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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PECI1707 Exploring the Performing Arts

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Phil Kiszely

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module is aimed at challenging traditional attitudes towards the analysis of the performing arts. No art exists in a vacuum and yet conventional analysis can treat it as such. The arts are too often examined in isolation and yet that is seldom the way in which they were conceived or are performed today. The module therefore presents a range of contextualised case studies drawn from Dance, Drama, Music (Classical and Pop), Film and Musicals drawn from iconic performances from the turn of the Twentieth Century to the present day. The purpose is to make you students question what the performances reflected at the time of their creation? How were the artists influenced by the world around them? Does the socio-political context of the time manifest itself in their work? How do they speak to the audience of today? How do meanings changeover time? Etc.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
Understand the basic critical frameworks for the examination of theatre, film, music and dance and relate them to a variety of contexts;
Demonstrate cultural knowledge through a detailed study of an agreed and focused performance area;
Begin to apply appropriate historical, critical and comparative methodologies to the articulation and development of arguments;
Recognise key formal patterns, thematic concerns, and notions of performativity in the relevant medium;
Demonstrate sensitivity to socio-political influences on the performing arts.
Analyse recent trends in the performing arts

Learning outcomes
Awareness of generic analytical approaches to the performing arts.
Familiarity with appropriate methodologies to discuss and present contextual analytical case studies in the performing arts.
Understanding and utilisation of the basic vocabularies appropriate to the genre under discussion
Acquaintance with the structural/formal conventions appropriate to the chosen genre
Discussion of key socio-political contextual themes within their analysis(es).

Skills outcomes
On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
demonstrate an awareness of the scholarly literature and research in the area of performing arts;

demonstrate an understanding of the history of performing arts
undertake analysis of specific examples within the genre;

demonstrate an understanding of the interaction between the key theatrical, narrative and structural elements appropriate to the chosen genre;

show an awareness of the social, cultural and political significance relevant to their chosen case study.


Indicative themes and structure :

Debunking Elitism: (What is art? Culture? Cultural analysis?)
Myth & adaptation: (From Stage to Hollywood)
The sum is greater than the parts: (Ballets Russe)
Kitchen Sink Drama: (Social Realism and the New Wave)
Censorship and Performance: (Theatres Act and Hair)
Creativity and the Politics of Repression: (Shostakovich & Jooss)
Entertainment or Exploitation? (Lloyd Webber and Reality TV)

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment14.004.00
Private study hours176.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparation for Taught Sessions (c. 20hrs)
Preparatory reading, listening and viewing of exemplars is required for most lectures

Review of Taught Sessions (c. 20hrs)
Taking careful notes: to keep the information needed for later use and to check understanding
Reading of slides and follow up materials posted on the VLE for most taught sessions.
Organising notes. Looking for common patterns and obvious gaps that need to be filled.

Planning and Researching Assignments (c. 86hrs)
Gathering of resources: books, journal articles, electronic resources – to complete the assignments
Reflective reading: ensuring students draw on a good range of resources and compare different angles.
Critical examination of sources - looking out for different points of view from different scholars and asking ‘who is right, and why?’ Looking for hard evidence to support ideas
Extensive research into chosen topic (supported by small group seminars)
Collectively negotiating content and responsibilities for group presentation.

Presentation of Assignments (c. 50hrs)
Reflective writing: drafting, completing, proof-reading the essay and complying with appropriate presentational styles.
Creating and checking presentation materials, rehearsing presentations, etc.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution to classes.
Discussion with tutors (as appropriate)
Specific assignment support in small group seminars

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,500 - 4,00070.00
PresentationGroup circa 15 minutes30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Alternative assessment is set according to individual circumstances and approved via Exams Tutor and Pro Dean SE

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:43:25


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