Module Catalogue 2022/23

GEO2235 : Bosnia and Herzegovina Field Course

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Riding
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
GEO2043Key Methods for Human Geographers
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The Bosnia and Herzegovina cultural geography field course aims to introduce students to creative arts-based field techniques, providing students with an opportunity to critically study the varied geographies of this post-conflict state beyond often told narratives. Students are encouraged to creatively document this place and to create films, photo-essays, maps, performances, and stories that are not only about the war in Bosnia (1992– 1995) and the siege of Sarajevo (1992–1996) but are also about present-day struggles in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The arts are often seen as luxuries that must be sacrificed until basic needs for food, clothing, shelter and security are met and war tribunals have taken place. Yet recent studies suggest that artistic attempts at building peace and reconciliation can have a positive impact in the individuals involved and can in some cases provide a platform for local political and social change in post-conflict communities. While the artistic cannot, nor should it aim to, replace an everyday struggle for political change in post-conflict societies, art can and should be mobilised and harnessed as a force for change in individuals and in conflict affected communities. Engaging with the arts can generate, for both individuals and communities, for creators and audiences, special qualities of attention and response that could lead to more just futures.

The primary aim for students who choose this field course, is to produce a creative output – films, photo-essays, maps, performances, and stories about Bosnia and Herzegovina – and to reflect upon the use of creative arts-based methods as human geographers. To understand how to do this, students will be introduced to research in human geography and cognate subjects which examines how the past affects the present in a post-conflict state, exploring the use of creative arts-based methods in relation to reconciliation, peace-building, and transitional justice. When in Bosnia and Herzegovina, students will take inspiration from non-governmental organisations, innovative museums, and artists, considering the role of the arts in post-conflict societies. They will engage with existing creative, embodied, and artistic explorations of everyday life in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina, which students are introduced to in introductory lectures and in the field. The opportunity to learn from local peace-builders will guide the creative group project work – with students sharing a film, photo-essay, map, performance, or story with peers in a student research symposium at the end of the field course in Sarajevo. While visits to symbolic wartime sites and field excursions to places such as a UNESCO world heritage site – the old bridge area of Mostar – will provide further inspiration for creative outputs.

Outline Of Syllabus

•       Phase One (Semester 2):
o       Introductory lectures and film screenings on Bosnia and Herzegovina and creative methods
o       Preparatory group work and group presentation on creative methods and post-conflict societies
•       Phase Two (Semester 2):
o       Week-long field trip
Day 0 Travel to Sarajevo
Day 1 Arrive and tour of the city, visiting symbolic wartime sites
Day 2 Visit four innovative museums, group project work
Day 3 Talk by NGO and documentary photographer about multi-media peace-building, group project work
Day 4 Travel to Mostar and visit arts-based NGO, group project work
Day 5 Excursion to a symbolic place with invited talk to explore genocide, group project work
Day 6 Group project work, sharing creative output and assessed group presentations, surprise activity
Day 7 Departure
•       Phase Three (Semester 2):
o       Individual assessed essay on creative output and the use of creative methods in post-conflict societies

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

The cultural geography field course is for students interested in using arts-based creative methods, and provides students with a grounded knowledge of the spatial, cultural, and political processes that have shaped contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Students will be given the opportunity to create artworks and to be creative, developing a creative output in groups, learning and evaluating a range of creative methodologies and arts-based methods in human geography and the arts and humanities, particularly in relation to post-conflict societies.

Students will develop an empirically and conceptually rich critical understanding of the contemporary challenges of a post-conflict state by engaging with non-governmental organisations, innovative museums, academics, artists, and activists based in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Students will develop a critical understanding of their experiences through creative group project work in Bosnia and Herzegovina and they will be able to situate their creative work in the context of wider debates about geographies of post-conflict states and genocide.

Intended Skill Outcomes

•       Ability to work with others to gain information from experts, field visits and other sources
•       Ability to discuss field observations with peers, connecting these to academic literatures
•       Ability to work on own initiative to follow up themes and issues introduced on the field course
•       Ability to work with peers to produce a collaborative artwork and presentation
•       Ability to reflect on learning in the field

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1481:00148:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion61:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork58:0040:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The preliminary lectures and film screenings will serve as an introduction to the relevant literature on post-conflict states, cultural geography and creative arts-based methods, as well as the practicalities of studying in the field in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Fieldwork projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be undertaken with the aim of creating artworks in small groups and will be student-led, supported by study visits, guest talks and lectures, and structured workshops on creative arts-based methods.

Students are expected to be proactive in taking full advantage of the learning opportunities in the field course, and to represent the University positively at all times. The University’s General Regulation about absence and the Student Charter will be strictly enforced during the field course and attendance is compulsory at all timetabled activities scheduled on the field course. Students will be given a timetable for the week on arrival and must attend and participate in every scheduled session. Non-attendance or non-participation in any timetabled session during the field course without explicit prior agreement from the module leader will constitute unsatisfactory conduct, disengagement from the field-learning element of the module and non-compliance with the University’s Student Charter. Such conduct, particularly where it is linked with alcohol or substance use, may lead to the invocation of the University’s Student Disciplinary Procedure and / or its Fitness to Study Procedure.

On return to the UK, students should dedicate time to further reading for and production of the assessed written work.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M75Fieldwork paper (3,000 words): Independent academic paper on an aspect of the creative arts-based field work in Sarajevo.
Prof skill assessmnt2M2510 minute group presentation to peers: Groups will present their creative work to other students at the end of the field visit.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2MGroup presentation during final lecture before the field course on the use of creative arts-based methods in a post-conflict state.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Group presentations of creative work presented at a student research symposium at the end of the field course in Bosnia and Herzegovina will allow students to engage in debates with their peers and reflect on learning in the field and to collect feedback on their creative work before essay writing. The group presentation is a summative assessment and will be formally assessed, presenting an opportunity to assess and give feedback on students’ presentation and communication skills as well as their contribution to a collaborative project.

Students are expected to produce an academic fieldwork essay that reflects upon creating an artwork and using creative arts-based methods in a post-conflict state and is based on further independent study upon returning home from the field. This work will be undertaken independently in Semester 2, and is related to a film, a photo-essay, a map, a performance, or a piece of creative writing produced during the field course as part of group project work.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.