Creative Activism Project Term 2

12 Dec

Next term we will be working on the Creative Activism project

This class will explore the potentials of creative media activism through encouraging ‘live’ creative interventions and participation in cultural, political and social debates. There will be a series of tasks and challenges for you to complete over the course of the term.

Throughout the 10 week class we will be exploring how media activists and campaigners have used their media knowledge, connections and skills to ask difficult questionsprovoke debate and raise awareness of important issues and problems in their local, national and international communities.

Choosing  issues that is important to you, you will work on a number of real and situated tasks.

By being run as an open community it will enable participants to constructively critique, learn from, build on and collaborate with each other to produce a body of work that will, hopefully, make a practical and positive mark on the world.

Please join us here. and start blogging, tweeting and posting videos with the #creativact hashtag

There are also other ways to follow the class and to stay up to date with the community:

Subscribe to the Creative Activism RSS Feed in a reader or by email

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook

Search for our #creativact hashtag

Join our Vimeo and Flickr Group where we will be posting the class activities

Start posting and sharing and help spread the word with our Creative Activism Poster



He should be Elfing Santa: become interesting, be interested

12 Dec

The christmas break is approaching, you’ve a few weeks to kickback and watch the same old films you watch ever year – it’s Albert Finney’s ‘Scrooge‘ for me – and a load of christmas TV specials.

We’re setting a blog task for you which will warm you up for the action packed Creative Activism part of 260 beginning in January.

Your task is to watch Life’s Too Short – The Gervais / Merchant comedy with Warwick Davis

The 7 part series has been causing controversy amongst disability rights campaigners, parents with Dwarf   children and sections of the media.  There have been calls to take it off air.

The debate has been fulled by Gervais’ regular Twitter activity, he’s happy to debate the issues and argues he’s not ridiculing the disabled.

We want you to explore this debate, watch the shows, listen to the interviews, read the papers, blogs and tweets.

But before you do any of that , what do you think?  What’s your view with the knowledge you currently have – you may have seen some episodes you may not have heard of it.  Before you research this any further write a brief post saying if you think making a sitcom about a dwarf is right or wrong.

Then engage with the debate, documenting on your blog as you go.

The purpose of this is to study how your point of view is influenced by your increasing knowledge.

This will require your engagement over the holidays, but I hope it won’t feel like too much of a chore.

I’ll be updating the blog with links to relevant material.

Oh and what films are you looking forward to watching this Christmas?  comment below.

An Offence related treat every day till Santa.

5 Dec

Your work is done, you’re no doubt roasting your nuts on open fires.  Hanging decorations in a half arsed  effort to raise some festive cheer, knowing that the festive fun will not really start till you get home to your real friends.

At least that’s how I remember it, but it was 12 years ago.  Am I on the chocolate money?  Comment below.

So to aid your descent into merry drunkenness, mistletoe fumblings and Christmasy cracklings I’ve been tweeting something offensive everyday.

Day 1 of the Offensive Advent Calendar. began with

“Offence is taken, not given.”

The other posts can be viewed here.  Those of you on twitter may have explored some of these already.

Well now you’ve handed in your audio ramblings – Steve, Pete and I were going through them today – I can reveal that the Offensive Advent Calendar #ofadcal is for you – 260MC

We have some Happy New Beginnings planned for January and these daily tweets are a gentle, sometimes humorous and if you’re lucky – occasionally offensive  – warm up during the chill down to Christmas, Betwixtmas and Beyond.

More info to follow, in the meantime do comment.


Essay guidelines

28 Nov

We will need references

Submission through moodle submit PDF with necessary info. Good idea to submitta written transcript on the same document

Upload audio essay to soundcloud or audioboo.

Your bibliography needs to use Harvard reference – check out theharvard referencing style guide on Moodle.


