You are on page 1of 8

Section 3

Unit Title Contextual Studies 2

Unit Code CVA207/FDC202
Programme Foundation Degree (Arts) Computer Visualisation and Animation
Credits 20 Level 2 Unit Status Core - Mandatory

Contact Time 60 Access to Resources 40 Independent Study 100

This unit builds upon the contextual elements which students

engaged within the first level of their course.

The first level engaged with the major genres and the
contextualisation of conventional practice. This unit takes students
beyond these frameworks of understanding to explore alternative
approaches to media forms and practice and their contexts.

The unit allows students to focus their contextual learning in their

area of practice, to begin to look in depth and detail at a particular
area, and to develop the independent study and research skills,
Introduction which will serve them well if they progress to honours level study or
to professional life.

In the first half of the unit, students survey a range of specialist

media theory related to their area of practice and look beyond the
more conventional forms and genres to engage with the unfamiliar in
their specialist fields and relate it to their work based learning.

In the second half of the unit, they focus in on a particular area and
begin to work on an area of independent study negotiated with the
tutor. They are supported in this through lectures and seminars on
research methodology and through tutorials.

Curriculum Topics covered in this unit will include:
New Approaches to Sound
Through a series of seminars and lectures, students will engage with
ideas and work that allows them to explore new approaches to
sound design.

An indicative sample of the themes covered is listed below:

• “Plunderphonics” – sampling, plagiarism and the assault on

• “Longplayer” – durational and environmental sound art;
• “Wireless Imagination” – Gregory Whitehead and radiophonic
• “Soundscapes” – Chris Watson and the audio still life;

Faculty of Communication Media Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

• “Silence” – Music, Silence and Memory;

• “Muzak” – environmental music and sound design;
• “All Sounds Are Created Equal” – John Cage and Musique
• “The Death of Phonography” – the digital age and the end of
phonic artefacts;
• “Digital Hardcore” – the new generation of electronic noise

New Approaches to the Televisual/Film

Through a series of seminars and lectures students will engage with
ideas and work that allows them to explore new approaches to
visual media.

An indicative sample of the themes covered is listed below:

• Digital Underground – undercurrents news agency: the
democratisation of news production;
• Digital Futures – rising tide of ‘back bedroom’ filmmakers;
• Me TV – interactivity and the tyranny of choice;
• Streaming Media – global distribution of local issues;
• Video Art – commerciality vs. establishmentarianism;
• Reality TV – Plato’s cave: the values of television in an age of
• Documentary futures – the personalisation of distribution;
• The death of Cinema – digital exhibition technology and
corporate control;
• Policing the State – video technology and the tools of control.

New Approaches in Animation

Through a series of seminars and lectures students will engage with
ideas and work that allows them to explore new approaches to
Animation and Animation Design.
An indicative sample of the themes covered is listed below:
• Animation Underground – study of the work of leading
animators and artists currently working outside the animation
mainstream as ‘rebel’ animators;
• Computer Game Gorillas – how game hacking and the
‘bedroom whiz kids’ are reshaping the face of computer
• My life in 3D – how our culture has turned to live in digital
worlds, and abandoning our ‘real’ lives. Explorations into the
world of online and immersion games and virtual

Faculty of Communication Media Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

environments and the cost of social breakdown;

• Digital Horizons – with the ever increasing demand of

technical wizardry with the features industry, is animation as
art becoming animation as science;
• Animation in the 3rd world - how western studios incorporate
eastern production lines, and how this may shape the future
of mainstream animation.

Research Project
In order to prepare students for this element of the unit students will
receive a series of lectures covering the following topics:

• An introduction to the basic research techniques and

• Research intention, methodology and process;
• Desk research (the use of secondary sources such as books,
magazines, newspapers, the internet etc);
• The value and appropriate use of discovery research (the use
of primary or empirical research such as observation,
experiment, experience and experts/people).

