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7AAIMI02 London Media Industries

Module convenor: Professor Paul McDonald

Credits: 20

Teaching pattern: 10 x 2 hour seminars

Module description:

As one of the world's leading centres for media, London forms a metropolitan hub in the global cultural economy. Focusing on London's media industries, this module positions the city within local, national, and global scales of analysis. Locally, the module examines how media businesses in London display patterns of clustering and sub-clustering, and assesses if London's media workers form a distinctive professional community. Nationally, the module is concerned with evaluating how London media are continually locked into relationships of collaboration and competition with media industries across the UK. Globally, the module interrogates the status of London in the international mediascape, establishing its status within the network of world media cities, and exploring how local arrangements are shaped by transnational flows of finance, products, technologies and labour.

To explore the links between these levels, the module introduces students to a range of terms for conceptualizing connections between media industries and cities, including 'media clusters', the 'creative class', the 'world media cities network', and 'media capitals'. Students evaluate the utility of these perspectives for conceptualizing links between London and its media industries. While the module focuses on London, comparisons are drawn with other major international or regional media hubs, e.g. Los Angeles, Rio, or Mumbai.

The module is delivered through a programme of lectures and seminars, and in certain weeks, invited media professionals or external academic speakers contribute to these sessions. Outside the lecture/seminar programme, students undertake a short fieldwork exercise aimed at exploring and observing first-hand some of the patterns in the clustering behaviour of London's media industries. Bringing together the aims and objectives of the module, the assessment task requires students to prepare comparative case studies of how the work of two London-based media companies or organizations is integrated into local, national and global networks for the production and circulation of media. These will be presented as a single coursework portfolio of 4,000 words that can be illustrated by images, maps or video and audio materials. Overall, the module explores London as a city that is home to, and formed by, its media industries.

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • establish a range of conceptual frameworks for understanding links between media industries and cities
  • identify how London’s media industries are situated within local, national and global networks for media production and circulation
  • examine patterns of localized clustering, sub-clustering and micro-clustering behaviour amongst London’s media industries
  • assess the extent to which media workers in London form a distinct professional class
  • evaluate how London contributes to and influences the conduct of the UK’s media economy
  • examine London’s place in the historical formation and consolidation of the world media cities network
  • identify how the operations of London’s media industries are shaped by globally extended flows of finance, cultural products, technologies and media labour
  • interrogate how local, national and global networks define the work of individual media companies or organizations in London
  • enable students to acquire and apply research skills necessary for independently analysing the organization and operations of London’s media industries

 Learning outcomes

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

  • articulate the importance of cities as hubs for media production and circulation
  • effectively employ specialized conceptual terms to understanding how London is placed within local, national and global media networks
  • apply fieldwork analyses to reflect on how the presence of media industries contributes to creating the geography, identity and life of London
  • critically evaluate the influence of London within the UK and global media economies
  • independently use case studies to analyse how the work of individual London companies or organizations is integrated into local, national and global networks for the production and circulation of media
  • access and synthesize complex, incomplete or contradictory evidence and data in presenting critically informed arguments


1 x 4,000 word coursework portfolio (100%)

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

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