module specification

CP4019 - Critical and Contextual Studies 1: Theatre and Film Production Design (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Critical and Contextual Studies 1: Theatre and Film Production Design
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
 
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 33%   Coursework 1
Coursework 33%   Coursework 2
Coursework 34%   Coursework 3
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

The module offers a sequence of three intensive programmes or ‘mini-blocks’, tailored to the interests of specific groups of students.  The module engages the student in thinking about their subject area, how it is defined and practised, the richness of its resources, and how it opens up questions of context.  In particular, the module investigates how context might be framed, for example culturally, historically, economically, socially, theoretically or through practice.  Students are encouraged to see connections and reflect on what they see in ways that build skills of communication and help articulate ideas.  The module also helps the student, through learning how to identify, access and use knowledge profitably, to become knowledgeable about their subject area, its extent, its language and conventions, its history and practice.

The three mini-blocks have equally weighted single assessments.  The assessments include a range of different modes of written assignments, for example, patchwork, case study, or essay.

Module aims

The module aims to orient and critically engage the student in their subject area, its histories and theories, and its broader context in culture and contemporary practice. Students are encouraged, whilst beginning to develop a sound knowledge base rooted in their subject field, to see, read and articulate connections between different aspects. The module introduces students to the range of academic skills they need to produce graduate-level dissertation, while encouraging them to articulate and take responsibility for the development of their own learning.

Syllabus

The syllabus is organised in subject pathways, each comprised of three mini-blocks of learning.  These may vary in composition from year to year but are grouped within six clusters: Architecture, Fine Art, Design, Theatre and Film Production Design, Media and Music Technology. The following titles are indicative:

Architecture and Interior Architecture:

  1. Context and Practice
  2. Histories and Texts
  3. Histories and Theories

Fine Art including Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography, Painting, Mixed Media:

  1. What Does an Artist Do: Principles
  2. What Does an Artist Do: Provocations
  3. Histories

Theatre and Film Production Design

  1. Context and Practice
  2. Research in Action
  3. Narrative and Communication

Design including Graphics, Illustration, Interiors, Textiles, Jewellery and Silver-smithing, Furniture and Product design, Restoration and Conservation:

  1. Grammars of Design: Object and Process
  2. The Meaning of Style: Design and Communication
  3. Contemporary Design Practice

Media &, including Film and Broadcast, Animation, Lens Craft:

  1. Theory and Practice
  2. Research in Action
  3. Critical Contexts

Music Technology & Musical Instruments:

  1. Theory and Practice
  2. Research in Action
  3. Critical Contexts

Indicative Syllabus
.
Architecture and Interior Architecture:

  1. Context and Practice: This block introduces students to the subject and practice of architecture and interior architecture and the professional context within which they sit in society and the constructed environment.  Lectures, seminars, workshops and visits will enable students to explore issues of professionalism and to study current and past forms of architectural and design practice.  Working in groups and individually students investigate a range of study and management skills and methods used to communicate within the industry and to its range of users and intended audiences.
     
  2. Histories and Texts:  This survey course introduces the history of western architecture, interior design and urban form from Ancient Greece to the 18th century. Lectures take a broad view, concentrating on canonical examples, comparing them with works of art of the same period and setting them broadly in their social and political context. In the seminars, students discuss texts written during the period in question as well as texts written by historians. They also write short critical texts of their own, based on what they have learnt in lectures and experienced in the streets and museums of London. The aim of the course is to familiarise students with the common stock of examples drawn upon in theoretical and critical writings, and to encourage critical thinking and the coherent expression of ideas.
     
  3. Histories and Theories:  The course continues the historical survey of architecture, interior design and urban form begun in ‘Histories and Texts’, bringing the story up to the present day and introducing non-western traditions. Canonical examples are compared with works of art of the same period and set in their social and political context. Seminars constitute a thematic course in basic architectural theory, introducing important ideas such as representation, language, form and the organic metaphor, in plain English. Students write short theoretical texts of their own and are encouraged to express their ideas clearly and simply. The theory course forms a foundation for more advanced studies in ‘Architecture and Modernity: by Design’.

