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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMM5801M Urban Narratives

30 creditsClass Size: 32

Module manager: Dr Jim Brogden

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module has been designed to allow students to creatively engage with the Leeds urban landscape, through both photographic and cinematic practice, as well as to create the potential for a hybrid application of these two distinctive disciplines. The city is presented as a leitmotiv, to enable students to understand one of the key subjects within cinema and photography history. The changing dynamics of the urban landscape provides a challenging conceptual environment in which students have to reassess the relationship between people, the built environment, power, access, and the more abstract notions surrounding memory, and belonging etc. Two distinct projects will act as catalysts for students to investigate: architectural space and people in various locations within the urban landscape.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key critical theories associated with the photographic / cinematic / inter-medial representations of the city / urban landscape.
2. Employ lens-based media as a heuristic device for primary research into the nature of the city as a socio-cultural and political space.
3. Develop critical reflection in order to inform critical readings of various photographic / cinematic texts in relation to one's own practice.
4. Produce practice that demonstrates the synergies (where appropriate) between cinema and photography in the communication of creative ideas / concepts surrounding the urban landscape and its inhabitants.
5. Understand the sequential nature of both photographic and cinematic language to create various narratives in relation to different urban spaces.

Learning outcomes
Students will develop:

1. An understanding of key current debates in relation to the reflexive development of their contemporary practice.
2. An understanding of the various critical methodologies used by scholars / practitioners in their explorations / representations of the city / urban landscape.
3. An awareness of the urban landscape as a contested space, within a representational polemic surrounding the city as an aesthetic and socio-political arena.
4. A high standard of self-generated portfolio work and writing in response to specific project briefs exploring the notion of urban narratives.
5. The ability to plan, schedule, and sustain specific location projects in a creative way.
6. An awareness of the creative possibilities of post-production in relation to the treatment of ‘raw’ material collated from site-specific research.

Skills outcomes
Various skills related to photographic and cinematic practice, underpinned by primary location research and secondary theoretical research embedded in the notions of the city / urban landscape.


1) Historical Representations of the City
2) Psycho geography: Walking as Research
3) Anthropological Encounters
4) The Regeneration Game
5) Memory and the City: Approaching the Archive
6) New Topographies: The Legacy of the Ordinary
7) Text in the City: Cinema and Photographic Movements
8) Mapping the Urban Landscape
9) Third space and Other Urban Narratives
10) An Urban Spectacle: Work and Entertainment

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
Private study hours256.00
Total Contact hours44.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Two creative project briefs will facilitate two different creative approaches to the theme of urban landscape(s) / city, which encourages a direct / primary encounter with the subject, to explore and address the critical / creative problems inherent in each brief. There will be a directed study of published materials related to the main lectures within the module, in preparation for seminar discussions. Students will be advised to maintain a creative module logbook / critical diary, which reflects their critical engagement with the module, as a form of scholarly preparation for each group seminar. This process of reflection and documentation throughout the module will enable each student to continue to develop their own writing / research for the essay component, and the two brief project reports.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Will be achieved through various weekly seminar critiques of ongoing student work. One-to-one tutorials will also be scheduled (when appropriate) within the module delivery, to facilitate student self-evaluation / reflection on their own progress; each of the above will be facilitated by an appropriate use of SMC resources (including Minerva) to present student work effectively, to encourage peer debate. It is worth highlighting, that the lecture series will also provide students with a more extensive range of critical terms / language, to enable their own reflexivity / criticality to improve over the course of the module.

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
Portfolio2 x Photography projects. Short Films. Also hybrid outcomes etc.70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)70.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online MCQ1 hr 00 mins30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)30.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 13:36:40


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