BA(Hons)
Media Culture and Practice

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About this course

Introduction

BA(Hons) Media Culture and Practice aims to develop, challenge and inspire your understanding and practice of media in its contemporary cultural context: half your time is spent producing media, the other half studying it in this wider context. The staff are all active researchers, media producers and writers, and Bristol is home to both major and independent media organisations, so we use these connections to enhance your learning. The course includes field trips, work placements and visiting speakers, while our location in an art school gives you access to a wide range of technical facilities. The course will nurture and challenge your critical, creative, theoretical and practical abilities and enable you to discover and develop your own specialist interests and expertise.

We are located in a large, vibrant, creative city with a big student population, and many festivals - including international games festivals, music festivals and graffiti art festivals. As an undergraduate you will be encouraged to engage with the cultural life of the city, through our own Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC), through written research projects, media productions (video, photography, web) and work placement.

We select bright, creative and flexible students who do not always have media production experience or media studies qualifications, but have strong interest in writing about and/or making contemporary media. You may have a background in creative and critical subjects in the arts and humanities, or be able to demonstrate strong engagement with visual or online media (your own YouTube channel, blog or website, for instance).

The creative industries make up nearly 10% of the UK economy. This course is designed to prepare you for this rapidly changing environment. Our recent graduate employability and student satisfaction statistics are excellent. Students appreciate the supportive and friendly staff, the mix of theory and practice, and being surrounded by talented and inspiring people.

Employers appreciate our graduates' ability to question, challenge, and innovate. Recent graduates say that they left the course feeling well-prepared: they now work in a wider range of fields, including studio and production managers, videographers, communications officers, marketing officers, digital media managers for charities, media educators and online journalists.

Find out more on our Media Culture and Practice blog.

>> Structure

Structure

Content

The BA (Hons) Media Culture and Practice is designed to develop your core professional skills while giving you the opportunity to explore and find your own interests and focus. On this course you produce creative digital media projects alongside written cultural research. We emphasise the importance of critical thinking, social engagement and experimentation. Although a number of media studies courses claim to integrate theory and practice, here the two really are closely related and central to the programme: academic staff work closely with technical instructors and you will develop skills and expertise in writing for different contexts and audiences, skills in media production and project management. You will gain real-world experience through the work placement module, and the course will develop your abilities in reading, research and presentation. The study of visual screen media and their audiences is a strong element within the course, with a particular focus on new forms of television, mobile media, advertising, music, and video games. At all levels, a team of highly skilled instructors and technicians support your production work, and all of the teaching staff are experts in our field.

The course is structured in modules (which are units of assessment or courses). These are either 12 or 24 weeks long. The amount of time you will need to be in class (contact time) varies according to the number of credits the module is worth, but most modules will have 3 to 6 hours contact time per week - and you do between 3 and 5 modules per year. Each one might include weekly lectures, discussion groups (seminars) and workshops where you make work and learn new technical skills.

Year 1

At level one you will be introduced to key techniques in, and theories of, digital media practice, particularly photography, video and web media. You will look at media production in the age of social networks and Web 2.0, exploring this through your own group media project. Taking the city of Bristol itself as a case study, you will analyse its media and consumer culture and the lived experience of its citizens, through field trips and audience research. You will be introduced to key theories and histories of media and culture, and key methods for studying and analysing them. The emphasis is on expanding your foundation knowledge and abilities. The modules you take include Contemporary Digital Practice, Experience and Identity, and The City and Network Culture.

Year 2

Level two asks you to focus your media production work, technical expertise and critical understanding in the development of innovative individual and group work. The emphasis is on experimentation and exploration. The module Mediated Lives looks at changing ideas of humanness, and changing forms of social life in relation to new developments in media and technology; Screen Media looks at the rapid changes in contemporary screen media and their historical development, starting with a focus on television; Creative Cultural Research invites you to employ a range of research methods to explore contemporary media in their urban, domestic and global contexts and through the lived experiences of their audiences. You will develop an ambitious research project to be conducted on a residential field trip, and as part of your coursework you will engage with cultural practices might include working with a music or film festival, a community group, organising a cultural event, or a study of a cultural institution. As well as these research and writing based modules, you will begin to specialise in media production through modules in video, photography or web design. These modules include aspects of the history and theory of these media but with a view to you producing your own portfolio of work in your chosen media.

Year 3

The emphasis in level 3 is on initiating and conducting substantial projects in digital media production, cultural events, and cultural and media research, and engaging with the world beyond university. The Work Placement module centres around a placement you undertake between level 2 and 3, working with an external company or organisation in the creative industries. You will have the opportunity to make a substantial digital media project of your own, to be exhibited in the Degree Show, and also to conduct a substantial written piece of work (dissertation), within one of the special topic areas offered by staff. Throughout the year you will develop specialist knowledge in the study of contemporary media and culture, honing your expertise in writing, media production and research.

