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7AAICC53 Media on the Move: Products and Power

Module convenor: Dr Virginia Crisp
Teaching pattern: Ten two-hour sessions
Module description:

This module refocuses the study of media on its material/immaterial properties and how media in both physical and virtual forms are enabled or prevented from moving around the globe. In doing so, this module will introduce students to theory that engages with the often ignored or invisible processes that are central to the wider media ecology. The module will demonstrate how power within the media is invariably in the hands of distributors/publishers and not, as is commonly assumed, artists/creators. Furthermore, the module will seek to explode the myth that media increasingly exists in virtual form by examining the continued existence of physical formats, the environment impacts of the technologies that enable smart phones, flat screen TVs and cloud services to exist as well as the problems associated with archiving media content in both virtual and physical forms. The module draws on the burgeoning fields of media archaeology, infrastructure studies and distribution studies to examine how media moves around the globe so that it might then be viewed, collected, archived and/or repurposed. While film and television will be a particular focus for the module, examples will also be drawn from across the games, music and arts industries to reflect the increasingly converged media environment. 

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • Examine the varying formal and informal process that enable and/or prevent the global circulation of media in both physical and virtual formats;
  • Interrogate the inherently material nature of media despite claims of a virtual media revolution;
  • Consider the (un)intended environmental, political and social consequences that arise from the production of the underlying hardware that enables consumer access to media content;
  • Analyse the powerful role that marketing has to play in deciding which media reaches audiences and in influencing consumer consumption habits;
  • Question the problems surrounding the preservation and archiving of media across varying physical and virtual formats;
  • Consider the continued role that traditional forms of censorship and certification have to play in dictating audiences’ access to media content.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate their ability to:

  • Understand the key role that marketing, publishing and distribution have to play in the cultural and creative industries;
  • Examine how traditional state/regional boards of censorship and certification operate and the challenges facing such organisations;
  • Critique the assumptions of immateriality underlying virtual formats and in doing so understand the environmental consequences of the way media is currently distributed and consumed;
  • Analyse how media might be discarded, reused, recycled and modified by audiences in ways either encouraged by producers/marketers or in antithesis to the intended purpose of the original media.
  • Consider how various media have been preserved in the past and might be archived in the future and the associated issues created whereby certain texts are saved whilst others are lost. 

Core reading

Core readings will draw from the following sources (amongst others):

  • Bilton, C. 2017, The Disappearing Product: Marketing and Markets in the Creative Industries, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Crisp, V. & Gonring, G. M. 2015, Besides the Screen: Moving Images through Distribution, Promotion and Curation, 2015, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Crisp, V. 2015, Film Distribution in the Digital Age: Pirates and Professionals, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Davies, R. and G. Sigthorsson 2013, The Creative Industries, London: Sage
  • Iordanova, D. & Cunningham, S. 2012, Digital disruption: cinema moves on-line, St Andrews: St Andrews Film Studies,.
  • Kerr, A. 2017, Global Games: Production, Circulation and Policy in a Networked Era, London: Routledge.
  • Lobato, R. 2012, Shadow economies of cinema: mapping informal film distribution, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Lobato, R. and J. Meese, 2016, Geoblocking and Global Video Culture, Amsterdam: Institute of Networked Cultures
  • Mingant, N., Tirtaine, C. and J. Augros. 2015, Film Marketing into the Twenty-First Century, London: BFI
  • Newman, J., 2013, Videogames, London: Routledge
  • Wroot, J. and Willis, A. (eds) (2017) DVD, Blu-ray and Beyond: Navigating Formats and Platforms within Media Consumption. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Wroot, J. and Willis, A. (eds) (2017) Cult Media: Re-packed, Re-released and Restored. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.


1 x 3000-word essay (75%)

1 x 1000-word extended essay plan (25%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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