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Unit information: Past, Present and Futures in 2016/17

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Past, Present and Futures
Unit code INOVM0007
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Piccini
Open unit status Not open




School/department Centre for Innovation
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The unit will consider key moments and texts in the history of technology and its associated media networks. Specifically, the unit will explore historical transformations of media technologies as they pertain to the intersections of art and science. Each year, the unit will focus its case-study approaches through the annually chosen programme theme.
The unit aims to:
● develop knowledge and critical understanding of selected histories and archaeologies of media technologies, through considering key conceptual and material underpinnings of contemporary culture, using a case-study approach in both teaching and assessment;
● develop an in-depth understanding of the theoretical contexts underpinning histories of media technologies, ranging from classic texts by Marshall McLuhan and Raymond Williams to the current focus on media ‘archaeologies’ in the works of, for example, Friedrich Kittler and Lucy Suchman;
● develop students’ abilities to analyse and evaluate competing perceptions of media technologies;
● develop students’ abilities to describe, evaluate, analyse and critique media technologies;
● develop students’ abilities to design and undertake a site-specific case study of the uses of media technologies in the creative industries, specifically in the context of networks of human and non-human actors.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
1. demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of histories and archaeologies of media technologies, appropriate to M Level students;
2. engage in a detailed and rigorous fashion with the theoretical contexts of media technologies;
3. analyse and evaluate competing perceptions of media technologies;
4. work constructively and creatively in a group-based case-study;
5. work independently and reach individual/personal judgements within a collaborative context;
6. undertake a site-specific case-study approach to producing an ‘archaeology’ of a media technology or network within the creative industries and/or university.

Teaching details

Seminars and workshops

Assessment Details

Website/blog hosting a media technology case study detailing histories and contemporary uses of technologies within the chosen creative industry. The online presence will include a 1250-word (in total) illustrated report (50%) ILO 4-6 and 1250-word individual reflexive account of practical work, which draws on key historical and theoretical contexts (50%) ILO 1-3. Assessed using M Level criteria.

Reading and References

● Jenkins, Henry. 2008. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. NYU Press.
● Kittler, Friedrich. 1999. Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. Stanford University Press
● McLuhan, Marshall. 1994. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. MIT Press.
● Parikka, Jussi, 2012. What is Media Archaeology? Cambridge: Polity Press
● Suchman, Lucy. 2007. Human-Machine Reconfigurations. Cambridge University Press.
● Williams, Raymond. 1971. Television: Technology and Cultural Form. London: Technosphere