Learning and Teaching

We employ a diverse range of learning and teaching methods, including lectures, seminars, small group discussions, screenings, practical workshops, field trips, student-led research, live briefs, blended learning (mixing classroom learning with online resources, communication and discussion) and individual tutorials.

For more details see our glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Assessment

There is a balanced mix of group and individual work, and you will be assessed through a variety of assignments including written work, digital media projects and portfolios, presentations, research reports, picture essays, and extended projects.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms .

>> Features

Special Features

Placements

Media Culture and Practice students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of their level three studies. Students have worked with a wide range of institutions and employers from Endemol (working on the production of Big Brother) and the Cannes Film Festival, to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta and the Arnolfini art gallery. We support and encourage student engagement with the regional creative and cultural industries throughout the course.

Study facilities

The new Media Hub at Bower Ashton campus supports studies in broadcast journalism, filmmaking and creative media and includes a newsroom, radio studios and post-production facilities. All students will use HD video cameras, digital SLRs, and industry standard software for photographic, video and web-based production on both Apple Mac and PC platforms. Full support and instruction is provided by our technical staff, all of whom are highly qualified and expert practitioners. We have close links with the Watershed Media Centre, the Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC) and the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, groups at the cutting edge of new media innovation and research. Senior researchers and PHd students in the DCRC teach on Media Culture and Practice.

Student-led researchThe Media Culture and Practice approach is highly distinctive in that you will work with staff as co-researchers from the start, recognising and challenging media conventions and received wisdom, through devising research based, experimental, informed and socially engaged projects.

International study You will have the opportunity to spend your final year with one of our international partners, which include Taylor's University in Malaysia and Hong Kong University.

Blended learning Staff on this course have developed award-winning online support, networking, and communication applications for our students.

>> Careers

Careers/further study

Media Culture and Practice graduates enter a wide range of professions in areas such as publishing, media production, journalism, the heritage sector (museums, galleries, etc.), marketing, teaching and events management. They have a diverse set of skills including specialist media production experience, the ability to communicate clearly through writing and to present ideas and information in oral presentations. They have extensive experience of team-work, self-motivation and time management. They are critical and creative thinkers, with the ability to analyse contemporary cultural phenomena with an understanding of their historical and social contexts. Many of our graduates choose to undertake postgraduate study.

Graduate destinations

To find out what our graduates are doing six months after graduating - including examples of careers, employers and further study - download a PDF from graduate destinations. Our graduates tend to work their way up within the creative industries. Examples of what our graduates are doing a couple of years after graduating include:

Communications Officer, International Film Festival Cinema Jove, Spain
Social Media Manager at Rockpack, London
Online Marketing Co-ordinator at the National Trust
Senior Web Access Consultant, RNIB
Leader of GCSE Media Studies at John Cabot Academy, Bristol
Outreach Officer (Post Entry and OFFA) at Keele University
Assistant Film Maker and Video Editor at CEMVO Southwest (Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations)
Studio Manager, Team Rubber (Bristol and London based creative media company group)
Production Manager at Tigress Productions (Monty Halls Great Irish Escape)
Head of Audience at Endemol, Bristol
Videographer / Motion Artist at Architect (Digital agency - London)
Director of promotional virals and ads for Cheekyfire.com
Photography teacher for Camp America
Staffing Team Assistant at Eden McCallum LLP (Management Consultancy company)
Model Booker at Gingersnap Creative Management

Creating employable students

UWE places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and UWE initiatives which nurture talent and encourage innovation, students gain valuable real world experience and graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

See great graduate prospects for further information.

Be inspired

Hear about Cat's experience of studying media and culture.

Read about some of the work opportunities generated by the Enterprise office .

Useful links

UWE career resources and downloads .

For up to date news and student work, please visit the Media blog.

>> Fees

Fees

Fee information

For information about fees and funding for courses please see our fees and funding pages.

>> Entry

Entry

Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 280
  • GCSE: Grade C or above in English Language
  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
  • Relevant subjects: English, Theatre Studies, Media Studies, Arts, Social Science
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: A minimum of DMM from the BTEC Diploma
  • Access: Achievement of the HE Diploma; to include 15 L3 credits at merit; achievement of Level 2 credits giving GCSE equivalency (where appropriate) in English Language. Applicants completing Level 3 credits in Art and Design are guaranteed an interview.
  • Baccalaureate IB:

    25 points

Entry requirements

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview where suitability for the course will be assessed.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications

For further information

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