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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PECI2706 Cultural Flashpoints in the Performing Arts

20 creditsClass Size: 18

Module manager: Patrick Glen

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

PECI 2613

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module examines case studies from across the performing arts disciplines; theatre, dance, music theatre, film, popular music taking specific examples that may be seen to originate from creative and cultural flashpoints in the 20th Century. The works are examined within the socio-political framework in which they originated.It takes disputed works and artists and explore how they relate to time and place. Furthermore, it will assess their influence in the wider scheme by considering thematic and formal developments within a variety of subsequent works from each medium.


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

explore aspects of theatre, film, music and dance and relate them to a variety of contexts;
evaluate the impact of particular cultural artifacts on British and European culture within a given timeframe;
demonstrate cultural knowledge through a detailed study of an agreed and focused performance area;
apply appropriate historical, critical and comparative methodologies to the articulation and development of arguments;
identify and analyse key formal patterns, thematic concerns, and notions of performativity in each medium;
encourage nuanced and layered understanding of text and context through intertextuality;
demonstrate the ability to communicate to an advanced level in writing, utilising appropriate academic conventions and expressing ideas effectively;
differentiate between fact, interpretation, assertion and evaluation of performing arts opinions and theories.

Learning outcomes
a broadened knowledge of 20th century British and European performing arts activity applied through a defined contextual lens;
appropriate historical, analytical, critical and comparative methodologies for the articulation and development of specific arguments;
appropriate theoretical concepts for use as interpretive tools.

Skills outcomes
On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

demonstrate an ability to apply key themes and ideas from the scholarly literature and research in their chosen area of the performing arts;

analyse key historical trends influencing the development of their chosen genre;

undertake close analysis of specific examples within the genre;
analyse relevant social, cultural and political themes which have impacted upon the development of the performing arts;

demonstrate information retrieval skills, including the ability to gather, sift, synthesise and organise material independently and critically evaluate its significance.


Students will be presented with a range of case studies covering historically-specific areas within the performing arts in the 20th Century. Case studies might include:
Jazz and Swing as Propaganda
The new British theatre of the 1950s, John Osborne and Look Back in Anger,
1960s British New Wave film, Saturday Night Sunday Morning and A Taste of Honey
The Woodstock Era: Music as Social Protest
Punk rock during the mid- to late 1970s Sex Pistols, Stranglers, etc.
Indie Post-Punk & Margaret Thatcher’s Britain

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment14.004.00
Private study hours174.00
Total Contact hours26.00
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. 84hrs)
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

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PresentationGroup 15 min30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Alternative assessment is set according to individual circumstances and approved by Exams Tutor and Pro-Dean for Student Education

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 06/02/2024


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