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BA (Hons) Film Studies — Overview
Launching Sept 2021

Studying BA (Hons) Film Studies at Plymouth College of Art means a dynamic interdisciplinary experience: students develop strong analytical, critical and written skills, as well as experiencing key concepts in practical film-making to deepen their understanding of the film medium.

Students speak on the panel of the Culture in Conflict conference in Luton.

It is uniquely situated within an independent art school which means that students will study film as an art form as well as a carrier of content, with a focus on artist’s moving image, experimental and independent film. 

A key area for Film Studies students will be Plymouth Arts Cinema; Plymouth’s independent arts cinema, located at the heart of our city-centre campus.

This exciting partnership with the cinema provides opportunities for Film Studies students to study cinema programming, exhibition and distribution and also to work on joint projects with the cinema in live project briefs: to programme seasons of documentary, feature and independent films, to introduce films and events and to write programme and publicity copy and critical articles for audiences at the cinema. 

Students will also have the opportunity to work with film technologies resourced from our professional Multimedia Lab, with the opportunity to work alongside our established and award-winning Film + Screen Arts programme, as well as collaborating with Animation and Game Arts students in interdisciplinary projects.

Core specialisms of the course include:

Film theory, film history, film criticism, cultural studies, creative and critical writing, cinema and film festival programming. The college is committed to social justice and the programme will challenge conventional perceptions of film history and theory by foregrounding marginalised communities and filmmakers from a range of ethnic backgrounds as well as their relationship to mainstream film industries.

Collaborations with outside organisations include leading LGBTQ+ film organisation Iris Prize, Cinenova women’s film distribution company and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum at Exeter University as well as the thriving film culture scene in Plymouth. 

The programme is designed to equip graduates to work in film exhibition, programming, distribution and festivals, and to develop careers within film criticism, teaching, community arts and arts administration and journalism (including hard copy, online and broadcast) as well as for further study at postgraduate level and for research in Film Studies and related disciplines.

British freelance Director/Producer Amanda Bluglass gives a lecture for our Filmmaker Fridays event.

Recent visitors to the college include:
Anna Navas (Independent Film Programmer), Babak Anvari, BAFTA award winning filmmaker Under the Shadow, Anna Smith (Film Critic), John McLean (Director) Slow West and Walter Campbell (Writer) Under the Skin, and Mia Bays (Oscar-winning filmmaker, Birds Eye View Film).

Please note, this programme is only available for full time study, a part time study offering is not available.

Interested in finding out more? Fill out our enquiry form below:


BA (Hons) Film Studies — Modules

Launching Sept 2021
Year 1 (Level 4)

BAFS101 The Art of Film is a 20-credit module introducing students to significant issues in film form and the terminology used to explore the formal characteristics of film. The module introduces these issues at level 4 to bring students to a shared understanding in regard to film as a visual, temporal, spatial and physical medium. During the module students will develop confidence in using terminology to describe formal characteristics of film and will also gain experiential knowledge of some fundamental processes in film & animation. This module will introduce students to examples of a wide variety of approaches to film, in the process of identifying relevant characteristics of film form. For example, case studies might include popular narrative cinema from different eras alongside avant-garde film, artists moving image and world cinema. Students will learn how to judge the significance of formal characteristics of film and to make critically reflective comparisons between different approaches to film. Films shown in the module will be accompanied by relevant historical information so that students can situate formal developments in a historical framework. BAFS101 is delivered alongside BAFS102 ‘Film, Identity and Representation’. Whereas, BAFS101 emphasises students’ knowledge of formal aspects of film, BAFS102 emphasises students’ understanding of theoretical methodologies for research into film. 


BAFS102 Identity and Representation introduces students to approaches to study of film in its global context through relevant theoretical frameworks. It includes an introductory historical survey of film, which allows students to orient themselves in relation to key phases in the technological developments that influence film production and dissemination (for example the development of cinematography, the introduction of sound, colour film and the effect of digital technology). In addition, the module introduces students to methodologies required to undertake research in film. Key theoretical frameworks, including feminism and gender theory, audience theory and more traditional approaches such as the psychoanalytic and post structural,  are introduced in relation to their methodological implications, with particular emphasis on film as means of the production and representation of identity in a contemporary context. The module is delivered alongside module BAFS101, which emphasises the development of language required to analyse formal features of film. Students will be encouraged to consider concepts employed in close reading of film alongside the broader theoretical and methodological issues raised in this module. 

BAFS103 Film Criticism 1 explores theoretical frameworks for interpretation of film (eg. psychoanalysis, structuralism, hyperreality) in relation to practical and professional skills involved in sharing film with audiences. This module builds on the critical skills and awareness of contemporary film developed in BAFS101 and BAFS102, by inviting students to communicate critical understanding of film. It requires students to develop a more nuanced understanding of film reception and audience, alongside live experience of organising a film programme. Students will develop a themed film programme within the parameters set by the brief: potentially an evening of short films; a season; a feature alongside a short film; or another permutation that will be communicated by the module leader. The theme of the film programme will explore central features of a theoretical approach to film. One or more of these proposals will be selected to be shown through the cinema in the College. Students will work collectively to realise the film programme, taking responsibility for marketing material, contextualisation, any associated talks and other public events, supported by their module leader.

BAFS104 Professional Development Planning is designed to help students explore the shape and patterns of employment in film and related industries, to enable them to start to match their current skills knowledge and creative portfolio to those required to successfully compete for work in their intended career. Having identified areas for development, students will work with the module leader to update their Professional Development Plan (PDP blog) enabling them to identify those experiences and skills they will need to acquire during their degree course. The module will cover a wide range of general skills including effective professional communication with employers, CVs, applications, and freelance working, including starting to consider issues around contracts, copyright and working with agencies.

BAIS300 Interdisciplinary Studies provides an opportunity to expand and develop skills and knowledge, through the introduction of new approaches and methods that broaden and extend the student’s understanding of practices both in their subject area, and the wider creative context in which they work. The module will introduce students to interdisciplinary approaches and methods in their subject, and open up possibilities for engagement with practices both within and outside their immediate subject area. As such, this Module complements all of the student’s study to date, and contributes to their wider knowledge and understanding of creative practices. The module will encourage students to explore new skills, knowledge and approaches including team working and problem solving. Above all, it will encourage critical reflection on the range of interdisciplinary approaches and contexts explored within the module.

BCOP100 Contexts of Practice introduces students to key theories and ideas, and provides a range of critical approaches to support the investigation, interpretation and analysis of contemporary art, design and media. Students will study a range of concepts that have shaped the way that we understand art, design and media in its wider historical and cultural contexts. Students will develop core research and communication skills to help them to articulate and contextualise their understanding of the themes covered in this module, and the knowledge gained will support creative practice by developing an understanding of the relationship between thinking and their own discipline of Film Studies.

Year (Level 5)

BAFS201 The Art of Film 2 deepens students’ critical understanding of film contexts, and cinematic language, and builds upon the ideas and concepts explored during Level 4. This module develops students’ understanding of the social and political contexts of global film. Students will deepen their engagement with research methodologies and develop the skills needed to research film independently. The module delivery is constructed around global case studies, exploring and contrasting different film cultures, and how these connect us to social, spatial and temporal networks of exchange and meaning. Film cultures studied may be identified geographically, linguistically or ethnically, or could be defined as “cultures of interest” such as Feminist film, LGBTQ+ film, Migrant film, Activist film or Green Film. Guided by material delivered in core lectures, students are supported to interpret film in the context of its production, reception and political significance with reference to a wider geopolitical and historical context, acknowledging how film connects us to social identity and status, and can represent local, national and global affiliations. 

BAFS202 Negotiated independent research project builds on the independent research skills gained in module BAFS201, allowing students to develop greater autonomy in their research into film in its various contemporary contexts. The module deepens students’ understanding of research methodology in film studies, considering the research process in relation to students own interests in regard to film. This module requires students to fashion a research question in dialogue with a tutor and to select an appropriate methodology for their research project. Students are invited to shape their interest in film in a specialist direction, undertaking a literature search and literature review and selecting the films that will be investigated. Through a combination of lectures, seminars and individual tutorials students will establish a research question and and embark on the process of systematic secondary research. In this way, students will begin to understand how they might identify and intervene in theoretical debates and discourses which form an integral part of film studies as an academic discipline. 

