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2011/12 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3246 Making Spectators, 1960s-present

20 creditsClass Size: 30


Module manager: Dr Helen Iball

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2011/12

Pre-requisite qualifications

Grade B at 'A' Level in English Language or Literature or equivalent or an achieved mark of 56 or above in a Level 1 module in English.

PLEASE NOTE:- This module is restricted to Level 2 & 3 students.

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

Making Spectators foregrounds the role of the spectator by exploring contemporary live 'interactive' arts, from their inception in 1960s 'Happenings' in the USA to their recent manifestations on the international arts scene and festival circuits, as 'immersive’' and 'intimate theatre', 'one-to-one' performance and 'autoteatro'.In looking at the creative, critical and ethical role of the individual spectator, this module takes issue with the convention of ignoring actual audience response in arts/theatre scholarship in favour of constructing the ideal or uniform spectator. It introduces alternative models with reference to key thinkers, writers and practitioners in contemporary 'interactive' arts.


This module will introduce students to key issues in spectatorship by exploring contemporary live 'interactive' arts from 1960s - present.

Learning outcomes
1) An understanding of key debates in contemporary arts spectatorship.
2) A critical awareness of the varied approaches to theatrical presentation that these debates have inspired.
3) A knowledge and understanding of performance works by a range of influential playwrights and practitioners.

Skills outcomes
- Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
- Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
- Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
- Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
- Critical reasoning.
- Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
- IT skills.
- Time management and organisational skills.
- Independent learning.


A contextualisation of audience studies, in an introductory lecture and in the first seminars, will prepare students for a consideration of alternative methods for understanding the spectator's role in the making and meaning of the work of art. We will be looking at the processes and choices that artists make in producing interactive art/theatre and evaluating those strategies both critically and creatively.

We will also be looking at critical and ethical questions arising from the creative agency of spectators who become participants tasked with facilitating the 'blueprints' provided by artists and the module will undertake an ethical review of interactive arts which are effectively making spectators participate.

Selected drama and performance texts will include: Tim Crouch’s The Author (2009) studied comparatively with Peter Handke’s Offending the Audience (1966); Ontroerend Goed’s Internal (2007) and The Smile Off Your Face (2004); Rotozaza's "autoteatro" pieces Wondermart (2009) and Etiquette (2007); Adrian Howells' Footwashing for the Sole (2009) and The Garden of Adrian (2009).

We will also consider UK companies producing "immersive" experiences, including Punchdrunk, Shunt and Coney. As stimuli for your second piece of assessed work, two or three case studies will introduce further perspectives on spectatorship. These will be selected from the following list of artists, playwrights and theatre companies: Marina Abramovic, Howard Barker, Blast Theory, Sophie Calle, Forced Entertainment, Allan Kaprow, Welfare State, Wrights & Sites.

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
Video & Discussion12.002.00
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Seminar preparation, reading, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Contribution to seminars
- 1st assessed essay.

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
Essay2,250 words50.00
EssayEITHER a 2,250 word essay OR a performance 'blueprint' in paper or digital form50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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: 14/03/2012


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