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Film Cultures BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time P306 2018

Why choose this course?

Film Cultures is a new BA programme, building on Kingston University's long reputation at the forefront of film education in the UK. It offers integrated modules covering the history, technology, industry, audiences, and aesthetics of the moving image, and engages with the rapidly changing visual culture of the 21st century.

The degree explores film not as an isolated medium, but as part of a dynamic matrix of cultural influences, in relation to fashion, design, dance, literature, the visual arts, photography, television, digital art and video games. It studies the ways in which film can both shape and be shaped by its surrounding political contexts. It engages with film in settings and on platforms far beyond the traditional movie theatre, including music video, apps, animation, viral clips and advertising. It explores the relationship between film and other, closely-related cultural forms, across history - from its origins in ‘pre-cinema' to contemporary ‘post-cinema' - and engages with a range of theoretical ideas, from representation to spectatorship, identity and ideology, and the interaction between the camera and the body.

To echo this innovative approach, the degree fosters creative problem-solving skills and integrates professional practice into its modules through a variety of forms of assessment. It encourages you to consider critically how film is structured, produced, interpreted, screened, programmed, curated and written about in contemporary culture for a variety of audiences, from museum and gallery visitors to digital consumers and festival-goers. It trains you in the critical skills that are highly desirable to employers, and supports you throughout to gain confidence as independent learners.

The course will complement the BA filmmaking course in Kingston School of Art by appealing to students who are interested in the many film and creative industry roles beyond practical production, such as festival programming, museum and exhibit curation, and promotion and copywriting around visual culture.You will be encouraged to develop a range of skills to articulate your ideas in written, oral and visual form across a variety of formats, allowing you to develop yourself for a career in the film or creative industries.

What you will study

In year one you will be introduced to key issues and approaches for the study of film within the wider context of visual culture. You will begin to develop your written and analytical skills through a variety of modes of assessment from writing portfolios to presentations, research journals and traditional essays.

Four core modules run throughout the year, with two assessment points for each module. You will be supported to learn through lectures, seminars, workshops, screenings and tutorials. You will also be given inductions to ‘hackspace', Kingston School of Art's open access workshops where you will also be encouraged to take advantage of Kingston's world-renowned facilities. You will be encouraged from the outset to rethink the boundaries between film and other forms of culture, thereby equipping you for employment in the ever-growing film, creative and cultural industries sector.

In year two, you will develop a more sophisticated and focused understanding of your subject area. You will study four modules across the year, again with a variety of assessment methods. However, in this second year, module content develops a closer relationship to the contemporary and vibrant research culture within Kingston School of Art through classes delivered by its leading research scholars. Professional practice is also foregrounded in year two, as you will have the opportunity to learn from industry specialists in a range of fields such as film journalism, scriptwriting, festival management and archiving, and to develop your own portfolio of written work.

Throughout this year you will begin to apply your critical skills to industry practices such as film curation and programming. You will build on your communication skills through various forms of writing and presentation.

Year three is a ‘capstone year' during which you will complete a self-designed dissertation project. You will use the critical and analytical skills developed across years one and two, to research a topic of your own choice. Other modules will help you to manage your research and introduce you to further ideas and ways of working that may influence your career choices. Research is key throughout the third year, in both the modules delivered by some of Kingston School of Art's top research staff and in the increasing focus on your extensive, independent study.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • This module will equip students with the key analytical tools to examine and discuss the visual image, and then introduces some of the key theoretical approaches necessary for understanding the industry, history, technology and aesthetics of film and its relationship with other cultural forms.

  • This module takes students from the pre-history of film, and its 19th  century origins in photography, science and optical toys, through to the post-digital, multi-platform era of the 21st. Encompassing both Hollywood and key cinema movements from around the world, the module will explore the development of cinema in relation to its surrounding culture. It looks at how technological and economic changes shaped film throughout its history, and how it evolved into its current form.

  • This module asks where the real meaning of popular stories lies - with the original author, or with the audience's interpretation. It begins by exploring theories of authorship in literature, and traces the development of these ideas through the film studies of the 1950s and 1960s to concepts of the ‘showrunner' in contemporary television. It then surveys the ways in which screen audiences have been studied, from World War Two propaganda to present-day work on fan videos and fan edits, mash-ups and tributes.

  • This module will explore the many and complex ways that the human body has been fundamental to the history of the moving image. Drawing on a range of examples from early photography through 1920s fashion, slapstick, Hollywood stardom, the musical, costume design and the CGI actor, the module takes students through the history of the body on screen, and encourages them to think critically about its representation in terms of gender, race and ability.


Year 2 (Level 5)

  • This module will strengthen and enhance students' understanding of visual representation and its aesthetic, social and cultural power through close, detailed analysis of key examples drawn from cinema and other art forms. We explore film as a signifying system which uses images and sound to create complex and richly suggestive meanings that shape our understanding of the world.

  • What artistic innovation has emerged from the diverse cultures of 'world cinema'? The module explores the dynamic between local and global, and the need to balance cultural specificity with a more cosmopolitan appeal. It examines the changing relationship between world and national cinemas, the influence of Hollywood and American culture, and new trends from other media and visual art forms that might resist this dominance.

  • This module explores key debates in the critical understanding of film in relation to the broader visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. It will allow students to become increasingly specialist in their research interests in preparation for the dissertation in year 3. In parts of the module, they will have the opportunity to learn alongside and collaborate with students on the BA Filmmaking course.

  • Students will have the opportunity to work with a series of guest professionals from the film cultures industry, including festival programmers, reviewers, scriptwriters and journalists, to develop their own portfolio and shape their future career aspirations.


Year 3 (Level 6)

  • The module explores the relationship between politics and the image, from a range of critical approaches including post-colonialism, post-modernism, and post-humanism. We look at a range of films that run counter to dominant discourses in relation to race, gender, sexuality and the body, including mainstream and European cinema, science fiction and neo-noir.

  • This module develops students' understanding of production design in film, including animation, costume design and title sequences, in relation to related fields such as visual art, video games, theatre and architecture, and encourages them to examine its aesthetic, technical, and cultural effects.

  • This module is research-led and changes year on year in response to changes in the industry and the research environment. Students will be able to create a range of responses to the module in their assignments, including the production of media artefacts accompanied by critical commentary.

  • Students will be supported to design and carry out their own research project and to complete a written dissertation on an appropriate subject of their choice.


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

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This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

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*5p per minute from a BT landline. Call charges from other providers may vary.


This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

View Kingston School of Art, Knights Park on our Google Maps
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