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Screen Media: History, Technology and Culture


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Dorota Ostrowska
  • Assessment: a 2000-word essay and practical multimedia exercise (0%) and a 3000-word essay (100%)

Module description

The digital turn has been a moment of redefinition of our understanding of all aspects of moving image culture. On the one hand it demanded rethinking of the existing models of visual cultures and on the other hand it enabled new forms of media practice. In both cases there was a need to develop new conceptual frameworks for understanding both the existing and new media phenomena.

This core course presents the history of audio-visual media from the vantage point of the contemporary digital media practices and creates both a conceptual and practical bridge between the two. The module is thought of as blocks where historical examples of media practice are compared and contrasted with the new phenomena enabled by the digital technology in order to discern continuities and ruptures between the two.

You will explore issues around subjectivity, affect, representation, narrative and new media forms in an attempt to offer a much needed historical dimension to our understanding of the digital and the ways in which the digital has transformed our understanding of media history and disrupted it in many ways.

The course aims to foster critical skills through traditional essay writing but also through practice thus creating a basis for practical forms of research.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Media Archaeology in the Digital Age
  • Actuality Films and Early Cinema
  • Personal Cameras
  • Early Radio, Broadcasting and Sync Sound
  • Audio Cultures of New Film Formats
  • Avant-garde, Artist Films and Essay Films
  • Making Cinema Histories: Creating the Moving Image Canon
  • Navigating and Re-creating Media Histories: Databases and Digital Platforms
  • Field trip to archive