. The lectures will also introduce you to a range of film studies skills and methods, including ways of conducting and presenting film research afforded by multimedia technology. In seminars you will analyse the set film, and its possible connections with other films, and explore your ideas and research methods under the close supervision of a tutor, as well as present your work in progress.

American Cinema B

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

An awareness of how Hollywood cinema was shaped, how it acquired its position of dominance, and the forms and aesthetic conventions that characterise it, is essential to an understanding of cinema more generally. Accordingly, this module will focus on the formation of Hollywood in the 1910s through to the post-World War 2 era, with particular emphasis placed on the development of the 'studio system' and Hollywood's 'golden age' of the 1920s to 1950. You will view a range of representative Hollywood films made during the period and analyse them in relation to the industry and its practices. You will also situate Hollywood cinema within the political and social life of the United States in the period.

Creative Media: Animation 1

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module builds on the practical and conceptual skills acquired in the first year. It allows you to focus on the creation of an animation. You will also expand your knowledge of the theories and practices employed when using digital media to develop animations.

Creative Media: Documentary Video

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module builds on the practical and conceptual skills acquired in the first year. You will create your own video, while continuing to expand your knowledge of the concepts and approaches common to documentary film forms.

From Opera to Film

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module is split into two five-week units and will examine the history of musical narrative from classical opera to film music. Its focus will be the audio-visual study of musical 'texts', uncovering the technical means by which music creates metaphors of linear plot and development. The module concentrates on opera and film, although it also considers some more abstract instrumental music, such as the symphonic poem.

The work of Richard Strauss, for example, occupies a space between the language of late romantic opera and 20th century film music, made more explicit in the work of Eric Korngold, whose operas lead directly into his film scores of the 1930s and 1940s.

You will also consider post-war scores in which the role of music is more complex than the mere ghosting of visual action. The 'psychological' music motifs in Hermann's scores for Hitchcock's Psycho and Vertigo are cases in point; these works have operatic links, with the 'irrational' music of Schoenberg's Erwartung and Berg's Lulu. Essays are balanced with regular aural analysis training in opera and film music. No prior technical knowledge of music is needed to study this module, nor an ability to read music; the objects of study are audio-visual, not written scores.

Media, Memory, History

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module examines the relationship between history, memory and media. Its starting points are; (i) The media are historical artifacts, forged and developed in historical contexts that they also influence. (ii) Access to history is mediated through various technical and cultural systems e.g. television, print, and networked and mobile media. Media systems capture, store, and re-disseminate material that may be returned to us as collective or individual memories for instance through family photographs, or through the annual collective commemoration of official memorial days. The relationship between history and memory is thus bound up with how media systems become embedded cultures. (iii) New media in particular, produce new kinds of artificial memory and thus may intervene in new ways in the making of history.

The module will address some of the questions arising around media, history and memory through sessions including explorations of prosthetic memory, war memories and memorials, the history of the invention of the media, memory damage and the politics of omission, family histories and migration patterns as photographic record, race and mediated memory, and questions of the convergence of the archive and the network which mean media records of events are simultaneously stored and represented.

Professional Practice

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module is organised around a work placement in the creative sector. The placement will normally be arranged by yourself and will usually be approximately 20 hours in duration. The aim is to use the experience as an opportunity to develop and reflect upon your personal and social skills in the work place; the demands of time management; technical, organisational and/or creative achievement as appropriate.

The module will enable you to compile necessary documentation in relation to work, such as a portfolio containing CVs and development plans, as well as help you to assess your skills and perform SWOT analyses and a Key Skills Audit.

On this module you will also be encouraged to reflect upon your work experience through an online journal and a synthesis paper which will draw both on the 'hands on' knowledge gained during the placement and, where appropriate, your academic study.

Screenwriting

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module develops your understanding of the art and craft of screenwriting.

Your group will undertake a thorough investigation of plot structure, and develop a sophisticated understanding of character development and theme. You also consider other screenwriting concepts including subtext, scene design and cinematic juxtaposition.

The practical dimension of the module involves you writing a script for an 8-10 minute short film. Through guided writing exercises and viewings, you will work through a script development process that guides you from initial conception to the completion of a fully revised draft.

