Module code: DMAM001

Module Overview

This module engages with theoretical and cultural contexts for film, animation and digital arts. We do this not only by critically analysing current and future developments, but also by situating these within historical and philosophical debates and dialogues around creative arts in practice and creativity in general. Initial lectures will provide sessions on Research Methods for the Creative Arts, with a focus on the moving image. Some of these sessions will be drawn from the final year curriculum of the Digital Media Arts BA programme, and are likely to share content with its successor programme. Further sessions will explore contemporary debates reflecting this rapidly evolving area, and will be delivered by active researchers within the department and beyond.
The output of the module will be a research paper which complements and contextualises forthcoming work on the Final Masters Project.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

WEINBREN Jon (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 20

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 116

Lecture Hours: 16

Seminar Hours: 4

Tutorial Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 4

Captured Content: 4

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module will engage with a range of topics of contemporary and historical relevance to film, animation and digital arts practice, which could include issues surrounding representation, signification, identity and difference, as well as debates around authorship, spectatorship, democratisation and diversity. We will draw on relevant philosophical and theoretical contexts that not only frame current critical debate, but also inform contemporary creative arts practices.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Contextualising Research Paper 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

Students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to apply contemporary debates in film, animation and digital arts through the development of a complementary and contextualising research paper, which situates their forthcoming practical project in the discourse of ongoing creative and technological developments within their chosen field.

Summative assessment for this module consists of:

Contextualising Research Paper 

(1500 words)

Formative assessment and feedback is provided on a frequent basis through group discussions, debates, class presentations and tutorials.

In particular tutor feedback can be provided on drafts and works-in-progress prior to summative submission.

Individual tutorials are also provided; these can be both scheduled and -where practicable- on demand.

Module aims

  • Advance theoretical and critical skills for the analysis and practice of film, animation and digital arts
  • Engage critically with contemporary and historical debates in creative arts practice.
  • Provide a set of conceptual tools to advance critical and creative practices.
  • Facilitate individualised research to inform and contextualise an intended final masters project.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Analyse critical, conceptual and theoretical accounts of film, animation and digital arts practices and technologies, and evaluate their societal and experiential impacts. KCPT
002 Evaluate, articulate and demonstrate how creative arts technologies and practices inform and reflect contemporary social, political, cultural and philosophical debates. KCPT
003 Source, navigate, select, retrieve, evaluate, manipulate and manage information from a variety of sources KCPT
004 Originate novel ideas and research findings through analysis, review, evaluation and reflection KCPT
005 Advance bibliographical research skills and essay writing skills to a postgraduate level. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

A series of plenary lectures on relevant topics will be supported by seminars and discussions which facilitate curiosity, creativity, invention and original thinking. Students will be encouraged to formulate their own ideas in response to a particular topic and to engage with and interrogate theoretical cultural commentaries wherever they may be found – including but not limited to the ‘accepted’ academic literature. We anticipate the facilitation of lively debate.

In response to the module, students undertake their own research project to address a specific topic of their own interest in the context of the theoretical issues and concepts covered, directly linking the theoretical knowledge they develop to their own creative practice.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: DMAM001

Other information

Embedded alongside the specific knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences facilitated by this module are more general attributes which the university has identified as an ambition to develop in all students across all subjects and disciplines on offer. These are:-

  • Employability
  • Resourceful and Resilience
  • Digital Capabilities
  • Sustainability
  • Global Cultural Awareness


The following is an account of how this module addresses these ‘pillars’.



In general the MA Film, Animation and Digital Arts programme takes on students who are already eminently employable within the creative media industries, as they have most often developed a range of skills, both through previous undergraduate qualifications and through professional practice. The FADA programme boosts employability, raises the level at which students can gain positions and roles within the industry on graduation, and addresses well documented industry skills gaps. This module is delivered by tutors and specialists with significant industry experience and contacts, and the notion of ‘professional practice’ within a creative studio environment is a core attribute of the whole course and its components. The module developed a range of proficiencies appropriate to live action film, animation, games, and other associated areas of the media industries, by providing up-to-the-minute knowledge and understanding of tools and techniques used everyday in these fields at professional level. Equally important for employability within these areas (and often overlooked) is the development of ‘personability’: so that employers, collaborators, funders and commissioners want to work with you. We develop this by enabling students to work collaboratively and collegiately, in a supportive ‘studio-like’ environment in which we all work together to realise creative goals. We also facilitate plenty of networking opportunities, so that students get to meet and interact with future potential employers, collaborators, funders and commissioners. We also assist students to enter events and festivals so that their work is promoted and ‘seen’, widening opportunities and providing valuable peer esteem.


Resourcefulness and Resilience

Like others on the MA FADA programme, this module provides students with a number of challenges which reflect the current state of the art. Students need to respond to these with inventiveness and flexibility, and are often required to research their own solutions to given problems. The greatest resource for students on a postgraduate programme such as FADA is each other, and we encourage students to pool their knowledge and work together to come up with innovative methods to achieve a particular creative or technical goal. The studio environment and unfettered access to facilities and software facilitates this.


Digital Capabilities

The FADA programme is built on the very latest techniques and technologies, thus ‘digital capabilities’ very much comes with the territory. Contemporary Media Production is an inherently ‘digital’ affair of course, although we include more traditional techniques such as drawn animation, and drawing practice, as part of the offering.



It is incumbent on us all to reduce carbon footprints, and the film, animation and digital arts sector is no different. On all FADA modules, students are made aware of sustainable production practices both on-set and behind the computer. Students are shown best practices such as LED-based lighting, virtual production technologies to minimise crew and talent travel, recycling of sets and other materials, better transport choices, minimising of waste, and awareness of environmental and social effects on local communities and landscapes. These are embedded in various current industry initiatives such as BAFTA ‘Albert’, the ‘Screen New Deal’ production sustainability plan, and others. Furthermore, from a content viewpoint, many of the creative projects developed by students on the programme address environment and sustainability issues as part of their subject matter. We also work closely with the University of Surrey’s Institute for Sustainability to explore and promote the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. This module in particular will include specific content addressing local and global sustainability, including case studies of productions and best practice.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Film, Animation and Digital Arts MA(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.