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MCH8169 : Digital communication for cultural institutions and organisations

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Areti Galani
  • Lecturer: Dr Gayle Meikle
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 75 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module aims to provide:
1. An introduction to the 'Cultural Sector’ (with emphasis on Museums, Galleries, Archives, Art and Heritage organisations) and its relation to digital communication.
2. An introduction on how the creation, appropriation and digital communication of cultural content is understood and practiced within cultural organisations (e.g. museums, archives, art organisations, performance groups, heritage community organisations etc.)
3. Skills and experience necessary in understanding and analysing the use of digital technologies for communication purposes among cultural organisations from a theoretical, empirical and professional perspective.
4. An introduction to digital audience segmentation in the ‘cultural sector’ domain.
5. Familiarity with debates and theory about digital cultural communication, participation, engagement and active citizenship.
6. The opportunity to reflect on how digital tools and platforms affect the representation of indigenous cultures and contested knowledge in the digital realm.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module focuses on digital communication in the ‘Cultural Sector’. It examines how cultural sector organisations (such as museums, archives, art and performance organisations, festivals, theatres, heritage community groups etc.) mobilise digital platforms, tools and practices to engage with a variety of audiences.

The module critically discusses key digital communication theories connected to the 'cultural sector'; the types of audiences that engage with cultural sector organisations digitally and their motivations; and how value is generated in the cultural sector through digital communication. Furthermore, the module uses examples and practical activities to explore different forms of digital storytelling and how cultural organisations create, appropriate and communicate cultural content.

The module aims to encourage students to consider the challenges and opportunities of digital communication for the Cultural Sector. It uses a range of contemporary and historical digital communication examples, case studies and international online projects (from museums, galleries and heritage organisations) to inspire students to explore how the cultural sector uses digital communication to share knowledge, make cultural goods accessible, promote culture and support audience participation and engagement.

Teaching and learning activities will include a variety of topics, such as:

Current theoretical approaches to digital cultural communication for the cultural sector; digital audience segmentation and audience motivations to engage with cultural organisations through digital means; debates and practices around cultural value and ownership of digital cultural content; cultural crowdsourcing; issues related to the representation of indigenous knowledge(s) on digital platforms and digital activist praxis in the cultural sector.

The module includes design workshops and contributions from cultural sector professionals with experience in digital cultural communication, who will introduce real-life case studies to the class.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00Lecture on-campus
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture31:003:00Talks from cultural sector experts. On campus.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials51:005:00Structured interactive learning materials delivered via Canvas to support on-campus lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion190:0090:00Reading, researching and writing module assessments
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading32:006:00Preparation for design/creative making workshops.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading82:0016:00Preparation for small-group teaching
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Seminars on-campus.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00Interactive design and creative making group activity. On campus.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study155:0055:00Independent study supported by reading and research recommendations delivered in the lecture materials and Canvas pages
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk31:003:00Module Intro.; Assessment Briefing; Module closure. On campus.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures: This is a teaching method to introduce students to the core content for this module and real-life case studies by external speakers, to achieve all of the knowledge learning outcomes.

Module talk: This teaching method will be used to introduce the module and brief students about assessment.

Lecture materials: This is a teaching methods to introduce students to core content related to the knowledge learning outcomes and to help students to extend and consolidate the on-campus learning.

Small-group teaching: This teaching method is intended to allow students to consolidate knowledge learning outcomes and to meet the skills outcomes through critically applying their new knowledge. It also allows students to practice all of the skillsets within the Graduate Skills Framework.

Workshops: This method will enable students work in small groups to tackle small-scale design problem relating to the topic of the module. It will help students to develop the intended skills outcomes of the module.

Directed research and reading activities: This teaching method enables students to prepare for small group teaching and workshops by undertaking structured guided study.

Independent study: This method encourages students to deepen their knowledge outcomes and to practice all skills outcomes, as well as applying cognitive/intellectual, self-management and interaction skills in particular.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M301,000 words; analytical writing about a recent cultural digital media initiative, project, and activity related to module content.
Essay2A703,000 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first assessment is a case study analysis, written in up to 1,000 words. The case study should be from a recent relevant example of a digital cultural communication project, initiative, activity, intervention by a cultural sector organisation. The case study should be chosen by the student and be publicly available and clearly relating to the themes of the module as well as the theories. Examples and advice in the choice of case study will be provided by the module leader.

The second assessment involves the writing of a 3,000-word essay to be selected from a list of questions relating to key topics and themes addressed on the module.

Critical thinking will be assessed across both assessments, as will academic research, writing and referencing skills.

Reading Lists