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FI109-15 Visual Cultures

SCAPVC - Film & Television Studies
Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
James Taylor
Credit value
Module duration
9 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module aims to give first year students in Film Studies an introduction to visual cultures and, in particular, to proximate media forms and questions of medium specificity.

Module aims

The module aims to complement and enrich students' year one work on film and television by exploring mediums proximate to television and cinema as well as by introducing students to the analytical and historical study of specific visual cultures. The term is divided into two units, a structure that allows for short intensive studies of discrete mediums, periods, genres, technologies, artistic practices, visual regimes, or mediascapes.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

In the first half of the module we focus on comics, a medium that is historically and aesthetically related to cinema, yet is also profoundly different in many ways. Students look at various kinds of comics from key points in the medium’s history to explore how formal, historical, industrial and cultural factors shape the medium. Studying comics enables students to consider how various kinds of image combine with other formal elements in visual culture, while the medium is also particularly pertinent to consider in the current media landscape where comics have provided source material for and influenced some of the most prominent texts and trends in popular culture.

In the second half of the module, we complicate ideas of medium specificity by considering ways in which different media can interact with one another. Students explore theories of adaptation alongside other concepts that have been developed to understand the complex interactions between texts and media that are evident in the contemporary media landscape.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Discuss and interrogate issues of medium specificity.
  • Make historical and theoretical connections and distinctions between visual media.
  • Mobilise theories that outline interactions between texts and media when critically analysing individual texts or groups of texts.
  • Reflect on the ways in which interactions between visual media have influenced the development of these media.
Indicative reading list

Full reading list available via Talis Aspire (link above)

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Subject specific skills

This module develops skills of audio-visual literacy, through close textual and/or contextual analysis in relation to the moving image and sound. It may also develops understandings of historical, theoretical and conceptual frameworks relevant to screen arts and cultures.

Transferable skills
  • critical and analytical thinking in relation
  • independent research skills
  • team work
  • clarity and effectiveness of communication, oral and written
  • accurate, concise and persuasive writing
  • audio-visual literacy

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Other activity 8 hours (5%)
Private study 84 hours (56%)
Assessment 40 hours (27%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

wider viewing and reading, and research in preparation for assessment

Other activity description

Film screenings


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A2
Weighting Study time
Essay 90% 35 hours
Group presentation 10% 5 hours
Feedback on assessment

Students will receive detailed written feedback on each piece of written work and on their assessed group presentations.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of UFIA-W620 Undergraduate Film Studies