module specification

DN5017 - Images (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module title Images
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
180 hours Guided independent study
120 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Analytical essay (2000 words)
Coursework 50%   Text and image publication
Running in 2019/20 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This year-long module approaches the idea of the ‘image’ in the broadest possible sense. Continuing from Level 4 module ‘Things’, it develops a broad view/interpretation of the idea of an image, and expands the idea of the image beyond an emphasis on the visual.

This module explores different types of images, from photography to painting, to maps, diagrams and sculptures, and asks what it means to make an image within discussions of documentation, expression, representation, revelation and reproduction.

The module will discuss the proposed power that is wielded by the ability to construct and deconstruct the image, from semiotic analysis to the psychology of advertising. Discussions of truth, document, and authenticity will be followed from the photograph as a mass medium, to the emergence of ‘photoshop’ as a verb, and the control of digital pixels in global surveillance.

Throughout the module you will critically engage with a variety of imaging techniques from drawing and simple copying such as brass rubbing, to 3D scanning and photogrammetry.

Prior learning requirements

Pass and Completion of Prior Level

Module aims

The module aims to enable you to:

  • critically question ideas about what constitutes an image
  • gain a critical understanding of the idea of ‘visual culture’ and the role images play in everyday life
  • develop an understanding of the way images are produced, circulated and interpreted
  • be able to link the use, messages and values embodied in images with the cultures they emerge from
  • understand the historical and political dimension of images and visual culture
  • understand the promise and limitations of ‘seeing’ and the way images represent a sensory paradigm in western culture


Teaching takes place in the form of seminars, workshops and visits to image collections and sites of viewing technologies, including for example, meteorological and astronomical observatories.

Studio and seminar sessions will interrogate techniques for making images, as well as the ordering, analysis, interpretation and presentation of images, using a range of critical texts in combination with primary sources and materials. The teaching syllabus is linked directly with activities in other modules and studio projects in the course, and enlivened by guest lectures and talks.

Learning and teaching

Students are required to attend weekly lectures, seminars, workshops and study trips.  Readings for seminar discussion will be provided on Weblearn in advance and students are expected to have read those. 

Students will be required to make regular preparations for weekly sessions beyond the readings. These might include short writing assignments, visual research, seeing out relevant secondary literature, working with photography and recordings, diaries, or developing seminar discussions and presentations in advance with fellow students.

Students will be offered feedforward and feedback tutorials for assignments.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • work creatively and critically with images and text in their research and creative practice
  • identify and comment on the historical and ideological origin and currency of images
  • use a range of methods of interpretation and analysis when working with images in a curatorial or editorial context (publications, exhibitions)
  • critique the concept of ‘seeing’ and understand its impact on perceptions of visual culture

Assessment strategy

Students will produce two items for assessment, equally weighted:

a 2000 word essay applying a formal analytical method to an image or collection of images

a text and image publication in an agreed format, featuring images created, manipulated, or curated by the student



Barthes, R. (1977) Image, Music, Text, London: Fontana

Barthes, R. (1984) Camera Lucida: Reflections on photography, London: Flamingo.

Latour, B. (2005) Reassembling the Social – An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory, Oxford University Press

Buck Morss, S. (1989) The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and The Arcades Project, Cambridge: MIT Press

Dewey, J. (1958) Art as Experience, New York: Capricorn Books

Levi, P. (1985) The Periodic Table, London: Joseph

Luhmann, N. (2000) Art as a Social System, Stanford: Stanford University Press

Lomax, Y. (2000) Writing the Image: An Adventure with Art and Theory,  London: I.B. Taurus

McLuhan, M. (2008) The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects, London: Penguin

Weizman, E &I. (2014) Before and After: Documenting the Architecture of Disaster,  London: Strelka Press