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Summer: Media, Culture And Communications

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Where communication meets culture

This summer school introduces students to key concepts for studying media, communications and cultural institutions and practices. Through a series of detailed case studies, the course explores the relationship between technological, social, economic and political factors in the evolution of mediated communication and culture.

Woman walking through London street

Summer: Media, Culture and Communications explore major debates about the social and cultural impact of media and communication technologies, digitisation, and new media cultures. The summer school also explores the cultural systems of contemporary ‘media saturated’ societies looking closely at social media and personal/cultural identity, cultures of globalisation, gender and culture, and cultural value and judgement.

You will have the opportunity to visit world-class exhibitions, in previous years we have been to Carsten Holler: Decision at the Hayward Gallery and Digital Revolution at the Barbican Gallery. You will go on a psychogeography walk around Brick Lane and explore the London Gothic culture of Abney Park Cemetery, from the Victorian era through to Amy Winehouse.

At the beginning of the course you will learn how to create an engaging blog with images and video. Throughout the course you will add to this and it will form part a larger The London Project which will form part of your assessment. In addition the blog will be a great way for you to record share your experiences with friends and family.

Taught by: Chris Sams, Adrian Sledmere, Helen Elder

Learn more about Summer: Media, Culture and Communications

Course Aims

  • Enable you to develop a critical understanding of the major theoretical perspectives in the field of media, cultural and communications studies
  • Explore the social, historical and economic context of the transformations in media and communications practices and industries and their impact on contemporary cultures and societies
  • Develop your understanding of a range of contemporary media, cultural and communications practices
  • Support you to be able to present your research and ideas confidently – in writing, face-to-face and online

Learning Outcomes 

  • Be aware of the economic forces which frame the media, cultural and creative industries, and the role of such industries in contemporary political and cultural life (Subject Knowledge)
  • Critically analyse the theoretical issues that inform the media and cultural studies discipline (Research, Analysis)
  • An ability to locate and evaluate information from a range of written and / or visual sources (Research, Analysis)
  • An ability to communicate ideas and arguments in an academic form (Communication and Presentation)

Requirements for Assessment

Contribution to online media presence
Presentation of the London Project ideas and concept development

Course Outline 

Week One:

The first week will have a focus on media communications. Your tutor will introduce you to the fundamental concepts of media, communication and culture and how these are manifested as processes and practices.  Areas covered include audiences and effects, global media and social media.

You will contribute your thoughts in small group discussions to debates about contemporary issues such as digital media and the rise of citizen journalism.

In Week One you will take a class in bogs, covering writing, images and video. You will update this throughout your weeks in London and this will form part of your assessment at the end of the course.

By the end of this week you will have an understanding of the communications media as a cultural form and of how it shapes contemporary culture.

Week Two:

In this week you will focus on culture – what defines it and how we can analyse it. Areas covered include mass media, culture and power and alternative media. Your tutor will present a series of case-studies and ask you to contribute your opinions on issues such as consumer culture, censorship, and popular culture.

Through tutor led case-studies and group work, this week will give you a detailed introduction to the main concepts and debates in cultural studies and how these relate to media processes.

Week Three:

In the final week of the summer school you will complete an individual project about London. You will go out and about in the city observing media, communications and culture in practice through your own eyes.

Drawing on the concepts and practical knowledge you learned during the first two weeks, you will have the opportunity to discover and analyse cultural industries in London from your own point of view.

You will be assessed on the presentation of your project, giving you the chance to demonstrate the communication skills have developed over the three week course.


We do not recommend that you go out and buy these books but they should give you a feel for the content and the level of the course. If you are interested in buying texts we suggest you contact us in advance -

  • Hodkinson, Paul (2011) Media, Culture and Society – An Introduction, London: Sage
  • Curran, J. (2011) Media and Democracy London: Routledge
  • Hall, Stuart; Evans, Jessica and Nixon, Sean (2013) Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, London: Sage.
  • Fenton, Natalie (2010) New Media, Old News: Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age. London: Sage
  • Carey,  James  W  (1989)  Communication  as  Culture,  London: Routledge.
  • Barker, Chris (2008) Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice 3rd Edition, London: Sage


"I enjoyed the teachers and the way they engaged people closely. I think the visits are the best of the course. I loved the visit to Brick Lane, Museums and Abney Park.  I liked the way they always linked to content theory with real life.” 

"I like the visit to Brick Lane, Abney Park and the exhibition of Carsten Holler at Southbank Centre. The Professors are very knowledgeable and the cases we have studied were very interesting."

This course is ideal for you if you are heading for a career in media, communications or the cultural industries. It will also be useful for you if you are thinking about further study in this area.

Chris Sams is an Associate Lecturer for BA (Hons) Media and Cultural Studies. Chris studied fine art at Chelsea School of Art specialising in film-making, and completed an MSc in Human-Computer Interaction at South Bank University, focussing on interface design and technical authorship. He has used these skills to work in information management and marketing for software houses in London and also worked as a film researcher and film editor in a number of places including the BBC.

Chris has taught a broad range of subjects including media and cultural studies, documentary film-making, fine art, animation, journalism and social sciences. His special areas of interest include: digital interactive media and, currently, aspects of psychogeography and film. Chris has exhibited in various venues including the ICA, the South Bank Gallery and the Milch, working mostly in the area of performance and fine art.Chris is currently undertaking a number of film and walking projects centred on the East End of London with a collective called the Josef Konrad Group, who have recently shown at the Old Operating Theatre Museum, London.

Dr Adrian Sledmere is Associate Lecturer in BA (Hons) Media and Cultural Studies. Adrian embarked on a musical career in the mid-1980s playing guitar with entertainer Roy Castle. He then went on to accompany Precious Wilson on the longest-ever rock tour of the USSR in 1988. A career in music production and writing ensued which included playing on a top ten single, signing a publishing deal with the legendary Rob Dickins and working with a variety of artists including the late Smiley Culture, Dawn Robinson (En Vogue), Charmayne Maxwell (Brownstone) and rapper Tim Dog. He has continued to perform regularly and to write music. After he was unceremoniously fired by Nik Kershaw, Adrian decided to build upon his auto-didactic tendencies by developing a parallel career in academia.

Adrian’s research interests include the music industry, live performance and the development of psychogeography as a form of textual analysis.

Helen Elder is an associate lecturer in the Design School at LCC. She has a degree in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins and an MA in History of Art from the University of Edinburgh. She works in design for events in the film industry as well as lectures in design at LCC.Helen currently teaches on BA (Hons) Spatial Design as well as the Contextual and Theoretical Studies module that underpins LCC's design degrees.  Helen’s own art practice and is site specific installation, integrating conventional 3D media with new technology.

Course Handbook: Download an example Handbook - Media, Culture and Communication Summer Study Abroad PDF [457kb].

Each year the content, dates and tutors vary slightly.‌

This course is ideal for you if you are heading for a career in media, communications or the cultural industries. It will also be useful for you if you are thinking about further study in this area.

Summer Study Abroad Entry Requirements:

Academic - You should have some prior study in communications or social sciences, or some relevant work experience. If you have questions about your academic background, please make an enquiry to the UAL Study Abroad team.

English - You should be proficient in written and spoken English and be able to participate in group discussions and make presentations. As a guideline we would expect you to have an IELTS score of 6.0. The Language Centre at University of the Arts London offers English courses for overseas students.

On completion of this course you will recive a short course certificate of attendance.

If you need any additional supporting documentation to convert this into credit for your home university we can provide that for you. This course is based on classes from BA Media Communications and BA Contemporary Media Cultures Year One and will be taught by current members of teaching staff from the Communications and Media programme.