In order to pass this Level 2 unit, students must show that the
following learning outcomes have been achieved:

Knowledge and Understanding

1. Understand how the conventions of their specialist field shape

media products and practices; (LO1)
2. Be familiar with the full range of practice and the creative
frontiers of their specialist field including the conventional,
unconventional and the experimental. (LO2)
Unit Learning
Outcomes Skills

3. Locate their personal practice within the broad range of

creative possibilities and contexts within their specialist fields;
4. Carry out an independent study of a particular area; (LO4)
5. Articulate ideas and information orally and in written form;
6. Carry out research that integrates work based learning with
academic knowledge through the use of appropriate sources
and questions. (LO6)

Faculty of Communication Media Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

This unit will make use of the following:

• Tutorials for formal, individual support;

• Lectures or workshops, for group instruction, demonstration
or studio work;
• Seminars, as a context for group discussions and group
• Directed, specialist reading to encourage independent
Teaching and learning;
Learning • Study visits to galleries, museums, collections, professional
Strategies studios, city locations, film showings or theatrical events may
be used for in situ discussions or direct experience of
designs, artefacts or people;
• Guidelines (brief, select hand-outs) intended to inform and
aid students during independent study;
• Individual dyslexia support and language mentoring as

Students are also encouraged to make independent study visits to

galleries, museums, professional studios and other sites.

Formative Assessment
Students will give a presentation to a seminar group on a topic
relating to the course during the first part of the unit. This
presentation will last approximately 10 minutes and will be
accompanied by related hand-outs and audio visual materials, which
will be submitted as part of the assessment.

Summative Assessment
Students will complete an Independent Project in the form of a
document of about 2000 words with a bibliography. They will be
asked to submit a research plan detailing the project’s lead question
and a strategy (plan of contacts, sources etc) before beginning their

Assessable Elements Percentage of Final Grade

Presentation 30%
Independent Project 70%

Faculty of Communication Media Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

Students will be assessed on:

• The degree to which they have displayed knowledge and
understanding of their chosen topic; (LO1)
• Reflection on new areas and how they how they are related
to practical work based knowledge; (LO2)
• Organisation of ideas and the ability to relate them verbally
to a group using appropriate supporting visual/audio
materials. (LO5)
Assessment Independent Project
Criteria • Their ability to articulate their findings and conclusions in a
structured and well-argued report; (LO5)
• Their ability to demonstrate a sound understanding of the
salient issues involved in the chosen area of study; (LO1,
• Their ability to relate academic knowledge to the work based
application of practical skills; (LO6)
• Their ability to relate their personal practice to the area
chosen for independent study; (LO3)
• Evidence of the development of a plan and the ability to
deliver work within a timeframe. (LO4)

Reading List New Approaches to Sound

Schafer, Murray, R. (1994): Soundscape: Tuning of the World.


Kahn, Douglas (1999): Noise, Water, Meat. MIT Press.

Lander, Dan. and Augaitis, Ed (ed) (1994): Radio Rethink: Sound,

Art and Transmission. Banff Centre Press.

Sider, Larry (ed.) (2003) Soundscape: The School of Sound

Lectures, Wallflower Press.

Savran, David (1998). Breaking the Rules: The Wooster Group.

Theatre Communications Group.

Nyman, Michael (1999). Experimental Music. Cambridge University


Strauss, Neil (ed.) (1994): Radiotext(e), Semiotext(e).

Faculty of Communication Media Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

Toop, David (2004): Haunted Weather: Music, Memory and Silence,

Serpents Tail.

Toop, David (2002). Oceans of Sound, Serpent Tail.

Whitehead, Gregory and Kahn, Douglas 1994). Wireless

Imagination, MIT Press.

Daoust, Yves. (1993) Anecdotes, Empreintes Digitales.

Donnes, Etant. (1992) Blue, Unknown label.

Hellfish and Producer (2000) Meat Machine Broadcast, Planet Mu.