Sound, Culture & Society B

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module introduces you to the role of sound in human culture and society. It seeks to foster an understanding of aurality in the past and present and the relationship of sound to various modern media. It provides you with interests in film, television, radio, music and journalism with a solid and wide-ranging introduction of the main historical, theoretical and practical thinking around the subject of sound. It encompasses music and speech but places them in the context of sound and listening more broadly. The approach is global and interdisciplinary combining historical perspectives with textual analysis of contemporary films, programmes and soundscapes with emerging work on auditory cultures and online media in both 'Western' and 'non-Western' parts of the world.

Subjects covered would include:

  • Hearing and the senses (including perception, mood, and memory)
  • The concept and history of the 'soundscape'
  • Sound before and after modernity (including the concept of 'oral culture', the role of sound in political and social struggles through history, the electrification and recording of sound)
  • Sound and ethnography (eg sound in everyday life in varous cultures)
  • The voice (including styles of speech and the ways in which 'personality' is supposedly revealed through voice and gender)
  • Cinema and sound (including film sound design in the past and present)
  • Music and new media (including new forms of music production and reception, and the production of taste).

You will also be introduced to some of the key terms and concepts used in analysing sound, both in the study of soundscapes and in the study of soundtracks.

Theory Taste and Trash B

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module aims to introduce students to two related issues, namely:
a) a historically-rooted account of how the study of popular culture came to be established in British higher education and of some of the key theoretical approaches that helped to shape those studies
b) an exploration of how the bringing together of popular culture and ‘the academy’ has and continues to pose intriguing problems around hierarchies of taste, questions of value, and definitions of educational worth.

A series of lectures will offer students both a historical overview of those issues and an introduction to the influence of key writers, theorists and approaches, while the module seminars would help students to engage with particularly significant and talismanic texts (from writers such as Hall, Bourdieu and Bakhtin) in the field and also to test out the interpretive frameworks they offer by undertaking some case study analyses of contemporary popular cultural texts and practices (in fields such as television, popular music, the leisure industries and youth culture).

Advertising and Social Change B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module engages with the historical development of advertising and opens up a critical understanding of its contemporary place within media economies, culture and society. In the 21st century, advertising has been transformed by the rise of branding, the maturing of the internet and the emergence of new media forms like social media. Traditional advertising forms and the funding model for media which advertising has provided are under threat.

It asks questions about advertising in relation to (social) change, considering whether it is quite the conservative force it is sometimes believed to be reproducing 'dominant ideologies', trading in 'stereotypes', blocking or hiding change, and whether it is perhaps scapegoated when blamed for causing undesirable social changes, such as obesity. To think of advertising in another way, we explore how advertising as an institution and commercial tool is tied into the dynamics of capitalist modernity so that it also trades in the 'new': forever trying to capture the 'mood' of the moment or articulate the current 'state of play'. We consider how some scholars argue that advertising can be therapeutic, managing change and resolving the tensions of modern life rather than simply inciting anxieties for which capitalism has the remedy: go shopping.

We also explore the contradictions of advertising, as both commercial tool for capitalism helping to sustain consumer expansion and a cultural communicative artefact, offering pleasures and irritations, provoking memories, constructing multiple identities and like other cultural output contributing to how we feel, think, talk and culturally connect and disconnect from others.

Through lectures and seminars, group work and independent study, the module engages with these questions and issues through the study of historical and contemporary ad examples, scrutinising both commercial ads and those geared to social marketing, eg. charity ads. It equips you with the tools of analysis to engage with the 'work' of ad campaigns and the broader phenomenon of branding and promotion. But it also provides you with knowledge of the ad industry and the work that ad agencies do. Through engagement with a wide scholarship, you will be introduced to theorisations which give you ways to understand why and how advertising has changed and how it can be thought about in relation to broader developments in society.

American Popular Music

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines the historical, social and cultural contexts of American popular music, focussing predominantly on the USA. Emphasis is placed on popular genres and styles of the twentieth century, the period in which the USA took on a dominant role in the creation and spread of popular culture across the globe.

