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Study information

Photography and Evidence

Module titlePhotography and Evidence
Module codeAHV2013
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Professor David Jones (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module introduces you to photographic theories and histories, with a particular focus on the evidential claims made in the name of photography. You will be offered the opportunity to explore a range of photographic practices, ranging from early photographic techniques to the digital and dorsality. You will learn about the changing meanings and functions of photography across time and between cultures, from colonial photography and anthropometry to forensic photography and photojournalism. You will analyse recent artistic responses to the forensic in which photographic practices play a key role and evaluate what photography tells us about contemporary understandings of evidence. The module requires no prior knowledge and is open to anyone with an interest in photography.  

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to:

  • introduce you to the history of photography and to a range of photographic practices and throughout the course we discuss photography in the light of its use as evidence.
  • develop an understanding of this important and rapidly evolving field, through a combination of in-class discussion, readings, presentations, and lectures, as well as first-hand engagement with digital materials and museum holdings
  • foster your ability to engage in sophisticated analysis and to think about how concepts of evidence are framed by photographic practices through viewings and associated readings

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Interpret recent developments in photographic practice in relation to theory drawn from relevant texts
  • 2. Critically evaluate the dominant concepts, methods and debates informing recent developments in conceptions of evidence

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Demonstrate an ability to interrelate texts, artworks and theoretical discourses specific to a range of disciplines with issues in the wider context of photographic practice
  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to understand and analyse theoretical concepts, and to apply these ideas to contexts pertaining to photographic history

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. Through essay writing and the practical presentation, demonstrate a basic capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 6. Through research for the presentation, demonstrate basic proficiency in research and bibliographical skills, information retrieval, analysis and sharing
  • 7. Through seminar work and group presentations, demonstrate communication skills, and an ability to work creatively and imaginatively both individually and in groups

Syllabus plan

The module will consist of a series of lectures and seminars, including first-hand engagement with works of art, theoretical texts and museum holdings.

Syllabus (indicative):

  • Origins and Debates
  • From Humanism to Postmodernism
  • War and Conflict
  • Contemporary Debates

Full details of weekly topics will be given on ELE.

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
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10Seminars - these will be led by the tutor or by a group of students. You will need to prepare for each seminar and work individually and in groups to present on given topics on a week to week basis
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Tutorial guidance for reading, research and essay preparation
Guided Independent Study128Reading and researching for lectures, seminars, and assessment.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critical analysis500 words1-5Feedback sheet

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
Essay602,000 words1-5Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Portfolio401,500 words. Exhibition plan (750 words) plus curatorial statement (750 words) 1-7Written Feedback 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
EssayEssay1-5Referral/Deferral period
PortfolioPortfolio1-7Referral/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 submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Roland Barthes, Mythologies (Paris, 1957)
  • John Berger, Ways of Seeing (London: Penguin, 1972)
  • Victor Burgin, ed. Thinking Photography (London: Macmillan, Communications and Culture, 1982)
  • Graham Clarke, The Photograph (1997)
  • Liz Wells, ed, The Photography Reader (2003)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Photography; Evidence; Interactive Museum; Digital Humanities; Art History; Visual Culture; Participatory Museum; Digital Curation; Performance; Globalisation; Community; Forensic

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date