module specification

SM4019 - Performance, Art and Film Ideas 1 (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Performance, Art and Film Ideas 1
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
225 hours Guided independent study
75 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   An evaluative essay, based on a critical analysis of a given performance/film work
Coursework 30%   Overall process, continually assessed in relation to engagement with the module, including seminar presentation.
Project 40%   A portfolio, combining a creative writing task (a text for a new theatre/film work)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module explores a cross-disciplinary approach to art and cultural studies, centred in the concept of performance as a starting point. It will introduce key questions in performance, art and film theories and relate these to a selection of historical and contemporary practitioners. The module is intended to provide students with an introductory range of critical and creative strategies, which is to inform their development across the whole course, both in BA Theatre and Performance Practice and in BA Theatre and Film.

Through a range of activities, this module will examine links and parallels between artistic disciplines and broader cultural questions and introduce students to an interdisciplinary approach to research, promoting links between theoretical and creative practices in the field. The module will provide an introductory range of critical strategies and knowledge that can be transferred to a variety of subjects across the programme and develop academic skills (e.g. essay writing, study skills, assignment presentation), applicable across the course.


The module begins by questioning the definition of performance, looking at this in the context of cultural identity. Increasingly, it traces links between ideas of performance in a range of artistic disciplines: in particular, theatre, dance, film and visual art. LO1

The second part of the module establishes a historical panorama of key practitioners in the above disciplines, centred in a selection of topical themes, e.g. body, text, mise-en-scène, gender, class etc. LO1, LO2, LO3

In the last part of the module, students are guided in the creation of independent projects assessed as portfolios, in which they envision a short original performance or film work, referencing the ideas and practitioners covered throughout the course of the year. On selected weeks, study skills workshops support academic development both on this module and across the course. LO1, LO2, LO3

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.

The following learning and teaching strategies are employed in the course of this module:
• multimedia lectures;
• student-led seminars;
• online activities through blended learning approaches;
• practical creative tasks (occasional practical workshops, creative writing, design, photography and videography);
• visits to relevant points of interest;
• interviews to professionals in the industry;
• short professional placements (where applicable).

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to:

      Cognitive intellectual abilities
1. relate practices in performance, art and film to broader questions in cultural studies;
Transferable skills
2. use critical terminology and related strategies to investigate and to communicate the subjects in question, as well as to be used in parallel modules on the course;
Subject specific skills
3. demonstrate a broad knowledge of key practitioners and tendencies in historical and contemporary performance, art and film.


Allain, P. and Harvie J. (2006) The Routledge companion to Theatre and Performance, London: Routledge
Aston, E. and Savona, G. (1991) Theatre as Sign System, London: Routledge
Barthes, R. (1977) Image, Music, Text, London: Fontana
Bial, H. (ed.) (2003) The Performance Studies Reader, London: Routledge
Counsell, C. and Wolf, L. (eds.)(2001) Performance Analysis, London: Routledge
Davis, T. (ed.) (2008) The Cambridge companion to Performance Studies, Cambridge: CUP
Fortier, M. (2002) Theory/Theatre, NY: Routledge
Gale, M. and Deeney, J. (2010) Routledge Drama Anthology and Sourcebook, London: Routledge
Schechner, R. (2006) Performance Studies: an Introduction, NY: Routledge
Wiles, D. and Dymkowski C. (2012) The Cambridge Companion to Theatre History, Cambridge: CUP
Whitmore, J. (1994) Directing Postmodern Theater, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press

Online Resources: