MEDIA504-21B (HAM)

Media Design and Aesthetics

30 Points

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


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Paper Description

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This paper emphasises a process of research and analysis to develop academic arguments related to the productions and effects of media practices and associated aesthetics.

The distinctions between media formats (animation/moving and still images/ 2D and 3D animations/film productions/interactive platforms and more) are in constant flux. These media forms are undergoing continual transformations intrinsic to shifts in technology, economics, ideology, social and cultural practices. This state of flux questions the role of makers and audiences alike and pushes us to find new ways of understanding the relationships between aesthetic approaches, the self, processes of media creation, audio-visual technologies, and audiences.

These cultural shifts are reflected in practitioners' conceptual and practical approaches that impact productions and reception of cultural expressions. The conceptual integration of embodiment and aesthetic will help us to assess the importance of imagination, media, and technologies in a variety of mediated expressions.

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Paper Structure

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This paper is taught via a mixture of lectures, activities, and research tasks.
The emphasis is on the aesthetic process, its research and analysis, and the development of an academic argument related to the productions and effects of media practices.
e will explore the role of aesthetic processes relevant to media productions from their conception to the public screenings or exhibition. As a group, we will aim to develop ways to articulate, and explore, the relations between perception, creative practices, and cultural experiences.

Participation in Wednesdays lectures/workshops is recommended. You will be able to join synchronously these sessions via Zoom (Wednesday 2-5pm Hamilton time). The Panopto recordings will be available on Moodle a day or 2 after scheduled delivery for people unable to participate in the sessions.
If you are unable to attend, post your questions on the Moodle forum of the corresponding week.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you are based overseas.

Note that the second lecture (and maybe the third one) will necessitate to walk around campus.

It is recommended to read all Moodle announcements and keep in touch with your class representative in a timely manner.

About the lecturer;
Isabelle was born in Europe and has lived in several countries; she has a particular interest in the ways media represent diseases and how the representations of illnesses are perceived by individuals and by social groups.
We all come from a variety of backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, gender identities, sexualities, abilities, cultures, religions, and further identities. Isabelle hopes that as a group we can create a teaching and learning environment that is inclusive, and promotes equitable participation in content and discussion, in class or online. If you have concerns about aspects of physical or online access to classrooms and learning material please notify her, and/or the accessibility services, and/or your class representative.
Isabelle would appreciate that students and/or class representatives contact her in a timely fashion if questions arise.Note: do not use the Moodle message function to contact the lecturer; email her directly.
Please include your name, student number and paper code in the title of your emails.
Written works and drafts will not be commented on prior submission date.
Emails without a title will not be opened for security reasons.

Please note that some aspects of the paper might have to be amended if circumstances require.
Potentially there might be slight changes in lecture content or topics' order should different alert levels associated to the current pandemic be activated.
All care will be taken to not disturb your study and the planning of the assessments.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

    • reflect upon the complexities of the relationship between the self, audio-visual media and the social-historical world.
    • recognise that all media representations, and their associated design and aesthetics are shaped by perceptual, social, cultural, economic, political and technological factors.
    • reflect upon their own position in relation to the representations, design and aesthetics that proliferate the contemporary mediascape.
    • engage critically with the process of creating cultural expressions.
    • perform various media analyses of a variety of representations (audio and visual forms) to align conceptual and creative frameworks.
    • acquire the communication skills necessary for imagining, developing and articulating ideas related to future media creation.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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The assessments are designed to reward both imagination and research on the design of various media; they involve critical examinations of philosophical and aesthetic parameters that contribute to creative practices.

All assessment criteria will be available on Moodle.
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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. Assessment One: engaging critically with media and aesthetic practices
19 Aug 2021
8:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Assessment Two: Recorded Audio-visual Presentation for a conference
19 Sep 2021
8:00 PM
  • In Class: In Workshop
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Assessment Three: Critical analysis of media texts
20 Oct 2021
8:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
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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Required Readings

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A list of readings will be provided via the Waikato Reading List, accessible via a link on Moodle.

Please note that you, as autonomous learners, are also expected to search for your own academic sources in addition to these readings.

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Recommended Readings

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There is a reading list for this paper, available from your Moodle page. You are most welcome to contribute to this list.
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Other Resources

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Suggestions of readings and other media outputs from students are appreciated: please share your various cultural perspectives.
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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. Reading lists, assignment guidelines, important dates and the paper outline are all available from this site. Occasionally, basic lecture slides may be made available for download after a lecture. In this event, these slides will only provide basic bullet points of the topics covered, so it is strongly advised that students do not rely solely on these slides for their learning or for assignment preparation. In order to gain the best learning experience from this course, and to prepare adequately for all assignments, students will need to attend all the scheduled lectures/workshop

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Graduates are expected to attend and contribute to weekly meetings.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted Papers: SMST520

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