Study Abroad and Exchanges



MCH2077 : Visual Culture

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1. A comprehensive understanding of the role of visual forms of communication in contemporary
society, supported by an understanding of historical visual cultures foundation of historical knowledge.
2. Modalities of accessing, researching and comprehending visual acts of communication.
3. Skills and experiences necessary in understanding and generating visual acts of communication.
4. The ability to recognise and discriminate between various types of visual communication.
5. An understanding of the specificity of visual contexts encountered in a social and political context.
6. Familiarity with debates about contemporary visual art and new media.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction. Reading the visual: analytical tools and theories 1
Reading the visual: analytical tools and theories 2
Art as visual culture, or art and visual culture?
Visual culture, commerce and consumption
The photograph: histories, meanings, mobilities
Exhibitionary Politics
Visualising time and place
Images and Cultural Memory
The visuality of protest
Religion and the visual
Offensiveness, taste, censorship
Module review: images and realities

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Essay
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Portfolio Preparation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion116:0016:00Presentation preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading123:0036:00Weekly seminar reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study401:0040:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures in the module will introduce students to various aspects of contemporary visual culture. The module will
draw attention to the prevalence of visual acts of communication in everyday life and will offer strategies to enhance
the understanding of such instances of communication.
The examples of case studies will consolidate the appropriation of research methods that have applicability for an
integrated approach to media studies, cultural studies and communication studies. Students will be constantly
presented with the interdisciplinary implications of analysing visual culture and will be made aware of avenues for
more in-depth study of the area.
The module will review a wide range of aspects of visual instances (painting, photography, advertising, film,
television, new media, design, architecture, urbanism), looking at the political, cultural and social contexts in which
they are produced and interpreted.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation152M25Contextualise, interpret and analyse a visual text.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A502,000 words
Portfolio2M25Part 1 - evidence of group presentation research and planning Part 2 - 2 x critical responses of 500 words (1,000 words in total)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

1. Students will have to give a presentation in which they contextualise, interpret and analyse a visual text (to be agreed with module and/or seminar leader). This assesses critical and analytical skills alongside communication
skills. The presentation is also the basis for a short portfolio summarising and reflecting upon the research and planning, intended to evidence critical ability and written/visual communication skills.

2. Students will write a 2000-word essay EITHER relating the use of images to specific theoretical, socio-historical and contextual issues OR critically assessing a particular theoretical approach or tradition. The analytical essay will allow students to make proof of analytical and critical skills, to develop their information literacy and practice their writing skills. They will demonstrate a thorough understanding of theory and its applicability to other areas, its importance in developing research, as well as its limitations. Alongside this students’ research skills, problem solving abilities, adaptability and initiative will be tested. Students will have to show a thorough understanding of specific research methods used in the area of visual culture, to apply these methods and to present their findings in a coherent, credible and convincing essay.

Reading Lists