Kid 606 (2001) The Action Packed Mentalist Brings You The
Fucking Jams, Violent Turd.

Normandeau, Robert. (2001) Sonars, Rephlex.

Panacea (2001) Squaremeter, Unknown label.

Various Artists (2000) Clicks and Cuts I, Mille Plateaux.

Various Artists (2000) eXcitations, Empreintes Digitales.

Various Artists (1992) Electro Clips I, Empreintes Digitales.

Various Artists (2001) Electro Clips II, Empreintes Digitales.

Various Artists (1999) You’ve Got the Fucking Power, Digital


Watson, Chris. (1998) Outside the Circle of Fire, Touch.

Watson, Chris. (2003) Weather Report, Touch.

Oswald, John. (1995) Plunderphonic, Seeland.

“Sonic Outlaws” Director Craig Baldwin (1995). Other Cinema.


Negativland. (2005) No Business, Seeland.

New Approaches to the Televisual/Film

Anderson, B. (2004) News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment and the

Bottom-line Business of Broadcast News, Jossey Bass Wiley.

Faculty of Communication Media Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

Corner, J. and Rosenthal, A. (Eds.) (2004) New Challenges for

Documentary, Manchester University Press.

El-Nawawy, M. (2003) Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network That Is

Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism, Basic

Manovich, L. (2002) The Language of New Media (Leonardo), MIT


Murray, S. (2004) Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture, New

York University Press.

Street, J. (2001) Mass Media, Politics, and Democracy, Palgrave.

Sturken, M. and Cartwright, L. (2000) Practices of Looking: An

Introduction to Visual Culture, Oxford University Press.

Walker, J. (2001) Art in the Age of Mass Media, Pluto.

Documentary Filmmakers Group (DFG): DFG is a comprehensive

resource in the UK serving the needs of documentary filmmakers
and all those interested in documentary film

Post Video Art: For artists and experimental filmmakers, offering

festivals information, video art gallery lists, artists' links, and a forum.

Video Data Bank (VDB): The VDB distributes videotapes by and

about contemporary artists. The VDB collection consists of video art,
CD-ROMs, documentaries and taped material

New Approaches in Animation

Alexander, T. (2005) Massively Multiplayer Game Development 2

(Game Development), Charles River Media.

Beck, J & McFarlane, T. (2003) Outlaw Animation: Cutting-Edge

Cartoons from the Spike and Mike Festivals, Marvel Entertainments

Faber, L. and Walters, H. (2004) Animation Unlimited: Innovative

Short Films Since 1940, Harper Collins.

Friedl, M. (2002) Online Game Interactivity Theory with CDROM

(Advances in Computer Graphics Hardware), Charles River Media.

Faculty of Communication Media Definitive Document: 21 July 2006

Section 3

Ward, M. (2000) Virtual Organisms: The Startling World of Artificial

Life, Thomas Dune.

Wiedemann, J. (2004) Animation Now, Taschen.

Gonchar, N. and Roper Adams, J. (2000) Living in cyberspace:

recognizing the importance of the virtual world in social work
assessments, Journal of Social Work Education Fall. (Main web site resource) (International Animation Forum)

Research Project

Students compile their own subject-specific bibliographies aided by

their tutors. Texts that may be useful during the research process

Berger, A. (1997) Media Research Techniques, Palgrave.

Gunter, B. (2001) Media Research Methods: Measuring Audiences

Reactions and Impact, Sage.

Hansen, A, et al. (1997) Mass Communication Research Methods,


Jensen, K. (Ed.) (2002) A Handbook of Media and Communication

Research, Routledge.

Wright - Mills, C. (2000) On Intellectual Craftsmanship, an Appendix

in The Sociological Imagination, Oxford University Press. (First pub.

Study Guides and Module Outlines on Research Techniques (6 –

COMM1670), Making Notes (2 – STSK1020. Download from the
Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds.

Faculty of Communication Media Definitive Document: 21 July 2006