In this studio we will be thinking about audiences, how they can be understood, theorised and researched. The advent of mass media and broadcasting led to concerns over the power of the media in influencing the public, and the negative effects media might produce. We will consider these arguments, and then look at alternative perspectives which emphasise the positive, creative aspects of being an 'audience' and how digital technologies – particularly the internet – can be seen as supporting and encouraging this creativity. Alongside this, we will also look at how qualitative research methods allow researchers to generate rich data which helps us to understand how 'audiencing' works, and how people make meanings from the media they consume.
Students will be encouraged to consider a specific audience group and will be guided on how this audience might be studied, analysed and understood in a range of situational and theoretical contexts. We will consider theories of media effects, cultivation, propaganda, reception theories, and the arguments around interactive and participatory media that are linked to the rise of digital media. We will choose a specific film and consider how audiences might interpret, understand and engage with it in the context of various theoretical approaches.
Suggested readings, resources and preparatory activities
Read this story by The Guardian. What does it suggest about TV? What does it suggest about horror movies? Who are the experts here? How is this linked to arguments around the value of popular culture? We will discuss these issues in the studio.
- Alasuutari P (ed.) (1999) Rethinking the Media Audience: The New Agenda. London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications UK
- Barker M, Arthurs J and Harindranath R (2001) The Crash Controversy: Censorship Campaigns and Film Reception. Wallflower Press
- Barker M and Petley J (2001) Ill effects: the media/violence debate. 2nd ed. Communication and society. London: Routledge
- Gauntlett D (2011) Making is connecting: the social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0. Cambridge: Polity Press
- Hills M (2002) Fan cultures. Sussex studies in culture and communication, London: Routledge
- Jenkins H (2006) Fans, bloggers, and gamers: exploring participatory culture. New York ; London: New York University Press
- Sullivan JL (2012) Media Audiences: Effects, Users, Institutions, and Power. SAGE Publications, Inc.
Studio 01: Imperfect Theories
Things can lead to theories. They can point to a way of seeing artefacts or objects that is more significant than the thing itself.
Studio 02: Narrative, Storytelling and Time
This studio focus on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We particularly focus on time in narrative, and the studio undertakes a brief aesthetics of time and thinks about how art and culture has imagined time.
Studio 03: Memento
The Memento research studio employs a critical, layered and multi-disciplinary approach to the problems around memory and society.
Studio 04: Knowing Audiences
In this studio we will be thinking about audiences, how they can be understood, theorised and researched.
Studio 05: Small Encounters
Emma Davenport and Gina Pierce
Textiles present exciting material and theoretical opportunities for us to think through our practice, to make sense of the world around us in the past, present and future.
Studio 06: Performative Acts: Art, Architecture and Writing
Nico de Oliveira
In the last decade or so we have moved from objects to subjects or audiences. In parallel, the word performative has been adapted from a theoretical term to a key rubric within the discourse of contemporary art, architecture and beyond.
Studio 07: Meaningful Work
"The aim of art is to destroy the curse of labour by making work the pleasurable satisfaction of our impulse towards energy, and giving to that energy the hope of producing something worth the exercise." William Morris
Studio 08: The Liminal
This Dissertation Studio examines instances of the liminal as they occur in critical theory and culture, and is open to any topic and students from all disciplines.
Studio 09: The Form of the Text
Studio 9 encourages you to approach the dissertation as a crafted textual project. Through workshops and seminars we will consider some of the elements and activities of which the dissertation is comprised, and look at innovative and exciting ways to work with the form of the text, and the act of building it.
Studio 10: Science Fiction Futurity
The utopia of technology never quite arrived. In the 1960s, you often hear, we were promised flying cars, space settlements, robot butlers and the end of work. But then, curiously, the horizon of futurity diminished.
Studio 11: Commonism
Commonism – with an o in the middle – explores how political activism, participatory design processes, interventionism, collective action and shared authorship are transforming the world of art, architecture and design.
Studio 12: Globalism
For good or ill, we live in a global world. Whilst this may appear to be obvious, globalism is only a relatively recent term as is the phenomenon itself. What do we mean by this? How did we arrive in this place?
Studio 13: Data Stories
Dissertations produced in this studio will be informed by critical research into how data is collected and then used as raw material with which to make or mediate architecture, design and art work.
Studio 14: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture, and Liberation through Music and Performance
This interdisciplinary studio reflects the widening of music and film studies in the last thirty years to include popular music, and popular culture linking art, music, film, advertising, social issues and minority struggles for liberation.
Studio 15: London Walking
Walking as a mode of art practice has its roots in the Dada and Situationist movements of the early twentieth century, with significant developments during the conceptual ‘turn’ of the 1960s.
Studio 16: Souvenir
This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past. It considers the role of memory and how it is embodied in cultural artefacts.