BAFS203 Professional Practice extends skills acquired during Level 4 allowing individuals to further explore professional practice in relation to film. Running across Level 5, it will inform an understanding of the level of professionalism, creativity and adaptability required to negotiate a career in film and associated professional industries. Students will have the opportunity to respond to the requirements of a range of professionally focused projects. These projects will be framed by professional networks linked to the programme and may result in, for example, contributing to a film programme or to shaping a student film journal. Whether they work on live briefs and external commissions, or competitions and simulated briefs, students will be expected to research thoroughly take into account audiences and contexts. Throughout the module, students will also consider business and practice skills required to plan for a career in film, including the skills and attributes required in contemporary practice alongside developing an understanding of the guidance available for creative professionals working with film relating to moral rights and ethical responsibilities. Continuing on from the good practice set up in the level 4 Professional Practice module, reflection will also be an ongoing, continuous process recorded and archived through each student's Professional Planning (PDP) blog.

GCOP200 Contexts of Practice extends and develops the themes, ideas, concepts and critical discourses introduced in Year One. Students will attend core lectures and participate in a lecture/ seminar series designed to deepen their understanding of creative practice in its wider contexts. This themed approach encourages students to make considered and appropriate links between their area of practice and wider contextual and interdisciplinary discourses. Students  will continue to develop critical approaches to research, which will inform their understanding of the relationship between context and practice.

Year 3 (Level 6)

BAFS301 Research and Experimentation will stipulate the overarching direction and outline the methods, the scope and the aims that will form the basis of  BAFS302 ‘Professional Directions’. Students will develop intensive research which prepares the ground for a practice-based project. This project should draw upon research skills that they have developed in relation to the study of film. It should also identify ways in which research into film might be shaped so that it can be accessed by diverse audiences for contemporary film. Exploration of audiences for contemporary film and contemporary film criticism will allow students to plan their final project and negotiate a course towards its conclusion considering future career or learning aspirations. Negotiated proposals for outcomes must evidence indicative inclusion of contextual studies subject matter and creative intent for the final year must be clearly definable at the end of this module.

BAFS302 Professional Directions builds directly on the work conducted in BAFS301, where students have established a plan of the work to be undertaken in this module and have also begun testing or shaping some of the core activities. The module will particularly encourage consideration of audiences, end-users and relevant markets for film criticism.  Where possible, students will be encouraged to find outlets for their work, which might mean fostering relationships with one another, as well as appropriate external agencies, individuals and professionals. They will also be encouraged to develop a personal approach to key thematics studied and to develop their understanding of the diversity of audiences for film and appropriate ways of reaching those audiences.. to date Through the work conducted here, the students will gain a practice-based understanding of the creative, commercial and cultural possibilities generated by film studies by finding ways to develop and disseminate academic research to contemporary audiences for film. Students will develop a portfolio of film criticism in their chosen style (eg. reviews, longer essays, video essays, podcasts etc.). This is an opportunity to build on research to explore alternative writing practices appropriate for communicating critical engagement with film. Typically, this option might involve developing a number of pieces of writing,  responding to a chosen group of films.

BAFS303 Independent Research Project represents the culmination of the knowledge, skills and understanding acquired throughout the entirety of the student’s study on the programme through the engagement in a project that is the result of a self-initiated or self-selected brief. There will be a substantial written component with a piece of original scholarship of 8,000 words. This extended writing project will answer the research question that was first drafted in module BAFS202, and which has been updated to reflect the students extended research project in BAFS304. In their work, students will be able to demonstrate the extent of their abilities to research film and produce scholarship on a given topic.  They will make appropriate use of theoretical and methodological frameworks, while demonstrating a complex understanding of relevant historical and contemporary debates in film studies. The work will also demonstrate ability to organise complex and diverse research materials in support of a cogent argument, which answers the student’s chosen research question.  

BAFS304 Contexts of Practice 3 provides students with an opportunity to develop their research practice, building on the foundational literature review that was completed in module BAFS202. The literature review and proposal in BAFS202 will have outlined initial areas of interest and methodological questions relevant to their personal development as researchers with an interest in film. For this module students will conduct and present an extended literature review (ELR) that offers a comprehensive survey of a chosen field The research conducted here will leave the students with the skills and research to add critical depth to their final written research project (BAFS303).