As well as charting this growth in dominance, the module analyses popular music as representative ‘people’s music’. Genres and styles – including the blues, jazz, country, soul, funk, punk, disco, hip hop and grunge – are used to read aspects of change and continuity in the American twentieth century. Rather than providing a simple chronological history of musical styles in the USA, the module uses the music to examine concepts of race, place, tradition, commerce and authenticity. The music industry is analysed in terms of American business models, and recording and revival are explored as ways of thinking about representation, commercialization and exceptionalism.

Vital socio-historical moments, such as the emergence of rock and roll and the use of music in the civil rights era, are studied alongside the ‘invention’ of the teenager and the rise of a counterculture. The module concludes with a series of reflections on the various soundscapes associated with America and with the notion of multiple Americas audible through the myriad of non-Anglophone genres that exist within North America.

British Cinema B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module begins by examining critical approaches to a history of British cinema and the dominant ways this cinema and its characteristics have been understood. We then examine British cinema from the 1920s to the contemporary era beginning with the factors which shaped it, in particular the debates about the social and cultural importance of a specific British cinema against the background of the massive influence of Hollywood, and the representations of ‘Britishness’ this produced. The later weeks of the module examine in more detail British cinema’s attempts to deal with the various forms of ‘otherness’, which it has sought both to define and to contain in the changing cultural and political climate of the post-war years and with the different ‘British cinemas’ this produced.

Chinese Cinema B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module looks at Chinese-language film from the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan and beyond. Since 1949, China has been divided between two competing centres of ideological and cultural legitimation: the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of China on Taiwan. This division, combined with the influence of Hong Kong and diaspora cultural production, means that Chinese-language cinema is an excellent case study through which to explore the limits of the ‘national cinema’ model of Film Studies.

This module does so by considering how Chinese cinemas have responded to social, political and industrial change across and between their three key sites of production, in ways that both intersect with, and often complicate, the concerns of ‘national cinema’ studies. A variety of material will be covered, both historical and contemporary, potentially touching on issues of representation, genre, form and style, and industrial and policy challenges.

Creative Media: Documentary Video

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module builds on the practical and conceptual skills acquired in the first year. It enables you to create a video, while continuing to expand your knowledge of the concepts and approaches common to documentary film forms.

Debates in Screen Documentary B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will introduce you to the major debates in documentary film studies, a burgeoning field within the discipline of film studies. The documentary is notoriously difficult to categorize or define, but John Grierson’s provisional definition as ‘the creative treatment of actuality’ is as good a place as any to start the investigation of this shapeshifting form.

Gaining in popularity and expanding in form well beyond its traditional televisual format, documentary studies has become an exciting area of research with a literature that is expanding exponentially. A survey of the field will include (but is not limited to) interrogations into questions of:

  • representation of reality
  • documentary authorship
  • objectivity and subjectivity
  • the essayistic and experimental modes
  • other key themes.

Movements and trends in documentary will be covered including a range of practices that have spurred heated debate, such as the mockumentary, the interactive documentary, and the incursion of documentary into the art world. Case studies from international documentary will be integrated into the module, depending on the specialism of the convenor.

Digital Cultures B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines interactive leisure forms and practices based on digital technologies. It understands digital media as a significant and expanding new media formation; one that is transforming both the content and economics of the culture industries. The module will consider the cultural, political and social implications of new forms of interactive media designed for leisure and entertainment. Areas covered will include computer gaming, networked new media such as networked games, networked social spaces, pornography and other on-line entertainment. In addition the module will consider new forms of convergence between previously discrete media forms - for instance Net-TV collaboration and net-served films.

Film Music after 1950

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines issues relating to how music is used on stage and screen and other theatre environments. It complements material studied in the autumn term ‘Music, Stage and Screen 1’ in such a way that the module is free-standing. (MSS1 is not a pre-requisite to MSS2). The module is divided into 2 Units.

