Module code: SOC1062

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the ways that different visual media construct different visual cultures. Visual imagery in culture does not simply reflect reality, but is active in constructing certain realities and not others. Students will be supported in developing key skills in analysing and interpreting visual media, which may include photography, film and television, advertisements, music videos, video games and other digital imagery. The module provides students with an introduction to visual methodologies, as well as to different ways of thinking about visual culture and the construction or subversion of social difference. The module therefore also acts as an introduction to visual politics.

Module provider


Module Leader

GRIFFITHS David (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

This module will focus on the role of visual media in visual cultures and visual politics. Students will be introduced to theoretical perspectives on the role of visual media in constructing, communicating, and perhaps subverting certain ways of thinking about social differences. These social differences may change each year as the course is updated, but may include race, gender, sexuality and class. Students will be introduced to a range of visual methodologies, and encouraged to think about how different methodological tools are needed for different visual media. Students will get the opportunity to employ these visual methodologies on a range of different media, including photography, film and television, advertisements, music videos, video games and other digital imagery

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Collection and Commentary 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy has been designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes associated with this module. 

There is one summative assessment for this module and a formative assessment. 

The summative assessment is a media collection and critical commentary. Students will be supported in keeping an online media collection throughout the module. They will be expected to save examples of visual media to their own online space (using digital tools such as Padlet). Each week of the course, they will be provided with detailed guidance as to the kinds of media they can add to their collection that week. They will also be encouraged to add brief notes, reflecting on their own learning experience, noting any thoughts or questions they might have for class. This will allow students to come to class prepared for activities such as group work and discussions. At the end of the module, students will submit a link to the media collection, along with a piece of academic writing that constitutes a critical analysis and commentary on a small number of examples from their collection. Their analysis will draw on concepts, theories and texts from across the module. 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: 

  • Media Collection and Commentary,  (addresses learning outcomes 1 to 5) 

Formative assessment  

Students are strongly encouraged to submit a link to their online collection and a plan for their critical commentary on a date specified during the module. Following this, students will receive one-on-one and group feedback on their plans for the summative assessment. 


Students will take part in group tasks in class throughout the module, during which they will receive feedback. Detailed guidance on how to complete the summative assessment is given in class and on SurreyLearn. The weekly seminars will include peer-to-peer learning, but also engagement with the module leader for multiple opportunities for feedback. Students will be encouraged to share their learning journal periodically for informal feedback.  


Module aims

  • Provide students with an introduction to the important role of visual media in social life
  • Facilitate students to critically engage with a range of visual media, including photography, film and television, advertisements, music videos, video games and other digital imagery
  • Support students to select their own examples of visual media
  • Enable students to analyse these and other examples, through an introduction to visual methodologies
  • Encourage students to consider how different media construct, maintain and sometimes subvert social differences such as race, gender, sexuality and class

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of visual media and culture K
002 Outline relevant theories, concepts and research on visual media, visual cultures and visual politics CK
003 Select relevant examples of visual media to illustrate key concepts and debates KT
004 Demonstrate an understanding of how social difference is produced, communicated, maintained or perhaps subverts by visual media CK
005 Use digital technologies to select, organise and present examples of visual media KPT
006 Apply academic reading, writing and referencing to an analysis of different media CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to provide students with an introduction to key theories in visual media, cultures and politics. The course has also been designed to provide students with an introduction to visual methodologies and the space to develop these skills. This focus should equip students in future modules when analysing visual media. The weekly lectures will introduce students to key theorists, concepts and debates in visual media, cultures and politics. There will be required reading each week. Students' comprehension of the reading will be supported through lecture materials.

The seminars/workshops will provide the opportunity to discuss topics and ideas in depth, as well as gain experience in visual analysis. Students will encounter a range of teaching practices, including group work, independent work, close reading, creative tasks and more.

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: SOC1062

Other information

The Department of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:



Students will develop transferable skills such as analysis, critical thinking, and research and writing skills. The second assignment asks students to collate and curate a digital collection, which is then presented professionally along with a critical commentary. Understanding collection and curation is particularly important for careers in media, marketing and the arts.


Digital Capabilities

Students will engage with a range of digital tools over the course of the module. Finding and employing academic articles will be supported through platforms such as SurreyLearn, Surrey Search and Google Scholar. The first assessment will require students to conduct a discussion via the discussion board on SurreyLearn, and the second will require students to curate a digital collection via an online platform such as Padlet.


Global and Cultural Capabilities

Global media cultures are covered on the module, and effort has been taken to include scholars and readings from the Global South. Students will be encouraged to see their subject position as produced by specific localised media, but always part of a global flow of media. Module content includes how visual media can create and perpetuate stereotypes of different cultures, and how analysis can challenge this.



Students will be encouraged to think critically about how visual media plays a role in either supporting or frustrating positive changes in social equality, diversity and inclusion. The UN’s sustainability goals specifically includes gender equality, which is an explicit topic covered in module content.


Resourcefulness and Resilience

Students will be supported in developing their own and each other’s resourcefulness and resilience. Group activities in seminars, as well as the online discussion in assessment 1, will facilitate the development of students’ key skills in constructive feedback, group learning, and individual confidence.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% 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 2025/6 academic year.