module specification

DN5017 - Images (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
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
219 hours Guided independent study
81 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 2018/19 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 or 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 students will critically engage with a variety of imaging techniques from drawing and simple copying such as brass rubbing, to 3D scanning and photogrammetry.

The module will enable students 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.

Prior learning requirements

Pass and completion ( 120 credits) of prior level


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. LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

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

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

Assessment strategy

Students will produce two items for assessment:

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, Fontana
Barthes, R. (1981) Camera Lucida: reflections on photography, Cape
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’ MIT Press
Dewey, J. (1958) Art as Experience, Capricorn Books
Levi, P. (1985) The Periodic Table, Joseph
Luhmann, N. (2000) Art as a Social System, Stanford University Press
Lomax, Y. (2000) Writing the Image: An Adventure with Art and Theory., I.B. Taurus
McLuhan, M. (2008) The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects, Penguin
Weizman, E. and I. (2014) Before and After: Documenting the Architecture of Disaster, Strelka Press