Want to study Film, Media & Cultural Studies? Here’s what to expect!

by Nurin Rashdan Fitri

Getting organised!

My study routine usually starts with me checking my Moodle* notifications for any updated information or changes to my modules, checking my Outlook email and calendar to check any scheduled group or individual meetings with other students and lecturers. Since I know I work better with visuals, I usually write and draw up any of this information into my planner where I like to make and check off my to-do lists for my studies, my social time for family and friends, my work commitments to other societies and my part-time job as your FASS Digital Content Ambassador!

*Moodle is Lancaster’s virtual learning platform

Lectures and modules

One of the intriguing modules I’m currently studying is Viral Media, and I must confess this module was actually one of the reasons I chose to study at Lancaster. Because who doesn’t love to watch, talk and even create their own internet memes and gifs as part of their course?

Overall, I enjoy critically analyzing and dissecting all the media theories and concepts behind the inner workings of how mass and social media - such as internet memes - work and the role that ordinary people and society play in employing this powerful media tool to influence our behaviour and way of life. I felt that I was not just learning about the media but also certain aspects about sociology, psychology, film, history, marketing, law and so on.

I learnt about the history of films and explored in-depth the cinematic features of various film genres from all over the world, from Hollywood’s blockbuster films to Japanese cinema. Like how artists or directors communicate their different cultural messages or themes that not only resonated with their own people but also to the rest of the world in a way we can all understand - through the unspoken power of images and sound or music.

Practical options

Here I am in one of the practical film modules I did on ‘Short Film Production’.

Other practical options my course mates took were ‘Documentary Film Practice’ and ‘Experimental Cinema: Theory and Practice’. But keep in mind, some practical modules required us to have done a certain module (otherwise known as a prerequisite module) beforehand so I had to carefully plan and select my modules to ensure I could actually take all the modules I wanted. Also, the modules offered can vary from year to year.

The Media & Cultural Studies module I’m currently taking is ‘Social Media & Activism’, where we get to create our own online social media campaign based on our chosen cause or movement. I got to create a fandom Instagram account as part of my fanart project for ‘Fans & Audiences in a Global Context’. Often, there is an element of groupwork and for me this helps to make our work richer and more diverse in its outlook on certain topics we explored like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Pride movement, K-pop fandom and so on.

Seminars

Before seminars start, you are expected to have done the core readings and with your other student peers and lecturer you discuss your thoughts, opinions and the key ideas or points you think the scholar was trying to make you understand or think about.

One of the most fascinating and relevant modules, I took last term was ‘Disasters: Why things go wrong?’. A lot of the case studies and examples we drew upon were either well-known or ongoing disasters such as COVID19, Grenfell tower, the Chernobyl disaster and so on.

Some of my takeaway thoughts or questions was to what extent was a disaster was truly natural or man-made, and ultimately any form of inequality is ever more visible during a disaster as there will always be a certain group of people more disproportionately affected than others.

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Nurin is a third year undergraduate at Lancaster University and is studying Film, Media and Cultural Studies.

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