Thursday, 4 November 2010

Thoughts about: Media Studies and Visual Cultures

Media Studies and Visual Cultures:
Being six weeks into the course, Im really enjoying myself at university, in and out of lectures. I took some time to adjust from Sixth form to university as traveling was quite difficult as i’m currently living at home and traveling every day to study. Traveling as i’ve mentioned below on this blog page, was particularly difficult the first week because of the golf tournament (Ryder Cup) in the Celtic Manor, (Newport), therefore traffic was bad, which meant leaving earlier to arrive in time for lectures.
The course consists of three lecturers, Ashley Morgan where we study, being academic, Cath Davies - Introduction to theory and Andrea Williams, Constructing meaning. 
I particularly enjoy Cath’s lectures as I enjoy learning about new theorists and their involvement with media studies. Studying Media Studies at school helped to understand Cath’s lectures and enjoy them a great deal. 
Ashley’s are very helpful, beginning university is a big step and to have help bridging the gap between A level or college and university. Also academic language can be difficult so ashley’s lectures help to develop skills. 
I also enjoy andy’s lectures, having just completed my first assignment I feel confident in understanding semiotics.
I personally like the idea of having assignments during the first couple of weeks, as it allows you more time to plan and structure assignments, so they are to your best ability. 
Overall i’m enjoying every aspect of my course and hope to carry on learning about Media studies. 

Text and the City:

For our first assignment of Ashley's module (being academic) we were asked to take three photo's of things that reminded us of Cardiff. I particularly enjoyed this task, as it allowed me to ‘explore’ Cardiff. However I found it hard to choose just three images to feature on my blog, as Cardiff has so many Iconic buildings. Originally I had planned to take photo’s of Cardiff Millennium Stadium and the Millennium Centre, as these both have strong connections with me. However as I ventured around cardiff I found the below pictures represented Cardiff and showed a true patriotic view of Cardiff. 

This is an iconic image for me when i think of Cardiff. There are many connotations to me when I see this image as ‘Brains’ beer sponsor’s Wales in international rugby. The emblem of the dragon helps to reinforce this idea of patriotism.  The image of a red dragon helps to reinforce the idea of  Wales, as the colour of wales is represented though the colour red. 
There is a welsh ‘myth’ about a fight between a red and white dragon, from the book ‘The Mabinogion - Lludd and Llefelys’, Their pained shrieks cause women to miscarry, animals to perish and plants to become barren. Lludd, king of Britain, goes to his wise brother Llefelys in France. Llefelys tells him to dig a pit in the centre of Britain, fill it with mead, and cover it with cloth. Lludd does this, and the dragons drink the mead and fall asleep. Lludd imprisons them, still wrapped in their cloth, in Dinas Emrys in Snowdonia. 
The dragons remain at Dinas Emrys for centuries until King Vortigern tries to build a castle there. Every night the castle walls and foundations are demolished by unseen forces. Vortigern consults his advisers, who tell him to find a boy with no natural father, and sacrifice him. Vortigern finds such a boy and on hearing that he is to be put to death to solve the demolishing of the walls, the boy tells the king of the two dragons. Vortigern excavates the hill, freeing the dragons. They continue their fight and the red dragon finally defeats the white dragon. The boy tells Vortigern that the white dragon symbolizes the Saxons and that the red dragon symbolizes the people of Vortigern. If Vortigern is accepted to have lived in the fifth century, then these people are the British whom the Saxons failed to subdue and who became the Welsh. 
This image can be found all around Cardiff on different buildings, like pubs and on various entrances of arcades.

Before coming to University, I didn’t visit cardiff a great deal, only to go shopping or to watch a rugby game in the Millennium Stadium. Im a very patriotic girl, so its important to support Wales in rugby. However when I think of cardiff now, I think of university, more specifically UWIC. I like this picture as it very iconic and the blue writing helps the text stand out from the brick background. I choose to apply to UWIC as it offered an ideal course for me, and was perfect traveling distance from home, which allows me to have the benefits of student life and studying a university degree. Also the ability to have a home cooked dinner every evening. 
In my opinion, I believe it is important to support you University and Course so here are some interesting facts about UWIC. 
  • Cardiff School Of Art opened in the old free library building in 1865
  • It then moved in 1900 to the technical building in Dumfries place
  • In 1949 it moved to the friary
  • In 1965 it moved to Howard Gardens
  • The College of Wales was changed to the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, and established in 1996
  • UWIC consists of three campuses; Howard Gardens, Cyncoed and Llandaff. (Llandaff of course being the best)
  • UWIC celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2006.
  • There are over 11,000 students from more than 125 Countries
  • Overs over 100 undergraduate courses
  • Its the leading centre for student sports in the UK
  • UWIC is part of the University of Wales alliance
  • It has the best bus service transporting students to each campus - the UWIC rider.
These are just a few facts among many of UWIC's achievements and Important history. 