  1. Opera on Stage after WW2
  2. Film Music: Beyond the Hollywood Model
Unit 1 : Opera on Stage after WW2

This unit looks at one aspect of music for the stage in a particular context – opera as theatre in Europe from 1945 to 2000. This focuses on the dynamic northern European opera scene, and the German-speaking world in particular, through the remarkable reconstruction of opera after the European cataclysm of the war, through some of its creative practice on stage.
Firstly, it looks at the immediate post-WW2 scene, to consider how key interpretive artists (stage directors and designers) brought new perception and new readings of existing canonical work to mainstream opera platforms. Secondly, it reviews some creative responses by post-war composers across Europe to the same context. It also considers a small sample of avant-garde opera and looks briefly at some instances of translation of opera into another key medium during this period, such as Felsenstein's/Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann; and Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's/Wagner's Parsifal.

Unit 2 Film Music: Beyond the Hollywood Model

The second unit in this module explores alternative and non-narrative solutions developed in examples taken from European and contemporary cinema. The module examines how the music relates to the visual action and what this conveys about the works' cultural, gender and socio-historical identities. We round off the unit by looking at Lost Highway, a film by David Lynch, which was made into an opera by composer Olga Neuwirth, allowing us to reconsider the relationship between film and opera. In this regard we will also briefly examine the phenomenon of using video in live multi-media stage productions.

Issues which will be touched upon regarding different roles of music in screen media will include:

  • the fragmentation/(de)construction of narrative and identity in contemporary forms
  • the creation of meaning using expressive materials involving sound and sight
  • different interpretations of the 'real'
  • issues to do with 'live' performance and different interpretations of what is 'live'.

French Cinema B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module provides a historical, critical, and theoretical survey of developments in French cinema. It focuses on key historical issues (aesthetic, social, political) that have shaped French cinema over the last century, examining the intersections of film with French politics, culture and identities. A range of directors (possible examples: Godard, Franju, Denis) and types of film (popular genres, art cinema, avant-garde) will be studied, with films ranging from the 1920s to the present day. The module will combine close attention to textual analysis with contextual study of the period in which films were produced, and with comparative readings of critical approaches to films.

Gender, Space and Culture

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Why is space important to our understanding of communication? How do subjects travel through space in order to construct narratives of identity? How are spaces moralised, sexed and gendered? How do they accrue significance or symbolism?

In the last decade there has been a convergence across many academic disciplines to comprehend spatiality. Social spaces are never empty or static, they are full of the shifting dynamics of power and politics. On this module you will study to what extent gender is articulated in public and private spaces, so that they may be considered to be predominantly feminine, masculine, queer or transgendered. You will also examine how spaces and places are dynamic, unstable and mutable in relation to competing social differences. We will look at a variety of sites of the everyday, from the domestic to the visual, from bodies to landscape and virtual realities using key theoretical concepts such as 'performativity', 'representation' and 'transectionality' to interpret how our culture is thoroughly imbued with gendered and spatialized assumptions.

Topics may include: thinking about gendered journeys such as package holidays or migration; the boundaries and borders of the self; the national and the global; social inclusion and exclusion; and representations of the feminized underclass, or the masculinized professional. We will also consider queer cultural geographies as represented in films; 'freaky bodies' and transexuality online; and the spatial politics of protest on the streets and in the home.

Industry Projects

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module is organised around a live industry project working with partners in the creative sector. The project will normally be a live project with a brief set by the partner/client. The aim is to use the experience from previous placements as an opportunity to develop work of a professional standard in a working environment with real clients. 

The module will enable you to further develop your team-working skills as well as your written and verbal communication skills. On this module you will also be required to reflect upon your work experience through an online journal and a reflective statement.

Journalism in Crisis B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module offers a diversity of approaches for studying journalists and journalism around the world, and charts the opportunities, challenges and crises facing journalism in an increasingly global field.

The module examines the impact of developments in journalism that have resulted in it becoming an international phenomenon operating in global networks as opposed to within national or cultural borders. It looks at journalism in crisis (as a practice) and journalism as it responds to and communicates crises in the world. It explores the blurring between entertainment and news, as well as the formerly clear division between journalism, public relations and business communication. The module draws on specific examples of global media events to examine these issues and enables you to creatively and critically explore the challenges of consuming and producing globalised stories.

Screenwriting

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module develops your understanding of the art and craft of screenwriting. 