Fine Art including Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography, Painting, Mixed Media:

  1. What does an Artist Do: Principles:  This block introduces students to ideas about what a contemporary artist does, using the skills and knowledge needed to produce academic work appropriate to degree level study. In particular, the block will develop skills and confidence in writing, using style, sources and conventions appropriate to academic work. Regular writing exercises will be used to engage with some of the key aspects of the media and contemporary issues around it. This will allow students to reflect on what an artist does and establish connections between art theory and art practice.
     
  2. What Does an Artist Do: Provocations: Based around a series of case studies, this block will build on skills and knowledge developed in the first block, paying particular attention to research skills and methods of analysis. Students will learn how to use the internet for research, how to evaluate sources and how to incorporate research materials and methodology in an written academic case study.
     
  3. Histories:  Based on an art history survey of the last 100 years since Duchamp's 'Large Glass', this block examines the principal art movements that have determined how art institutions and artworks come into being today, their critical and cultural contexts, what they mean to us and where they are heading tin contemporary terms. Particular emphasis is placed on the determining factors of history, politics and economics. Research will be presented in the form of an academic essay.

Theatre and Film Production Design

  1. Context and Practice: This module introduces students to the contexts of both theatre and film. It introduces students to what contemporary theatre and film production designers do. It looks closely at the different aspects of theatre and film theory context, its impact in culture and society. It will look at contemporary designers and their practice.
     
  2. Research in Action: Based around a series of discipline specific case studies, this block will build on skills and knowledge developed in the first block, paying particular attention to research skills and methods of analysis. Students will learn how to research, how to evaluate sources and how to incorporate research materials in an academic piece of writing.
     
  3. Narrative and Communication: Through a given and play or film production, students will be asked to discuss and reflect how the narrative is explored, emphasised and presented to an audience through the specific design choices.

Design including Graphics, Illustration, Interiors, Textiles, Jewellery and Silver-smithing, Furniture and Product design, Restoration and Conservation:

  1. Grammars of Design: Objects & Process: This introduces students to the skills and knowledge that will enable them confidently discuss, read and write about design and design practice. Topics of study will draw on late 19th and early 20th century global examples of graphic design, illustration, interior design, jewellery and silver-smithing, textiles, furniture and product design and restoration and conservation. Discipline specific workshops will help students to identify appropriate sources of research and understand and use appropriate conventions of design writing. Regular writing practice will enable students to explore design as it relates to creative practice, production, consumption and use. This will help students make connections between design history and their design practice, between design contexts and their design practice.
     
  2. The Meaning of Style: Design and Communication: Students will enhance their research skills to develop a good understanding and confident use of primary and secondary sources and further develop their abilities in the critical analysis of designed objects, images and spaces. Topics of study will draw on mid-late 20th century global examples of graphic design, illustration, interior design, jewellery and silver-smithing, textiles, furniture and product design and restoration and conservation, as relevant to students’ disciplines. In particular, research such as case studies will help students to explore and write about the ways in which design objects, images and spaces form and communicate identities.
     
  3. Contemporary Design Practice:  Study here aims to enhance students’ critical thinking and writing about design practice in the 21st century. The focus will be on contemporary contexts for design and applied arts: designers’ places in the creative industries, new economies, urban policies, global dispersion of making and marketing design, and the rise of social and environmental concerns. Contemporary examples of designers and their practice in the fields of graphic design, illustration, interior design, jewellery and silver-smithing, textiles, furniture and product design and restoration and conservation, will form study opportunities for this block.

Media including Film and Broadcast, Animation, Lens Craft:

  1. Theory and Practice:  This block introduces students to the skills and knowledge needed to produce academic work appropriate to degree level study. In particular, the block will develop skills and confidence in writing, using style, sources and conventions appropriate to academic work. Regular writing exercises will be used to engage with some of the key aspects of the media and contemporary issues around it. This will allow students to reflect on these aspects and establish connections between media theory and media practices.
     
  2. Research in Action: Based around a series of discipline specific case studies, this block will build on skills and knowledge developed in the first block, paying particular attention to research skills and methods of analysis. Students will learn how to use the internet for research, how to evaluate sources and how to incorporate research materials in an academic piece of writing.
     