BA (Hons) Film Studies — Staff

Launching Sept 2021

Dr Eddie Falvey

Dr Eddie Falvey

Before joining Plymouth College of Art in 2017, Eddie was based at the University of Exeter where he completed degrees in English and Film Studies. Here at Plymouth College of Art, Eddie is Cross-College Lecturer in Contextual Studies and Contextual Studies Lecturer in BA (Hons) Animation.

His AHRC-funded PhD thesis (awarded 2018) focussed on depictions of New York during the time of film’s early development. During his time at the University of Exeter he taught on various modules in the English and Film department.

He has published widely on film and associated media and has forthcoming chapters on adaptation and intermediality in the films of Spike Jonze, monstrosity as queerness in contemporary horror film, integration as reception in The Shape of Water, and contemporary adult animation.

He is co-editor of an upcoming edited collection on contemporary horror media and is writing a monograph on Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator. 

As a contextual studies lecturer, Eddie lectures across the college to students on various degree programmes. His role within the animation department is to design and deliver contextual studies across the cohort, including dissertation supervision.

Eddie has presented conference papers at a variety of international events, has given public lectures, and has served as a peer-reviewer for journals in film studies.

Judith Noble

Judith Noble
Head of Academic Research

Judith Noble is our Head of Academic Research here at Plymouth College of Art. She is joint coordinator of the Black Mirror research network with Dominic Shepherd (AUB), Jesse Bransford (NYU Steinhardt) and Robert Ansell and Merlin Cox (Fulgur). Her research interests centre on experimental, avant-garde and artists film and the occult and magic. She has published extensively on Maya Deren and on Kenneth Anger and Derek Jarman.

She has recently completed work on Maya Deren and Surrealism and is preparing a monograph on Deren. In 2014 she organised the Visions of Enchantment conference with Dan Zamani and Rachel Parikh. Before returning to Higher Education in 2007, she worked for many years in arts funding and the film industry. From 1984 - 96 she was Film and Television officer at South West Arts; from 1996 - 2001 she was Chief Executive of the South West Media Development Agency and from 2001 - 2006 she was Head of Production at Sgrin Cymru Wales, where she was responsible for executive-producing and developing feature films supported by the Wales Lottery Film Fund. These included Peter Greenaway’s Tulse Luper Suitcases trilogy (in competition at Cannes and Berlin 2002 - 4), Amma Asante’s A Way Of Life (BAFTA winner 2005), Patagonia (Gruff Rhys) and Sleep, Furiously (Gideon Koppel). In 2007 she joined the staff of the BA (Hons) Film Production course at Arts University Bournemouth. She held an AUB Research Fellowship in 2010-11, trained as a PhD supervisor and became Course Leader for BA (Hons) Film production in 2014 before taking up her current post at Plymouth College of Art.

Judith is a Member of the Modernist Studies Association, ESSWE and a Trustee (and founding Chair) of the Friends of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (Boscastle, Cornwall). Judith holds an MFA from Reading (1980) and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Nottingham Trent (1978).

Dr Neal Kirk

Neal Kirk received his PhD in English Literature from Lancaster University under the supervision of Professor Catherine Spooner. He received his MS.c in Literature and Society 1688-1900 from the University of Edinburgh. He double majored in English Literature and Mass Communications for his BA at the University of Denver.

His work is included in the collections, Digital Horror: Haunted Technologies, Network Panic and the Found Footage Phenomenon (Aldana-Reyes and Blake, 2016) and Gothic and Death (Carol Margaret Davison, 2016) and the forthcoming Gothic and the Arts (Punter). Neal has thought in Sociology, Media and Cultural studies, and English literature and continues to explore digital media, digital culture and digital art forms. In addition to this academic background, Neal has over 20 years of experience working professionally in the radio, television, film and new media industries.

Neal works as a Lecturer on our BA (Hons) Digital Media Production and BA (Hons) Film courses, and he teaches the Digital Media Production module: Media Production – Music Video. He also teaches two film modules, the first-year module, Interdisciplinary Film and the second year module, Negotiated Project.

