The Media. Contextualised.
To borrow a phrase from Nick Couldry’s new book (Media: Why it Matters, 2019), I would like to suggest you ‘imagine your life without media’. It would be like being forced to ‘navigate through a room completely blindfolded’, argues Couldry; and he is, of course, right.
That said, I would go further by arguing that every form that mediates an idea, either to the extent that mediation is enabled or disabled by representation and its limitations, or to the extent that the mediated idea itself becomes form, does involve, whether we like it or not, the media (broadly conceptualised).
For this reason, to the study of media I would include not only that which is traditionally thought of as ‘the media’ – legacy media, social media, photography, moving image, sound and so on – but also the very concepts of language and communication tout court.
The way we have organised our Media and Creative Industries Subject Area in the School of Media aims at achieving broadly two interrelated, interconnected objectives: not only to provide students with the requisite skills with which to pursue a meaningful and fulfilling career – this is granted and more urgent and necessary now than ever before – but to also help them develop into sharp, critically engaged and fellow-minded citizens. In short, we aim to produce intelligent, creative, and versatile graduates capable of discharging their professional and civic duties with integrity and moral rectitude.
To do that, the BA (Hons) courses of our subject area enable students to develop their inclinations by designing their degree and following their path. Alongside core modules which are shared across four degree programmes, our students get to choose from a suite of over fifty theory-based and/or practice-based elective (optional) modules.
Our options cover the length and breadth of the discipline: video production, photography, social media theory and practice, media policy, media and promotional cultures, media, sustainability and environmental communication, popular music, film studies, digital cultures and the futures of/for television, resistance and community media, radio, media project management, media ethics, media and philosophy, screening gender and race, celebrity media, media and science, national and global media, political communication and politics, media and international development … these are just a few of the modules on our subject area’s roster.
Are these modules enough? To be honest, I don’t know. Just think of what’s been happening in the world only in the last ten or so days. The most powerful man on earth is allegedly shacked up in a bunker tweeting directives to the world whilst his police are brutalising his citizens in fifty out of fifty states; the author of probably the most successful children’s literature series ran into trouble only a few days ago on social media for suggesting that there is something essential to the concept of femininity; in Europe, the UK and the USA, ‘establishments’ of all sorts are made to reckon with their own past, forced by the wonderful combinatory potential of physical protest and media exposure, whilst pundits exchange views on TV, radio and social media on whether we should still have slavers’ statues in twenty-first-century Britain; and, of course, the COVID19 pandemic has forced all of us to re-arrange and re-evaluate not only the way we live, work and study, but, to a certain extent, also the way we think: about our life, our relationships, our sexuality, our ordinariness, our aspirations – perhaps, even our own sense of being. Though it is suggested that we live in an era of fake news, deep-fakes, post-democracy, post-politics and post-humanism, it seems that there has not been a more exciting time to study the media.
Now, a few words about our Class of 2020; to say that I am proud of them would be a miserable understatement. I am being entirely honest when I say that in all my years of teaching in higher education, I have not encountered a more patient, resourceful, disciplined and determined lot. Whilst this holds true for all our students, a special mention should be made about our finalists, who had to negotiate the rigours of their final semester amid the biggest upheaval the world had experienced since WWII. That they are graduating with such marks, style and panache is not only wonderful to see, but also moving, encouraging, and inspiring. If all young people are like our lot, there is, I am very happy to say, still hope.
Finally, I would also like to thank my colleague, Maria Short (senior lecturer in photography), for organising our students’ entries to the Brighton Graduate Show 2020. I should also thank my colleagues in the School of Media for organising this wonderful Graduate Show online.
Dr Theodore Koulouris
Course Leader, Media Studies BA (Hons)
Practice Based Dissertations
Our final year Practice Based Dissertation students responded to the pandemic both pragmatically and creatively. Decisions surrounding their photographic way forward needed to be made quickly. During online discussions we explored various possibilities. Students needed to decide whether their original methods of translating their ideas would still be feasible. Two of our students chose to work with the photographs they had already made and use their remaining time to concentrate on supporting research, reflection and the written contextualisation of their photographs. Another student decided to begin a new practical response to the brief, creating their final portfolio in their bedroom with just a camera, available window light and the contents of their room.
Much of the learning in a practice-based subject is derived from the process, the reflection and the problem solving. Aware of this, our students have actively pursued a deeper approach to their learning, wanting to really win with their studies.
Working with our students during the lockdown has been an inspiring and heartening experience. Despite the challenges faced, our students have proven to be resourceful and committed, engaged and responsible, open hearted and sincere.
Senior Lecturer in Photography
Practice Based Dissertation Supervisor
School of Media
How to apply for this course