  3. Critical Contexts:  The aim of this block is to deepen understanding of the contexts which help to determine how media institutions and media products come into being, what they mean to us and where they are heading. Particular emphasis is placed on the determining factors of history, technology and economics. National and cultural contexts will also be considered. A critical perspective on the assumption that new means better will also be debated. The films of Alfred Hitchcock, from their beginnings in British silent cinema to their present globalised re-inventions across a variety of media in different countries will form a case study for this block.

Music Technology& Musical Instruments

  1. This block introduces students in music technology and musical instruments courses to the principles of music theory and aural skills, which constitute the main area of contextualisation for the common field of specialism. The block consists of the learning of different aspects of music theory and sound, its impact in culture and material technologies. It allows students to reflect on these aspects and establish connections between theory and aural skills practices.
     
  2. This block introduces students to the basic technologies in music (including those involved in instrument making) across time, in a historical perspective. It focuses on the research of different types of technologies related to music and sound across history. Students establish the relationship between the theoretical research and the aural recognition of those technologies, such as, e.g. the sound of instruments and their acoustical properties.
     
  3. The block focuses on the different historical periods and on those musical genres and types of musical instruments belonging to each period, in order to establish a contextual and cultural approach between music theory, music technologies and music history in their own field of expertise.

Learning and teaching

The module is organised into three core teaching and learning blocks, each of which include preparation and reading, completing assessments, and receiving formative feedback, equivalent in total to 90 hours of contact time and 180 hours of self-directed study.  The module supports a freestanding PDP component, equivalent to 30 hours of self-directed study, linked to on-line and personal development tutor support systems.

The three mini-blocks are organised around a series of lectures, seminars and workshops, supported by online or blended learning, visits and skills workshops.  The blocks are designed to deliver subject knowledge at a range of scales, through the practice of specific skills and development of modes of understanding.

The mini-blocks include, where suitable, an emphasis on small-group active learning classes and weekly practical exercises appropriate to the subject area.  These are aimed at developing confidence in identifying and appraising relevant subject matter; ability in relevant reading and interpretation skills (situations, relationships, places, objects, images, sounds, texts); and writing ability (forms of writing, different media, protocols, forms of presentation).  There is also an emphasis on active learning, including workshops on investigation, information retrieval, study skills, and group presentations.  Students are introduced to formal lectures and seminars that focus on the scope and depth of knowledge, and how to interpret and structure it. 

Each teaching and learning block provides a multifaceted programme that feeds one writing-based assignment. This assignment may include or be on visual work, technical or scientific data, professional context, work in practice, or academic histories.  The aim is to encourage active, engaged and consistent learning.

The teaching and learning includes formative feedback on each of the writing-based assessments, indicating how the student can improve their performance.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

  1. use information retrieval systems effectively and develop appropriate methods for collecting, organising and deploying knowledge
  2. read, analyse and interpret different kinds of written texts and other key sources of documented knowledge
  3. demonstrate familiarity with the scope of their subject area and its and broader ethical, historical, social, cultural, economic and practice-based contexts
  4. articulate a critical understanding of material, spatial, aural or media-based objects of study, using a range of written forms of presentation, noting specific terms, languages, references, genres and audience
  5. reflect on their progress and engage with feedback

Assessment strategy

The strategy is to provide an iterative and developmental model of assessment. 

1. Patchwork assessment including Learning Reflection short and written exercises  (900 – 1200 words)
2. Case study or studies (900 – 1200 words)
3. Essay (2000 – 2500 words) 

The word count for the whole module is between 3800 – 4700 words.  

Module assessment criteria:
1. Application and engagement;
2. Quality of content (research, accuracy, relevance, scope);
3. Quality of presentation (English, references, terminology, literacy, protocols);
4. Effective structure (clarity, links, synthesis);
5. Deployment of critical and analytical skills (argument, interpretation, discussion).

Bibliography

Berger, J. (1972) Ways of Seeing, BBC Publications
Bordwell, D. (1998) On the History of Film Style Harvard, Harvard University Press
Gerould, D. (2003) Theatre/Theory/Theatre: The Major Critical Texts from Aristotle and Zeami to Soyinka and Havel, Hal Leonard
Jenkins, H. (2008) Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide New York, New York University Press
Long, P. (2009) Media Studies: Texts, Production and Context, Longman
Murray, S. Keefe, J. (2015) Physical Theatres: A Critical Introduction: Routledge