Creative Commons

21 Nov

Some useful info from the Phonar photography course which may be useful for youR essays particularly those answering questions A C D or E

Feedback Response

21 Nov

Many thanks to all of your feedback notes, most of which were very positive, but here are our responses to some of the improvements that you have suggested.


There is not enough help individually as everyone works differently, great as a group but people like me who needs to ask a few more questions so it would be good to see more one to ones early on in the module.”  As lectures we want you to all feel as though you are supported on an individual as well as a group level.  There are tutor hours available with Steve, Ross and Pete every week and you can sign up for these when you want, I’d also like to see the use of #260 on twitter to give more support.  Please be more proactive on a Monday after lectures if you feel you need more support, just ask.  There are 70 of you but there are 4 members of staff remember.


I thought the four week project was a waste of time.” . A couple of people said this, a couple of people suggested it should have been done in two weeks.  As the core module there is a requirement that certain skills are covered, this project was aimed at addressing those early on.  I think the feeling is that it has reduced the time available to work on the essay, perhaps one resolution would be to introduce the essay topics in week 2/3 and running them in parallel, hand out readings to stimulate you academically whilst the practical project was underway.  Indeed “Would like to be introduced to the essay sooner.”  How would you feel about a more intense start to the year? – I guess we didn’t want to overload you straight after the summer break – but perhaps we should have?  The feeling in the office is that a very small proportion of students follow up readings/articles etc suggested in the lectures.

It’s confusing and complicated.”  Is it? What is?  So is this comment, well the first half of it is at least.  I’ll assume this relates to the essay questions, I think it would be useful in the future to deconstruct each question to some degree as interpreting the questions seems to me a barrier.  What else would make it less complicated?

Too many different blogs.  The course needs to be centralized.”  There are a number of places to visit, the problem with having everything in one place is that it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to find, you’d just end up with one huge blog.  What is not acceptable is where there are conflicts and inconsistencies with information.

There’s a few comments criticizing the essay.  I’ve been amused by Pete’s growing anger every time he reads “Sorry, but I feel this essay is useless to a career in media 😦”   His latest retort is “So that’s why the BBC give jobs to English Lit graduates!!!” Copyright is the foundation upon which most media is underpinned economically. I’d add that we’re living in genuinely exciting changing times.  I’m uncertain if this note relates to essay writing in general or copyright privacy issues. An essay is essentially an exercise in thinking about an area, forming an opinion and expressing/presenting that thinking.  Media is changing so quickly it’s anyone’s guess what path your  careers will tread, what’s certain is that copyright, piracy, pro-suming, ownership and other essay topics will need to be fundamental to your thinking if you what to be anything more than a runner.  And you don’t get to be a runner unless you can show the potential of being more than a runner.  The technology will continually evolve at an ever accelerating pace, indeed we will all find it increasingly hard to keep up.  However what will never change is the importance of thinking about issues (these particular ones and others) forming opinions and expressing them.

Less writing, more practicals.”  I bought an iPad2 in May – turns out I still need to type.  The written word remains as important as ever, so for now I’d advocate you keep developing those skills.  There is no better way of expressing and constructing your thoughts and opinions – it will also be the way others judge you, today, tomorrow and for the rest of your lives.  You have all chosen to invest in educating yourselves to degree level, a decision I believe none of you will regret.  I believe this for lots of reasons, one of those reasons relates to the jobs you would be exempt from applying for over the next 40 years.  A degree has to have an academic core underpinning it – you have to write.  “I think therefore I am.”  But that thought is next to useless unless it is shared, and it can’t be communicated unless it is structured.  Writing puts your thoughts in order – for yourself as much as anyone – this will spurn new thoughts.  Your essay is an audio essay, that’s pretty practical in my mind.  However I take the comment seriously, why less writing?  Because it’s hard?  Because you’re lazy?  Because you don’t see the point?  Because it’s boring?  Because you don’t align it with doing?  Writing is a practical activity for some people after all.  Is it more about what you are writing?  Do you need help writing?  Should you be given a specific task/exercise to write a blog post about each week from the start of the year?  The point of these three years is to encourage you to think for yourselves, to take responsibility for your own development, to inspire you, not to get you to follow instructions better.  Writing embeds your thoughts by making the invisible visible, not just today but tomorrow and always.  Your blog is your mind online.