Your group will undertake a thorough investigation of plot structure, and develop a sophisticated understanding of character development and theme. You also consider other screenwriting concepts including subtext, scene design and cinematic juxtaposition. 

The practical dimension of the module involves you writing a script for an 8-10 minute short film. Through guided writing exercises and viewings, you will work through a script development process that guides you from initial conception to the completion of a fully revised draft.

Sound Design in Context

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

You engage with the fundamental principles of sound creation and manipulation. You do this through exploration of sound design practices in a range of contexts including game sound, virtual reality and other interactive media, film, TV, radio, theatre, and live sound applications. 

By examining the work of influential sound design practitioners we support you in practical exploration of sound design methodologies and techniques. This includes:

  • field recording
  • synthesis
  • multichannel spacialisation
  • Foley
  • the manipulation of sound recordings using DAWs and analogue recording devices to achieve a desired aesthetic.

TV: Fictions and Entertainments B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module focuses on the textual and contextual study of television's key fiction and entertainment genres - soap operas, sitcoms and other styles of comedy, game shows, lifestyle television, daytime television, and music television among others. You will be encouraged to explore the defining generic characteristics of these televisual categories, their representational strategies, their ideological implications, their particular pleasures and their relationship with audiences. The primary focus will be on British television, although material from other broadcasting contexts will be used where appropriate for comparative purposes. Most of the primary material will be drawn from current or recent TV, but students will also be required to investigate the history of popular TV genres to understand their evolution over time.

Project Development

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module extends the ideas explored during the first two years of your degree. Having chosen a practice medium on which to focus at the onset of this course, you will engage in the design, research and development for a substantial practice project. The module provides you with master classes from professionals and faculty in the practice field, offers supervision in designing and researching a project, as well as production tutor support in tackling technical and production issues. This practice work will be supported by relevant readings in media theory, aesthetics and production techniques which will be discussed in workshops. The project will be developed further and brought to fruition in the spring/summer module Advanced Media Project.

Final Creative Project

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module is made up of two parts: the execution of an advanced media project and supporting master classes. It offers you the opportunity to conceive and execute a media project in the medium of your choice: documentary, screen drama, digital media or photography. This final project should be seen as part of a portfolio of practice-based work produced during your degree. Except for supporting tutorials, production groups will work independently to realize their project. In order to enhance the quality of the media projects a variety of master classes will be offered. The subject of these master classes will relate to the kinds of media projects you have chosen to produce.

Consuming Passions

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores consumption practices within specific social, cultural and historical contexts. It will build upon other modules you have undertaken throughout your degree and enable you to draw interim conclusions to processes through which people make sense of objects – and other culturally significant things – and how they are appropriated into everyday life. It also explores consumption as a basic human activity through which people engage with and understand their position in the world. It will locate social, historical and culturally specific consumption practices within wider processes of identity-creation and differentiation. Finally, consumption will be discussed in the context of the development of 'consumer cultures' and globalisation.

'Consuming Passions' will take a dynamic and deliberately interdisciplinary approach to a number of key concepts central to the study of 'culture'. It will draw upon and critically examine the variety of ways in which cultural and sub-cultural groups acquire, interpret, use and develop such things as film, music, food, sexuality, fashion, literature and art, and include the study of material and visual cultures.

The weekly topics are related and have been chosen deliberately to interact with one another in intriguing and unexpected ways. You are strongly encouraged to make original and imaginative leaps and connections during seminar discussions and in both your coursework and your extended essays, in which you may also re-examine, in greater depth, some of the topics you may have encountered in earlier modules.

Documentary, Reality TV and 'Real Lives'

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

During this documentary module you'll analyse documentary production in its historical and cultural context and focuses on new developments in documentary production, reality TV formats, feature documentary and alternative documentary production. In addition we'll address emerging documentary production in the developing world.

The module covers foundational thinking in documentary; theorisations of different modes of documentary; reality TV; debates over documentary's truth claims; the boundary between documentary and fiction; dramatisation and reconstructions; and international independent documentary production.

Hollywood Industry and Imaginary

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module examines one of the world's most commercially and culturally significant media institutions. It addresses Hollywood as a set of interconnected practices, industrial and symbolic.

