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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Scottish Cinema in Theory and Practice (DESI10139)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores how perspectives from film theory and film practice can, both separately and together, develop our understanding of cinema, and traditions of filmmaking within Scotland in particular.

Focussing on a series of in-depth case studies of specific films selected from Scottish film history, this course will explore the productive intersection between how we approach film on a practical level as filmmakers, and on a theoretical level as film scholars - and how these different approaches combine to deepen our understanding of cinema as a medium.

The course is open to both those studying or with an interest in film theory and/or film practice, and allows students to meet the learning outcomes of the course through either a theoretical output (writing an essay) or a practical output (writing a short film script).
Course description Film theory and the practice of making films have largely become separate activities within global film culture: filmmakers working within an industry context rarely engage with theoretical perspectives on their work, whilst those writing about film in both academic and non-academic contexts tend to have little engagement with the concrete practice of making a film.

This 'great divide' between film theory and film practice in global studies has been long lamented by many commentators (Petrie (2010); Nichols (2011), Myer (2011); Bell and Stoneman (2017)), leading to the sense that the integration of theory and practice 'is a utopian ideal' (Nichols, 2011, p.xiii) that remains frustratingly out of reach.

This course inaugurates a boundary-pushing forum, encouraging students with either a background or interest in film practice and/or film theory to come together in order to explore the fruitful intersection between the social, cultural, political and aesthetic perspectives of film theory and the granular, on-the-ground practice of making films - specifically within the context of Scottish cinema.

The course will focus on a series of case studies drawn from Scottish Cinema which will be explored - through lectures, seminars and film screenings - from both theoretical and practical perspectives, and the productive hinterland in between. Each year we will select a small number of films by Scottish filmmakers to dissect in detail - scene-by-scene and shot-by-shot - in order to explore how the films were made, how they articulate to audiences, and the significance they hold within the wider context of Scottish film culture.

Ultimately you will be asked to make your own contribution to the emergent discourses surrounding the theory and practice of Scottish cinema.
Whilst you will be asked to choose whether to make this contribution primarily as a film practitioner (writing a script and a visual treatment) or a film theorist (writing an essay), you will also need to demonstrate your understanding of how one informs the other, and how a holistic grasp of both theory and practice can enrich and enliven our understanding of how cinema works as both a creative and social practice.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesStudents wishing to submit a practical output should have some scriptwriting experience, as basic scriptwriting techniques *will NOT* be taught on this course. Prospective students should also bear in mind that practical filmmaking will not be taught on this course, and there will not be any access to filmmaking equipment.

Students who wish to study on this course must have done at least one film-related course.

Any queries as to whether students have the requisite experience to study on this course should be directed to the course organiser.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop and communicate a broad contextual knowledge of Scottish cinema.
  2. Articulate a critical understanding of ways in which theoretical and practice-based perspectives upon film intersect.
  3. Exercise critical and aesthetic judgement in making a considered intervention into the discourses surrounding Scottish cinema through EITHER a theoretical OR a practical output.
Reading List
Myer, Clive (ed), 2001, Critical Cinema: Beyond The Theory of Practice, (London and New York: Wallflower Press)
McArthur, Colin (ed), 1982. Scotch Reels. (London: BFI Publishing)
Petrie, Duncan, 2000. Screening Scotland (London: BFI Publishing)
Murray, Jonathan, 2015. The New Scottish Cinema (London and New York: IB Tauris)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will gain a knowledge of Scottish cinema history through both in-depth case studies and discussion of some of the broader cultural and political issues within Scottish cinema studies.

They will gain an understanding of how approaches to film theory and film practice can productively intersect, which they will henceforth be able to employ in their work beyond this course.

Students will also be required to demonstrate originality and creativity in their critical and aesthetic engagements with the wider context of Scottish cinema, whilst exercising significant autonomy and initiative.

KeywordsFilm,Cinema,Scotland,Film Theory,Film Practice
Course organiserDr Jamie Chambers
Course secretaryMs Georgia Dodsworth
Tel: (0131 6)51 5712
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