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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

FOAH5000M Engaging the Modern City: The Civic Researcher

30 creditsClass Size: 40

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Once you have enrolled on this module, you will be sent an application form to complete. Once recived, please send this form back to Please be aware that your space is not assured on this module untill the form is approved by the Module leader .

Taking this innovative module, students will work in interdisciplinary research groups on project themes set by regional organisations, drawing on current debates, controversies and needs.

Liaising with the external organisations throughout the year, students will produce external-facing and research-led outputs that will benefit the partner organisation and the wider city of Leeds. Some of the partners include:
• Leeds Playhouse is a sector-leading organisation creating world class, relevant and compelling theatre with the power transform people’s lives.
• The Works Skatepark is a charitable organisation dedicated to the development of children and young people, with a 25,000 square foot indoor sports facility based in Hunslet an inner city area of south Leeds.
• The Performance Ensemble is a company of performers over the age of 60 from a range of different performance skills and diverse cultures. The Ensemble occupies the space between professional, amateur and community theatre practise, creating high quality performance.
• East Street Arts is an artist-led contemporary arts organisation working across the UK and EU. Their mission is to support artists to create work that brings lasting change to our everyday lives.
• South Asian Arts-uk is a centre of excellence in Indian Classical Music and Dance. For over 20 years the Charity has made a significant contribution to the UK cultural landscape and the education, celebration and evolution of South Asian classical music and dance.

Leeds-based organisations from politics, culture and the third sector will negotiate and co-articulate a ‘project briefs’ with student groups, who will then work with and adapt those briefs to the strengths and interests of their research skills and interests. The nature of the outputs will depend on the needs of each project, and may take the form of political, economic and cultural research, consultancy reports, data analysis, policy briefs, artistic interventions, exhibitions, online resources or other forms of survey, commentary, research and analysis which will be useful to the organisation and the wider civic community.

For further information about this module please visit the website.


The module will:
• allow interdisciplinary student groups to work on research and themes that have a civic and regional impact
• foster a sense of regional belonging within Masters’ students across ESSL and FAHC
• oblige PGT students to apply university scholarship and research to live, regional debates and develop civic awareness and interventions
• allow external partners to co-create module themes, activities and assessment
• use module activity and relationships to foster broader links with civic organisations for student education and research
• address neglected issues of PGT employability by linking scholarship and research to regional and societal needs, skills, issues and debates
• link module design to broader Cultural Institute and LITE initiatives, including the ‘civic curriculum’ agenda

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students will demonstrate:
• Competence in interdisciplinary, collaborative research that is relevant to aspects of regional culture, politics, society and economy
• A critical awareness of civic and cultural identity in the region, and the factors that influence it
• The facility to work within a public-facing research team, developing and delivering on a project brief in an ethical and professional way
• An ability to liaise with external partners on a research project, demonstrating skills in negotiation, co-working and project management
• A developed set of communication skills, including interpersonal, digital and presentation skills
• The ability to write in a sustained and reflective way about personal and team development


Semester 1 Activities

1. What is civic engagement and what does it mean for scholarship?
2. Personal skills assessment and implications for team working
3. Building positive relationships and managing conflict
4. Project management: scoping, developing and negotiating a project brief; project planning, milestones and delivery
5. Group tutorials: signing off project briefs & project planning
6. Research and consultancy skills; writing project proposals
7. Reflective thinking and writing; evaluation skills
8. Group tutorials on reflective logs

Semester 2 Activities

1. Selection of 2 practical workshops (with industry partners):
• Business modelling
• Ethnography& documenting
• Archiving
• Branding and social media marketing
2. Public engagement: presenting and showcasing
3. Group tutorials: Showcase & portfolio support
4. Showcase event

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours265.00
Total Contact hours35.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Working in research groups, students will use their ‘private study’ hours to develop project research, data and outputs in liaison with partner organisations.
This will entail a mixture of individual research work, and collaborative research, negotiation, editing and preparation. ‘Private’ study will therefore have a ‘public’ and ‘collective’ dimension.
The students’ ‘independence’ will be tested conventionally in relation to research initiative and planning, but also in relation to their ability to communicate professionally, work in teams and to adapt to the needs and interests of their partner collaborators.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be given:
1. on the group project outline, submitted in Semester 1, Week 10: academic leads will provide written feedback, with module leader(s) adding comment where relevant
2. on the reflective logs: module leaders will give feedback using online comments and suggestions, and collective appraisal of logs in workshop time
3. on project progress by the external partner(s) throughout, as part of liaison and project development
4. on project progress by peer research groups, during workshop time

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Reflective log1500 words (summary of fortnightly entries)20.00
Portfolio3000 words (group assessment)50.00
ProjectPresentation of project outputs, to external partners and peer students30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

1. Reflective Log (20%, Individual assessment)
Students will produce periodic (fortnightly) entries detailing their engagement with project developments. The emphasis will be on how this interacts with their own scholarly development and, critically, the enhancement of their wider skills e.g. communication, teamwork, project management. The log will be converted into a 1500 word summary, which will be assessed at the end of the module with reference to their log entries.

2. Portfolio, to include project proposal (50%, Group assessment)
This will be the major output and will be flexible so as to recognise the diverse nature of the projects likely to take place through the module. Students will collate their research and justify why their particular approach was used and how the final outputs/outcomes relate to the project brief. The project proposal itself will be submitted as part of the portfolio, but students will get feedback on this at an earlier stage (Semester 1, Wk. 10). The Portfolio might include, for example, creative outputs, audience evaluations, or reports but there will be a standard format for the justificatory section, ensuring parity across such a wide range of projects.

3. Project Showcase (30%, Individual assessment)
The final piece of assessment will be a group presentation at the end-of-module showcase. The assessment will be weighted 75% to the marks given by a panel (comprising academic leads and external leads) and 25% to peer marking. Students will each be given an individual mark to reflect their contribution to the showcase. Appropriate briefing will be given to external leads and the peer group in advance to ensure that they recognise how to apply the relevant marking criteria.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 21/05/2024


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