Summer School: Media and Film

Immerse yourself in our photographic and video studio, production labs and facilities*. Browse our media and film modules below, and if you're unsure what to study this summer, follow our top tips for how to choose a module.

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Browse our modules

You can see our full list of media and film modules below.

Session One 

28 June - 16 July 2021

  • British Film

    Module code: IS426

    This module provides a historical survey of British cinema as well as an introduction to critical and theoretical debates associated with national British cinema. Specifically, we cover the relationship between British cinema and British culture, history and identity. This module is ideal for students looking to further their studies and careers in Film Studies, Cinematic Arts and Film Production.

    You will examine how British cinema has represented other dimensions of identity such as class, ethnicity and sexuality.

    You will consider a range of films in order to explore how British cinema:

    • Responds to the Second World War and the decline of the British Empire
    • Reflects transformations of society associated with multiculturalism
    • Functions in a transnational or even post-national era.

    Through group discussion in seminars, you will demonstrate an understanding of the changing political and cultural context in which some representations are produced, including the change in British cinema's representation of ‘Britishness’ and how specific genres such as the crime film, and the period drama have functioned in the national and international marketplace. This module will provide you with a critical awareness of how British cinema responded to the Second World War and the decline of the British Empire.

    This module is open to all, and no prior knowledge is necessary. You will just need an open mind and an interest in historical shifts within cinema!

    Learning outcomes:

    • Demonstrate an awareness of the problems involved in constituting a ‘history’ of a British national cinema
    • Demonstrate a critical understanding of British cinema’s representations of Britishness
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the changing political and cultural context in which such representations have been produced
    • Critically analyse specific film texts in the light of these understandings.

    Teaching method: Lectures and seminars
    Assessment: 60% essay, group presentation 30%, 10% report
    Contact hours: 42 hours 
    Credits: 15 Sussex Credits

  • The Age of Adolescence: Reading 20th Century Youth Culture

    Module code: IS407

    This module will explore representations of adolescence from the early 20th through to the early 21st century in literature, film and popular culture. We will read texts that range across history, psychology, and writings about juvenile delinquency, but our focus will be on reading novels, short stories, films and graphic novels, that represent the paradoxes of adolescence from the turn of the 20th century: Back to the Future, Ghost World, Spring Breakers, The Hunger Games, and more.

    We will look at the ways in which the adolescent morphs into the teenage consumer in the 1950s in novels such as Colin MacInnes’s Absolute Beginners. We will consider the adolescent as a site of cultural fantasy and cultural fears in relation to class, race, gender, and sexuality and the adolescent’s relationship to radical politics, subculture, suburbia, and nostalgia.

    If you are interested in literary figures and novels that have pushed boundaries on the representation of adolescence, then this module is for you. This module will provide a theoretical introduction for students wishing to explore a career in film production, youth literature and education sectors.

    On this experiential module, we will explore how Brighton has been central for pushing boundaries and creating new waves in the medium of literature and film. We will develop a deeper understanding of the construction of the categories of the adolescent and the teenagers in literature, film and theory. This module may include a field trip to Brighton, following the trail of cult movie Quadrophenia.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Demonstrate knowledge of the history of, and an ability to evaluate, 20th-21st century fiction, film and theory
    • Develop an understanding of the construction of the categories of the adolescent and the teenager in literature, film and theory
    • Analyse literature, film, and other discourses, and to dissect rhetoric and understand meanings
    • Develop an argument from close reading and data interpretation.

    Teaching method: Fieldwork, lectures and workshops
    Assessment: 70% essay, 20% report, 10% observation
    Contact hours: 40 hours 
    Credits: 15 Sussex Credits

Session Two 

19 July – 13 August 2021

  • Digital Landscapes

    Module code: IS428

    This module will appeal to students who have an online presence and would like a deeper understanding of the digital environment; explored through the different uses of digital media, with social media platforms used as case studies. You will explore digital media through its saturation of everyday life, and learn how it re-organises cultural production and re-mediates learning environments.

    The module aims to:

    • Examine this digital environment through both practical and theoretical perspectives
    • Examine developments in new media with a particular emphasis on different uses of digital media, enabling students to make distinctions between kinds of material, genres and platforms
    • Deliver practical approach to help equip students to use digital media to understand the digital environment as media and cultural forms.

    Through practical workshops, you will explore word clouds or Google’s N-gram viewer, cover digital ethnography by researching Twitter comments and examine simple ways to track our digital selves via social networks ads and tracking software such as Ghostery. You will demonstrate the use of digital tools to enhance your study and to take a critically informed stance on existing practices, evaluating the social, cultural and political consequences of networked media technologies. The module may include a field trip to The Science Museum in London and guest lectures on digital media tools.

    The Department of Media and Film publish critical research and engage with exciting media projects, including creative writing and drawing workshops for the Brighton Digital Festival; Algorithmic Autobiographies explores writing with your digital self.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Demonstrate knowledge of underlying concepts involved in critically analysing and using digital media systems of all kinds
    • Apply sound judgements in how to treat, develop and create with digital resources and digital tools
    • Understand and differentiate between principle theories and concepts of digital media and of innovation processes in media systems
    • Demonstrate the ability to think critically and evaluate social, cultural and political consequences of networked media technologies.