Lucy Leake

Lucy Leake
Senior Lecturer BA (Hons) Film & Screen Arts and Assistant Head of School for Arts + Media

Lucy Leake is a Senior Lecturer for BA (Hons) Film and Assistant Head of School for our Arts + Media school. She is an active member of the Plymouth College of Art Student Engagement and Experience Committee, championing the Student Voice in college policy-building and decision-making, and is a member of RAISE UK (Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement).

Lucy also holds the position of Secretary on the Executive Board of NAHEMI (National Association of Higher Education in Moving Image), the organisation that represents the centres of excellence for the teaching of film, television, video, animation and digital media practice in the UK and in Ireland.

Lucy’s film practice and research is focused around the notion of memory and the familial lens, and how family stories are fabricated, gendered and collectively re-remembered in a digital age. She celebrates the narratives of everyday life and is also fascinated by the creation of monsters, and how we use these in our film, media and cultural storytelling. She is a member of the Family Ties Network and has had her research included in Making Futures, RAISE 2017, CICAP 2016 and The Aesthetic of Renewal.

Lucy’s pedagogic research focuses on student engagement and innovative approaches to teaching. She has had articles published in the Creative Industries Global Conference 2017, and the Higher Education Academy Attainment in Art and Design Report 2017. She regularly attends conferences that champion the student experience, and which allow educators to share innovative approaches to teaching film, including CILECT Teaching Cinematography held at Hochschule, Munich 2017, and CILECT Teaching Documentary to be held in Bolzano, Italy 2018.

Lucy is also Associate Editor for Screenworks (Journal of Screen Media Practice) which publishes practice research that produces new knowledge in Communication, Media and Cultural Studies, Art and Design, Performing Arts and related fields.

Lucy is passionate about the Film programme at Plymouth College of Art, and the potential it offers emerging filmmakers to be the best they can be.

Alanna Morgan

Alanna Morgan

An experienced stylist and visual merchandiser, Alanna has created window installations and overseen creative styling for some of the highstreet's best-known brands. Working at Oxford Street’s flagship Miss Selfridge and Topshop Knightsbridge in London, her creative installations have been seen by an average of 4.3 million people a week. Alanna has significant experience of retail environments and their working and has led a creative team responsible for opening stores around the UK, including high-profile store refurbishments and new store openings. Also responsible for styling for press events,

Alanna studied Cultural Studies and Media Communications at Bath Spa university, where she specialized in identity in music and fashion cultures, and is passionate about the discussion of these areas within Fashion Media and Marketing.

Jason Hirons

Jason Hirons
Senior Lecturer

Jason is an artist, writer and educator with a particular interest in the detritus, flotsam and jetsam of the everyday. Other areas of interest include landscape, walking, critical writing, comics, Actor Network Theory, poetry and performative practices. Since 2001 he has been walking, collecting and archiving the city of Plymouth; this work has been realised in a number of ways, including published texts, performances (locally, nationally and internationally), installations, and public talks.

Having studied Performance Writing at Dartington College of Arts followed by a Masters by Research in Landscape from Plymouth University, Jason is a key member of the BA (Hons) Illustration and BA (Hons) Costume programmes at Plymouth College of Art, fully committed to his role teaching contextual theory and practice across the two programmes.

As one-half of Driftingspace – his collaborative research practice with the artist Sally Hall – Jason explores possibilities and concepts around space and place in urban contexts. Driftingspace attempts to read the city through ideas of architecture and the built environment, displacement, entropy and the ephemera of the landscape. The experience of walking and driving through the city, its transitional spaces, and its undefined places are all elements within their ongoing inquiry. 

The staff listed on this programme are correct at the time of writing. Students will be notified if there are any changes to key staff (i.e. Programme Leaders and Lecturers).

BA (Hons) Film Studies — Student Work

Launching Sept 2021

BA (Hons) Film Studies — Students Say

Launching Sept 2021

BA (Hons) Film Studies — Careers & Alumni

Launching Sept 2021

BA (Hons) Film Studies — Entry Requirements

Launching Sept 2021

BA (Hons) Film Studies — Resources

Launching Sept 2021

BA (Hons) Film Studies — Interview

Launching Sept 2021
UCAS: FSFT Full Time / Institution: P65