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The University of Southampton

ARTD2103 Introduction to Visual Culture (Dalian)

Module Overview

This module is one of the common option modules that can be taken by students from BA (Hons) Graphic Arts, Dalian and BA (Hons) Fashion Design, Dalian programmes. Whilst the learning outcomes are the same no matter which of these programmes you are following, it is likely that your output from this module will reflect the media and approaches of your programme’s disciplines and subject areas.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • contemporary cultures and their critical contextualisation;
  • key concepts and examples of contemporary art and design theory and practice;
  • how to identify and apply methods of critical, textual and visual analysis;
  • different methods of critically reflecting on interrelationships that may inform your work.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • evaluate different perspectives on the relationships between context, theory and practice;
  • develop your own standpoint in relation to current debates in art and design and relate these to your own practice and/or ideas;
  • develop and sustain an informed argument.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • develop an informed argument using a clear, coherent structure; verbally and in written form;
  • demonstrate effective time-management;
  • independently source appropriate research and external resources;
  • demonstrate awareness of global contexts.


The module will address some key ideas that underpin contemporary design practice and theory. The lectures will introduce a range of theoretical ideas including, design’s involvement in globalization, communication and contemporary theories. These ideas will be examined and explored through close readings of short texts, screenings and a broad range of visual material. Lectures will be used to convey representations and information on the contemporary scene of art and design. Seminars and group work will allow more detailed examination of particular themes and sources through independent research, helping you to look critically at art and design objects and events with relevant texts. This will also enable you to examineperceptions that inform interpretation of visual materials. Directed and self- directed study will enable you to focus on case studies and to develop your contact with the professional world of contemporary practice and theory. You will be encouraged to access a wide range of resources to assist in gaining a wide perspective of the art and design context.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Group discussions • Field trip Learning activities include: • Lectures • Group discussion • Presentations • Peer group learning Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes: In this module learning and teaching activities focus on helping you to investigate, question and analyse the nature of contemporary practice, its theory and how this influences your own ideas and/or the discipline in which you operate. Feedback on your progress and development will be given by group discussions, seminars and presentations. Informal feedback will provide opportunities for peer group learning and self-evaluation. The formal assessment will consist of an annotated collection of texts and visual material supported by a written critical analysis. This collection can include short texts that you have written, research and reference material that indicate your thoughts regarding the relationship between the contemporary context you have considered and your work. This module’s learning and teaching methods are designed to help you broaden your understanding of the theories and methods that underpin the production of visual culture . By studying independently you will learn how to manage your time effectively outside the taught sessions. In this module outcomes of independent study will be discussed in the presentations. Student-led discussions are intended to extend debate around material from lectures, seminars and workshops. These sessions give you an opportunity to participate actively in the module. You will be able to contribute to the content of sessions and, in combination with tutorials, this will allow you to develop your understanding of the knowledge and methods you have explored in this module.

Follow-up work20
Wider reading or practice30
Completion of assessment task40
Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Total study time150





MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (1500 words) 60%
Written project  (1000 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio 60%
Written project 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (1500 words) 60%
Written project  (1000 words) 40%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Printing and Photocopying Costs

Possible increased costs of printing and collecting reference imagery


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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