    Teaching method: Lectures, seminars and workshops
    Assessment: 60% essay, 30% portfolio, 10% report
    Contact hours: 40 hours 
    Credits: 15 Sussex Credits

  • Sexual Dissidence: Non-normative Cultural Identities

    Module code: IS405

    In our changing digital world, this module will provide a deeper understanding behind human perception of multimedia such as colour and sound; how perception relates to the capture, display, storage and transmission of media. This module offers the grounding into digital media of computer science and will interest students looking for an insight into digital multimedia production. 

    The University of Sussex has been a pioneer in the study of gender and sexuality for over thirty years. Throughout this module, you will reflect on individuals and cultures that have at one time been considered (and are sometimes happy to be considered) aberrant, not “normal”. The module balances questions of identity (who we are, who we think we are, who others think we are) with questions of desire and sexual aim (who – or what – we are attracted to, if anything). This module asks you to focus on one question throughout: should we understand ourselves, and be understood in turn, as sexual and gendered identities; “straight”, “queer”, “female”, “heterosexual”, etc., or by our attachments; who we love, who we desire?

    Emphasis will be placed on works from Britain or from the British post-colonial diaspora and you will examine mediums including literature, art and film. You do not need any knowledge of theories of gender and sexuality in advance, only an open mind.

    You will reflect critically in group presentations on cultural phenomena that challenges normative notions of sexual and gender identities. The module is thought-provoking and you will explore questions of identity by developing your knowledge of the history of sexual identities from close readings.

    The module may also include a field-trip to the home of filmmaker, theatre practitioner, and writer Derek Jarman (1942 – 1994). This module also takes place at the same time as Brighton and Hove Pride weekend – one of the most iconic LGBT pride events in the UK.

    The University of Sussex has been a pioneer in the study of Gender and Sexuality for over 30 years including the teaching of the first undergraduate course in the UK by Alan Sinfield and Jonathan Dolimore in the 1960’s. Sinfield and Dolimore were radical intellectuals and were hugely influential in the development of queer studies in the UK. This Sexual Dissidence module stems from this and the University of Sussex Centre of Sexual Dissidence, of which explores the progression of cultural identity from the 1960s to the present day.

    The module requires no background, however it would be helpful for those going on to study literature, film, media, art history, history, amongst other academic disciplines and would appeal to those interested in Gender Theory.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Demonstrate knowledge of the history of sexual identities through readings of culture and theory, and to understand the distinction between theories of identity and theories of sexual aim
    • To reflect critically on cultural phenomena that challenge normative notions of sexual and gender identities, and that provide evidence of non-normative sexual aims
    • To communicate the results of critical reflection in a collegial group presentation
    • Develop an argument from close reading and historical context.

    Teaching method: Fieldwork, seminars and workshops
    Assessment: 70% essay, 20% presentation, 10% observation
    Contact hours: 40 hours 
    Credits: 15 Sussex Credits

  • Video Games: Creative and Critical Writing (Online)

    Module code: IS403

    In recent years the gaming industry has been transformed by the addition of auteur-driven indie games to those of AAA studios with Hollywood budgets, as well as by the diversity of technology on which games can be played. We will explore examples of successful imagined worlds (Zelda: Breath of the Wild), powerful storytelling (The Last of Us), literary games (Kentucky Route Zero), indie games (Braid), and classic adventure games (Monkey Island), amongst others.

    We explore the imagined possibilities of play, world-building, narrative, character, game mechanics and game dynamics. This provides an array of opportunities for creative writing in video game design; including composing narratives and shooting-scripts, imagining avatars, and developing fictional worlds. You will be introduced to some game development software, though this module is not designed as a coding course, and is ideal for students looking beyond the surface of video games; wanting to engage with thoughtful critique of an emerging industry.

    This module is a creative writing module, where you will develop a deeper understanding of creating narratives, branching narratives using Twine and essential game mechanics. You will reflect critically on the social implications of game design, taking into account discourses around gender, race and sexuality.

    Local companies within the gaming industry are expected to contribute through guest lectures. The module may also include field excursions to industry professionals.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Understand and experiment with common practices of creative writing across multiple computer/video game genres
    • Reflect critically on the social implications of game design, taking into account discourses around gender, race, and sexuality
    • To communicate the results of critical reflection in a collegial group presentation
    • To evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems when relating the creative aspect of game design to critical reflection on the social aspects of games.

    Teaching method: Lectures and workshops
    Assessment: 70% portfolio, 20% group presentation, 10% observation
    Contact hours: 40 hours 
    Credits: 15 Sussex Credits

Not sure how to choose?

Follow our top tips for choosing your modules. You can also find out about our teaching structure, assessment process and how your credits transfer back to your home institution.

Find out more.


Find out how to apply


The University of Sussex reserves the right to cancel modules due to staff availability, student demand, minimum enrolment, or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.
  • Buildskills in areas including video production, digital design and creative thinking

  • Expertand teaching from award-winning academics, influencing industry policy

  • Studyspaces and facilities including photographic and video studio, audio production and production labs*

  • 1stcity in England for student happiness**

Which school will I study in?

Depending on the modules you choose, you'll study in either the Department of Media, Film Studies department or English department, which is part of the School of Media, Arts and Humanities.

Our academics are publishing books and articles, producing award-winning documentaries and films and influencing policy. 

Our students are also producing high-quality productions.

Find out more.

Contact us

If you are studying at Sussex for a summer and have questions, email

 *Access to facilities is dependent on the module you study **(Our campus is nine minutes by train from Brighton & Hove) survey by accommodation providers Student Living by Sodexo. Rankings based on full undergraduate degree at Sussex.

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