Britain in a day was a waste of time.” Echoed by a few of you, it was only 1 Monday and I hope a chance for you to do something practical that you didn’t have to write about! For those of you working on the essay question around how free culture has transformed the media, this was a directly relevant case study for you to get involved in and you should be taking opportunities like this to build your experiences.

The module is good but I feel I would learn more if we were always in smaller groups because it will be more personal, more helpful and the communication between students and lecturers will be better.”  There have been a lot of whole group sessions, do you feel happier speaking out in smaller groups?  I’d certainly like to hear more of your thoughts, where you’re coming from.  All teachers like the sound of their own voice too much.  Personally I don’t want to teach you – I think that’s arrogant and patronising.  I want to facilitate your learning and support your thinking.  Should you be spending more time communicating in student groups?

More one to one time with tutors.”  We’d like more one2one with you too.  We’re around all Monday and Pete & Steve take bookings don’t you know!

Not enough content being taught in the module.”  Hmmm not sure how to respond to this.  By content do you mean media theory? Practice?

Sort out timetables, respect students time and investment.”  Agreed I believe a mutual respect is crucial.  The vending machine by the loan shop sells chocolate bars for 70p.  (The same bars were 30p when I was a student.)  Who would buy one and bin it after two bites?  You’d eat it all, even if you saved some of it for the journey home, by the end of the day it would be gone.  Your degree is a chocolate bar, (I’d like to think it’s not being delivered to you in a machine)  How many bites are you all taking?  Some are eating more than others, anyone reading the small print on the wrapper before dropping it?  (When I was a student my BA was free, next year degrees will be £9,000 a year.)  You can all earn our respect, we do this job because when we see students strive to reach their potential it’s thrilling.  If you feel unfairly  disrespected, that’s a serious concern – come and have some of that one2one time mentioned above.  And don’t give up the chocolate.


Very informative, very helpful, blog in particular is great.”  I like the blog, I think it is under-viewed but It seems like it’s a good way of communicating with you.  I’m writing this on a Sunday evening with one hand as I have a baby asleep in my lap.  My point is you students are never far from my thoughts.  When I stumble on something that might interest you I tweet it.  Did I mention you could follow me on twitter?

Like that there’s only one challenging essay.  Like the practical stuff.  Like all the info learnt.”  Cool beans.

So far the module is OK I don’t have any problems.”  WOW praise indeed.

Understand the logistics of essay, only criticism is that the purpose of lectures to make it an audio is difficult.  I understand the ‘media users’  I personally like to write essays.”  This is the first attempt at an audio essay we’ll be keen to see how it works.  It is an extra thing to do – however it’s in effect a 1500 word essay as opposed to a 3000 word one.  The intention is to make it a media artefact, highlighting the crucial links between thinking, writing, structure and their very real relevance in creating a piece of media.

I am pleased with the module so far the arguments we get are pretty strong and the topics covered are interesting.  A lot of research needs to be done though, but I guess this not high-school level anymore, it’s uni.”  My feeling is that school is becoming more and more about teaching for the sake of the school ie get the best exam results possible get the best position in the league table.  Rather than teaching for the sake of the student, your learning, your development.  Schools don’t teach pupils to learn, there isn’t space in the curriculum.  Those of you who have learnt how to learn (as opposed to follow instructions) have done it for yourselves, supported by parents perhaps, teachers even, but on the whole not by the national curriculum.  Answer me this.  When do you stop learning?

Good course, no complaints, well organized, electric calandar is fantastic.”  Electricity is great isn’t it.

Steal this Film

21 Nov