module specification

SM5077 - Media and Communities (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Media and Communities
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   2,000 word essay
Coursework 50%   10 minute audio document and evaluation
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

This module combines critical engagement with theories of community and participatory culture; study of how media have been used to rebel and empower; and training in research and media practice.

Students will study the theory and practice of community media, oral history, and documentary traditions. They will engage in interviewing, audio recording and editing.   They will research community-based organisations and initiatives. They will use a range of media in researching, producing and presenting their own audio document.

The module aims to:
● Enable students to develop a critical understanding of participatory culture and contemporary citizenship, with particular focus on community media, including their use by different social groups, and community development
● Enable students to research into community-based organisations and initiatives
● Enable students to research, produce and present their own audio document

Prior learning requirements

Successful completion of Level 4


Theories of community and community development
History and theory of participatory culture
Social movements and participatory and rebellious media
Politics of representation
Significance of oral history
Independent research for audio document
Theory and practice of interviewing
Research ethics
Sound recording
Editing sound
Scriptwriting for radio
Research, production and presentation of audio document
Evaluation of process of producing audio document

Learning Outcomes LO 1 - 4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching methods include lectures, workshops, seminars, screenings, fieldwork/visits, media lab work, library sessions on research methods and tutorials.  Students are expected to attend lectures and seminars: in the seminars they will at times work in small groups and be given practice in listening to each other’s contributions and offering constructive criticism, and in chairing and reporting discussion to the plenary seminar group. The module booklet will be available online, as will lecture outlines and some readings. Weblearn or its equivalent will also be used for communication with students individually and as a cohort. Students are expected to engage in self-directed learning including reading, use of Weblearn, and assessment preparation.  In addition to guided reading, students are expected to read and to use variety of sources (primary and secondary) and use seminars and tutorials to raise issues, questions and seek feedback.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to

LO1) Critically appraise concepts of community, community development, participatory culture and representation
LO2) Evaluate the theory and practice of community media and oral history
LO3) Conduct independent research drawing on a range of sources and the conceptual frameworks and methods taught
LO4) Produce and evaluate an audio document on an issue of concern to a community group or organisation


Core texts:
Couldry, N. & Curran, J. (eds) (2003) Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked
World. Lanham, USA: Rowman & Littlefield.
Föllmer, G and Badenoch, A. (eds). Transnationalizing Radio Research. New Approaches to an Old Medium. Transcript independent publishers. Open access 
Gauntlett, D. (2011) Making is Connecting: The social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0. Cambridge: Polity. [CORE]
Hall, S. (ed) 1997. ‘Representation. Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London/ Thousand Oaks/ New Delhi: Sage Publications/ Open University. 13-74.
Halpern, D. (2004) Social Capital. Cambridge: Polity.

Additional texts:

Couldry, N. (2010) Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism.  London:
Sage Publications.
Downing, J. (2001) Radical Media: Rebellious Communication and Social Movements. London:
Sage Publications.
Fuchs, C. 2014. Social Media: A Critical Introduction. London: Sage
Lewis, P.M. & Jones, S. (2006) (eds) From the Margins to the Cutting Edge – Community Media
and Empowerment. Catskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Perks, R. and Thomson, A. (eds) (2016) The Oral History Reader. 3rd Edition. London and New York: Routledge.
Plummer, K. (2001) Documents of Life 2: an invitation to critical humanism.  London/Thousand Oak/ New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Putnam, R. (2000) Bowling alone: the collapse and revival of American Community. USA: Simon & Schuster Ltd.
Rennie, E (2006) Community Media: a Global Introduction. NYC/Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.
Richie, D.A. (1995) Doing Oral History. New York: Twayne Publishers.
Rodriguez, C. (2001) Fissures in the Mediascape Cresskill. NJ: Hampton Press.
Thompson, P. (2017) The Voice of the Past. 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Woodward, K. (ed) (1997) Identity and Difference. London/ Thousand Oaks/ New Delhi: Sage
Publications/ Open University.

The Oral History Journal

AMARC (World Association of Community Radio Stations),
Community Media Association,

Ofcom - Community Radio stations,

The Oral History Society: