Visual Media

Module titleVisual Media
Module codeAHV1006
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Nick Kaye (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this core module you will be introduced to ways in which different media construct contrasting visual worlds. Media may include painting, sculpture, installation, photography, film, video art, television, digital media, social networking, virtual and mixed reality. The module will help you develop the critical tools to understand these various media in different historical periods that could include pre-classical, classical, modern and contemporary art, post-war cinema and new media. You will become familiar with a range of practices and methodologies that will allow you to gain visual literacy and analyse a wide range of visual media. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to provide you with knowledge about how media construct the world(s) we inhabit. It engages you with questions of medium specificity, exploring technology from a theoretical point of view, and asking what media from different periods might share and how they may differ. It will also engage you with conditions of production and reception addressing questions of patronage, power and ownership, including copyright in the digital age. Themes addressed may include practices and theories of spectatorship and interactivity; representation of presence and identity, gender, sexuality, politics, race and the post-human; surveillance culture and the role of computing and human computer interaction in contemporary society.

The module consists of a series of lectures and seminars, some of which include guided practical explorations and project work development. The module mixes independent research, lecture and student-led project presentations, with periods of investigation of visual culture around us. For example, you might visit the Bill Douglas Centre and examine the range of historical objects that map out pre-cinematic moving image culture; or you may experiment with camera, including surveillance camera, technology in class; or you may analyse parts of the University art collection and create a proposal for an exhibition; or you may visit the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and examine the way the collection of physical and digital materials is presented.

The module will enable you to experience a supportive learning environment and will encourage you to foster your academic development whilst providing you with the opportunity to explore the visual world around you. Thinking about visual media will help you to position yourself in relation to debates about the role of the visual in society and it will provide you with a useful framework for further specialisation in the second and final stages.


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. critically evaluate the dominant concepts, methods and debates informing the study of visual culture
  • 2. analyse coherently the form and content of particular artworks and visual culture representations
  • 3. apply a variety of methodologies and theoretical approaches to the interpretation of examples of visual culture
  • 4. demonstrate an awareness of the operation of different media

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. research, present and evaluate relevant visual materials
  • 6. interrogate coherently texts, artworks, images and representations, performances and installations and relate them with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. through writing and project assessments, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, construct a basic coherent, substantiated argument, and write clear and correct prose
  • 8. through research for projects and essays, demonstrate basic proficiency in information retrieval and analysis
  • 9. through project work, work collaboratively orally and/or in written form, and in teams towards the development, research, organisation, and expression of ideas under pressure of time

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Medium, media, mediation, lecture
  • Media archaeology, lecture and workshop at the Bill Douglas Centre
  • Design, lecture and workshop at RAMM
  • Drawing, lecture
  • Painting, lecture
  • Architecture, lecture and workshop in Exeter city centre
  • Landscape, lecture and Workshop/student-led group presentations 1
  • Installation, lecture
  • Video, lecture and Workshop/student-led group presentations 2
  • Performance, lecture
  • Digital media/course plenary

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching11Lectures (11 x 1 hour)
Scheduled learning and teaching10Seminars – these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and to present on a given topic on at least one occasion (5 x 2 hours)
Scheduled learning and teaching5Field trip
Guided independent study124To include reading and research in preparation for lectures, seminars and assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Mini-essay750 words1-8Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Oral presentation of group project5-10 minutes1-9Peer-assessment recorded on feedback sheet with tutorial follow-up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002500 words1-8Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-8Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to redo the assessment(s) as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • J.D. Bolter and R. Grusin, Remediation, 2000
  • J. Crary, Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity, 1992
  • G. Giannachi and N. Kaye, Performing Presence, 2011
  • O. Grau, Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion, 2004
  • M. Hansen, Bodies in Code, 2006;
    • New Philosophy for New Media, 2006
  • J. Lyons and J. Plunkett, (eds) Multimedia Histories: from Magic Lantern to the Internet, 2007
  • L. Mulvey, Visual Culture and Other Pleasures, 1989
  • G. Pollock, Vision and Difference, 2003

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Visual culture, media, art history

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date