 The module develops points of contact between two ways of envisaging films – as commodities within a moving image economy, and as symbolic forms – by situating film texts in historical contexts. It focuses in particular on the period from the late 1960s to the present day.

 As this is a final year module, you will draw on the range of methods, skills and approaches that you have encountered in your earlier work.

 You will also develop an account of the political economy of Hollywood. You look for ways of understanding why and how films are produced, and how these commercial imperatives shape the form and nature of Hollywood movies. Hollywood will be examined as a system of publicity encompassing marketing procedures, journalistic commentary, etc. 

Of course, you’ll also look at the films themselves. Their narrative structures, systems of representation, cinematographic properties, thematic concerns and the pleasures they offer – all in the specific historical and institutional contexts of the 'heavy industry of dreams’.

Media, War and Terrorism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores in depth the complex role of modern media in the conduct and public understanding of contemporary war and conflict. It seeks to foster an understanding of the methods used by militaries, journalists and film makers and in the shaping of discourses around war and conflict in both the past and present.

It will provide you with interests in film, television and journalism with an indepth overview of the main historical and theoretical thinking around the subject of war and media. The approach is global and interdisciplinary, combining historical perspectives with textual analysis of contemporary media including news, documentary, film and emerging online media in both ‘Western’ and non-Western parts of the world.

Subjects covered might include:

  • an analysis of the key theoretical perspectives through which the relationship between media and war can be examined
  • the history, development and debates around military-media management strategies (for example, official and un-official censorship, access clauses, embedding, public relations and strategic communications) through which the military attempt to manage (predominantly mainstream) media coverage of their activities
  • an critical exploration of the ways militaries utilise their own media in the conduct and strategizing of contemporary war and conflict where media (leaflets, radio, social media) is integrated into battlefield strategy, particularly in counter-insurgency warfare. These strategies might include, for example, psychological operations; influencing activities, target audience analysis
  • current debates around war (and peace) journalism as a distinct practice (including war journalism and objectivity, peace journalism)
  • current theoretical and political understandings of the cumulative effects of military management and journalistic practice on the conduct of war and conflict (including the debates around the CNN effect, media and conflict generation, mediatisation)
  • the role of media actors (war correspondents and film makers in particular) in representing war and implications for public understandings
  • war, media and memory including ongoing debates and theorization of the relationship between media, memory and history in specific relation to war and conflict.

Science and the Media

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Scientific controversy makes for a good story but it is also an important site of enquiry for media and science students. From human cloning to the internet, science and technology make up a central aspect of the form and content of the contemporary media. Science communication, public engagement with science, and scientific imaginaries, are key components of both factual and fictional genres from the press and the cinema, to the arts and science policy. Understanding the media as a central feature of contemporary science and techno cultures, and science and technology as central to media cultures, equips successful students with the ability to evaluate some of the key contemporary issues in society.

Using historical and contemporary case studies such as nuclear energy and biotechnology, the module might include any of the following issues:

  • fact and fraud
  • hypes and hopes
  • media publics and science
  • science and art
  • science communication and public engagement with science
  • relationships between science practice and science fiction
  • cultures of news production and science reporting
  • science as culture

The module considers the relationship between scientific cultures and key institutions in the UK and globally. These include (for example) Hollywood, the Wellcome Trust and the Science Media Centre. The role of science fiction and feminist interventions in science and technology studies also provide cross cutting aspects of the course.

The Film Festival Circuit

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Theorising Media Practice

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

With a view to helping you refine your skills in presenting your own creative media projects to galleries, festivals, competitions and in shows, interviews and graduate applications, we will engage with three substantial critical discourses in the context of creative media practice: representation and identity, narrative and interactivity, and materiality and politics. This study will also provide you with an advanced set of critical tools that should enhance the production of your current and future creative media projects.

As there is overlap between these broad discourses, media artists seldom limit themselves to just one debate. We will study individual critically savvy artists working across the media strands taught in our department: photography, audio, screen drama/animation, documentary and interactive digital media. We will analyse how they present themselves in relationship to histories of media, art and critical thinking, and how they enter relationships with their audiences.

Viewing Women

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Early work on the relation of women to film considered woman's 'to-be-looked-at-ness', examining representations of women as objects of the male gaze, constructions 'cut to the measure of [male] desire' (Laura Mulvey). You will consider the female spectator, positioned by particular film and television genres (melodrama, the 'woman's film', and soap opera). More recently, attention has shifted to women as social audiences and producers of meanings, differing from one another and constructing from texts their own meanings and pleasures. This module traces these developing and interacting strands of research, considering questions around the location of meaning, the relationship between text and context, and the usefulness of different strands of feminist research in enabling us to understand film texts and their representations and positioning of women. It considers a range of popular and feminist film texts and their viewers.

Adaptation: Filming Fiction

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module examines film adaptations of fiction from the silent period to the present day. A diverse range of film texts will be considered, along with critical and theoretical perspectives on adaptation, authorship and intertextuality.

The module focuses on film adaptations of 19th-century and 20th-century novels, short stories, picture books and graphic novels, including works by Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Bronte, Raymond Carver, William Trevor and Maurice Sendak, and films by directors such as Roger Corman, Spike Jonze, David Cronenberg and Andrea Arnold. We will consider the significance of the idea of fidelity for the reception and theorisation of film adaptation.

The module will approach adaptation as both an industrial mode of commercial production and a creative mode of critical interpretation. Cinematic strategies deployed to reproduce literary devices will be analysed in order to think about adaptation's value for theories of medium specificity. The module will also examine the politics of crosscultural adaptation.

Celebrity, Media and Culture

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Celebrities are an enduring feature of popular culture, from cinema to the news. Spectacular individuals permeate our media landscape via social media, high fashion and internet gossip.

This module encourages you to engage with historical and contemporary cultures of celebrity. It fosters a critical understanding of the construction of stardom, and of the political and cultural climates in which different kinds of celebrities and their fans emerge. In looking across the spectrum of celebrity in transnational and local contexts, you will engage with notions of:

  • intimacy and distance
  • authenticity and performance
  • intertextuality and emotion
  • glamour and disgust
  • labour and identity.

Comedy and Cultural Belonging

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Comedy is, above all, a cultural form that invites its audiences to feel that they belong – to a social community, a class, a locality, a nation, a subculture, a gender, a sexual identity, an ethnic group, a community of interest, or a complex intersection of several of these.

This module explores the relationship between comedy and belonging by considering a number of conceptual fields, such as:

  • theories of the comedic
  • questions of identity formation
  • notions of representation and stereotyping
  • structures of power and resistance
  • the sexual politics of jokes
  • concepts of carnival and excess
  • the idea of a 'national sense of humour'
  • the use of comic strategies by 'minority' groups
  • the complexities of camp
  • the role of class in cultural consumption.

The initial focus is on 20th-century British popular comedy. The comic texts and practitioners studied might include Alan Bennett, Mike Leigh, Victoria Wood, the music hall tradition, the Ealing comedies, the Carry On films, Morecambe and Wise, The League of Gentlemen and The Royle Family.

Eastern European Cinemas: myth and memory

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module enables you to engage with key critical debates, films and historical contexts from the cinemas of Eastern Europe, in both communist and post-communist eras.

Topics of inquiry will consider interfaces between aesthetics, politics and society, and may include such topics as:

  • socialist realism, critical realism and antirealism
  • popular genres and 'new waves'
  • history, memory and narratives of war and nation
  • representations of gender, the individual, and the collective
  • the work of auteurs (e.g., Tarkovsky, Wajda and Wolf)
  • state propaganda and censorship
  • filmmaking after the collapse of communism
  • methodological implications of a retrospective and Western perspective.

In addition to exploring such issues, you will deepen your skills in independent research and higher-level contextual and textual analysis.

Everyday Life and Technology

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module investigates the overlapping technological, cultural and social dimensions of technology (particularly communication technologies, but also other domestic technologies) as they are encountered in everyday life. It explores these issues through an investigation of historical and contemporary examples (the telephone, the radio, the television, the mp3 player, the fridge, the computer and the internet) and discusses how domestic technologies are socially shaped, re-shaped, experienced and consumed. During the module you will consider major theoretical approaches to the study of everyday technologies as well as debates about their consequences and significance.

Feminism and Digital Culture

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Performing the Urban: postcolonial perspectives

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Performance cultures provide a unique insight into urban and social transformation. Addressing urban dance, music and language scenes, among other things, this module opens up a range of debates on the relationship between performance cultures and the urban. This in-depth exploration engages critically with theoretical perspectives on performance and and addresses the main frames through which performing the urban can be understood. You will, for example, consider the history of urban performance cultures and how they are made in different places. Developing these intellectual tools, you will enter into a series of applied discussions on performance culture’s relation to youth politics, multiculture and cosmopolitanism, and cultural technologies whilst considering the intersection of these topics with race, class and gender. You will consider how we might understand contemporary urban politics and perhaps even counter stories of its demise. You will discuss the multicultural and diasporic formation of urban performances, and how the use of YouTube by urban musicians might be similar or different to the use of sound systems or pirate radio. In the final session, you will look out to consider the future of performance cultures in the context of the urban, and indeed how the weeks’ prevision discussions prefigure different futurities.

This module will engage with a range of materials of interest to UK, EU and international students. Discussions on the relation of time to performance culture will draw on examples of changing language use in urban places. Analyses of space will engage with performances of the ‘hood, ghetto and post-code. The evaluation of struggle will consider the politics of riots/uprisings in addition to more mundane expressions of racialised, classed and gendered resistance drawn form urban ethnographies. The analysis of multiculture and cosmopolitanism will engage with the biographies of singer songwriters such as Prince, MIA and Wiley in addition to South Asian dance music. The analysis of transforming relationships between performance culture and technology will include a comparative exploration of sound systems, pirate radio and online music videos.

The module’s engagement with music, digital media, film, and everyday cultural practices, will be of interest to undergraduate students in cultural studies, media and communications, and music and film, in addition to students from wider social science and humanities disciplines. In particular it will build on MFM second year modules on ‘culture, race and ethnicity’, ‘digital cultures’, ‘gender, space and culture’, ‘media, memory, history’ and ‘sound culture and society’; and joint second-year cultural studies modules such as ‘cities and urban lives’ and ‘culture and performance’.

Overall, the module will provide you with the substantive, historical and theoretical means to analyse and engage with the complexities inherent in performing urban culture.

Subjects covered include:

  1. An introduction to urban performance culture, including an outline of foundational studies on urban culture.
  2. Key theoretical perspectives through which urban performance culture has been addressed, in particular focusing on ‘performativity’, vernacular and dialogue.
  3. A discussion of performance cultures in time, their relation to the past and the creative transformations they undergo.
  4. An evaluation of how performance culture is constituted in space (in particular urban space).
  5. An critical discussion of performance culture as a site of political struggle and how this intersects with class, race and gender.
  6. An analysis of performance culture as a manifestation of multiculture and cosmopolitanism.
  7. An analysis of the transforming relationships between urban culture and technology.
  8. An evaluation of the future of urban culture.

Political Communication

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module will present a critical review of key aspects of contemporary theory, research and practice in political communications. It will allow you to explore how these may be challenged by and transformed by new technologies and by sophisticated methods for shaping personalised messages. Using an interdisciplinary perspective, you will examine the key theoretical concepts pertaining to political communication as normally understood in the West, then pose normative and empirical questions on how they can be assessed outside those contexts.

The module will provide you with the ability to assess the role and function of communication in the public sphere and to evaluate the management and practice of communication within the political process. Throughout, you'll be encouraged to consider and reflect on political communication within and across different national and regional contexts.

Sexualities and the Cinema

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module centres on the critical study of sexualities and how they are represented in a range of film texts. Through screenings, lectures, seminars and self-directed study, you will be introduced to the various ways in which sexualities have been both theorised and represented in a range of film texts.

Debates considered in the module may include:

  • the politics of sexual identification
  • the idea of sexual ‘perversity’
  • sexual stereotyping (especially of lesbians and gays)
  • and the critical concept of ‘queer’ in theory
  • identity politics and cinematic genre (queer cinema).
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