ATS2299 - Getting the picture: Film, photography and social change - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit


Chief examiner(s)

Dr Susie Protschky
Dr Noah Shenker


Dr Susie Protschky
Dr Noah Shenker

Not offered in 2018


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.


This unit encourages students to expand their cultural understanding and visual literacy in an era distinguished by the proliferation of images. It examines the major social and cultural transformations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the lens of the camera: from the tripod cameras of the mid-1800s, to the film cameras of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the digital cameras of today. Students will learn how photographs and film have not just captured but transformed how we see the major developments of the modern era: industrialisation; globalisation; the growth of the modern state and civil society; imperialism and decolonisation; war, atrocity and revolution; economic and environmental disasters; and pressing social questions such as economic, racial and gender inequity. Students will engage with how some of the great thinkers of the modern era have used photography and film to reflect on change in their time. Case studies from Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and Africa will show how images can bring diverse social and cultural perspectives into conversation with one another. In class and assignments, students will develop their visual literacy through critical analysis of images in context, to understand social change and local and global cultures.


Upon successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. analyse the key role of photography and film in shaping and reflecting social change;
  2. identify and discuss the distinct traditions that have informed image-making in the modern world, and the unique cultural and social innovations that have contributed to the globalisation of photography and film;
  3. integrate multimedia presentations with traditional essay writing;
  4. communicate effectively and work cooperatively with others to produce individual and collaborative multimedia presentations;
  5. construct evidence-based arguments using a variety of visual and textual sources;
  6. reflect critically on their learning.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study