MEDIA301-19A (HAM)

Animation Studies: Theory and Practice

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Arts
Screen and Media Studies

Staff

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Convenor(s)

Lecturer(s)

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: vanessa.mclean@waikato.ac.nz

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: anne.ferrier-watson@waikato.ac.nz

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Paper Description

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SMST318 Animation Studies provides an introduction to the theory, history and creative practice of animation. The integration of these approaches is intended to serve as a foundation for a number of future possibilities such as; academic research, artistic practice or employment within the creative and media industries. While time will be devoted to discussing the significance of a broad range of animated works, we will also consider the role and experience of the animator, and the ways in which audience members might engage with animation.

The range of audio-visual media discussed in this paper will impart a critical awareness that seeks to compliment the creativity of the production process. Principles of learning in this paper are based on the understanding that the relation between theory and practice is a reciprocal process. While theory may inform or inspire creative practice, it is also understood that the exploratory process involved in creative practice may also bring about an enhanced conceptual understanding and ability to reflect upon creative process. This paper immerses you in this reciprocal process, and therefore challenges you to engage in a constant negotiation between theory, practice and creative process.

Objectives
  • To introduce students to the theory and practice of animation
  • To develop a critical understanding of the aesthetic traditions of animation through historical and theoretical analysis. This will include an exploration of the major ‘modes’ in animation, as distinguished by differences in national and cultural production, technique, and aesthetic orientation.
  • To explore the influence of the production context upon animation, specifically in terms of political, economic, cultural, and historical influences upon the production of animation. This will also include an overview of contemporary industrial and technological aspects, which help to define and constrain the possibilities for animators in New Zealand.
  • To study the genre of animation within the context of the development of cinema, and especially in relation to foundational movements such as realism, formalism, the Avant Garde, dada, surrealism and expressionism.
  • To consider the role of animation as a distinct cultural form. This will involve an exploration of the ways in which animation is positioned and utilised within contexts such as; fine art, popular culture, experimental media, commercial entertainment, political ‘propaganda’ and counter-space.
  • To explore animation within the context of audience engagement, especially in terms of; issues of identification and alienation, issues of representation, intellectual, experiential and visceral modes of engagement, the construction of national, trans-national and cultural identities, the transmission of cultural memory and notions of; popular appeal, subversive encounter and distaste.
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Paper Structure

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Teaching will involve a combination of lectures, guided research, and practical workshop sessions (see table below). During the studio and computer workshop sessions students will be taught the basic principles of animation technique prior to making their final animated project. During the studio sessions, students will work in small groups or pairs.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • demonstrate a thorough knowledge of key moments in the history of animation, including the development of techniques, technologies and ‘modes’ of animation;
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  • understand the contribution to animation history of key animators;
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  • critically analyse and discuss a selection of animated works; paying attention both to the work as a text and to the work within various contexts
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  • show a basic understanding of the status of animation within film theory, media studies or cultural studies;
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  • demonstrate the development of a practical project from idea to finished product;
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  • demonstrate advanced skills of visual literacy, both in terms of critical analysis of audiovisual material, and in terms of the production of creative work.
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  • engage with and discuss existing criticism in relation to a chosen essay topic;
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  • demonstrate the ability to work actively and constructively within group discussions and studio activities.
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Assessment

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Proposal Due date: 9 April, 2pm
9 Apr 2019
2:00 PM
25
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
2. Research Essay Due date: 17 May, 4pm
17 May 2019
4:00 PM
35
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
  • Hand-In: Faculty Information Centre (J Block)
3. Audiovisual Project Due date: 28 May, 2pm
28 May 2019
2:00 PM
40
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Recommended Readings

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Students are advised to utilise the resources available via the University library catalogue, and in particular the Waikato reading list that has been established especially for SMST318. A particularly useful resource is the online free access that students will have to ‘animation: an interdisciplinary journal’. Students are encouraged to explore the full contents of this journal and download relevant articles each week. Reading materials will be used as a basis for discussion during both lectures and workshop sessions. These materials will also serve as an invaluable resource for assignment 2, although it is expected that you will also explore other texts as a means of conducting research for this critical analysis. A list of suggested texts and website links has been compiled to assist you in the process of researching in the field of animation studies. It is strongly recommended that you utilise this list, which can be downloaded from Moodle.

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Other Resources

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Recommended Viewing

Students will be introduced to a broad range of animated works within the lectures. There will not be enough time to show all of these works in their entirety, so it is recommended that you follow up weekly lectures with the viewing of animations in your own time. Both screened extracts and suggestions for recommended viewing are indicated on the weekly schedule for this paper. For access to animated works on DVD, please check the University Library Catalogue in the first instance.

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Online Support

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There is an online Moodle community for this course. Moodle can be accessed via iWaikato. Lecture presentations, tutorial exercises, assignment details, important dates and the paper outline are all available from this site. You may want to print out lecture presentations and bring them to the lecture so that you don’t have to spend so much time writing things down.

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Workload

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Students should be prepared to be present in class for a 6 hours per week, and undertake a further 4 hours per work on independent study and group assignments. Overall, students should expect a workload of 10 hours per week.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite(s)

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

Restricted papers: SMST318

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