Also importantly this year UWIC was ranked within the top 70 university in the UK. 

This picture is my favorite, it sum’s up my idea of Cardiff. Being from Chepstow (just before the severn bridge) there aren’t many shops, so when i think of Cardiff, shopping is quite important. The St. David’s centre is a new shopping building, the high glass makes the orange writing stand out, which helps make the building iconic to me. The building also has a strong welsh vibe, as there is a translation “Dewi Sant”. Having done welsh A level, I think its important to see welsh around Cardiff, as it is the Capital of Wales, also it connotes that Cardiff is bilingual.

Monday, 25 October 2010


Hollie Williams 
22, Victoria Road, Bulwark, Chepstow, NP16 5QN
D.O.B- 26/08/1992
A responsible young adult, with excellent communication skills. Capable of working on her own initiative, but equally efficient with team situations and activities. A quick and responsive learner, capable to research and learn of her own initiative. 
Enthusiastic and committed, can demonstrate excellent self and and time management abilities and thrives on new challenges and opportunities. 
Personal Skills: 
  • Excellent communication skills at all levels
  • Ability to deliver presentations/lead discussions
  • Computer and IT literate
  • Time Management skills
  • Determination and Focus
Employment history:
 I have been included in many television productions, these include Casualty, Pobol y Cwm and Gavin and Stacey for the BBC. These achievements are something I am very proud of as they enabled me to interact with different people and because of the very strict time schedule involved with television productions I am confident that my time keeping skills are accurate and I can work with a team to achieve these goals.
    I have recently finished 6 weeks work filming the television series ‘The adventures of Sarah Jane’. Within this placement I believe I have gained an insight into the working life of the media, and gained important skills such as, working within a team. Currently I have become involved with a small comedy series called ‘Whites’ starring ‘Stephen Fry’, this can be viewed on BBC 2 on week nights. I enjoyed this time immensely and am anxious to pursue a career within this industry.
  I also worked at a ‘Home base’ a D.I.Y store for a short period of time before completing my A Level’s, this job helped to develop my people skills. I also feel, working in a shop, helped my development my technical ability, for example using tills. 
I’m currently working for Caldicot Castle and Cardiff castle as a Medieval ‘sing server’ at banquets. This involves serving traditional Medieval meals to guest, and singing Medieval songs during courses. 
Below is a picture of myself (to the left) serving in a traditional welsh ladies costume, working at Cardiff Castle, serving guests ‘mead’ (a medieval liquor) on arrival to banquets. 

Qualifications/ education/ course training:

Current academic study: UWIC (University of Wales institute Cardiff) studying Media Studies and Visual Cultures on the Llandaff campus. 
Attended Chepstow Comprehensive School 2003-2010
The Dell Primary School: 1995-2003
GCSE achievements: 
Maths - A
English- B:  lit - C  Writing - B
Science A: Chemistry- B, Biology- A, Physics - A 
I.T - A
Welsh - B
History - C
Drama - B
A Level’s in Media Studies, Welsh Second Language and Drama
Grade 2 Clarinet, English College of Music
Grade 3 Piano, English College of Music
National Diploma in Law
Full clean UK driving license
Hobbies/ interests:
My interests include Karate, I am currently a Brown Belt, studying towards my Black belt. I enjoy karate, as its a good way to keep fit, and also a good way to protect yourself. I enjoy Clarinet and Piano where I have achieved Grade 2 and 3 respectively. I’m also keen to pursue outdoor activities, I have a canoe and Jet Ski, which I enjoy greatly. I feel being outdoor’s helps to improve health, and canoeing is a great way to exercise. I’m a very friendly person, who enjoy’s spending time with my family and close friends, participating in hobbies and interests. 

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Hopes and Aspirations

My main hope in the future is to gain a good degree, studying ‘BA (hons) Media Students and Visual Cultures, in Cardiff school of Art and Design at UWIC University. With this degree I hope to further my Media experience and pursue a career in the television and film industry. 
Having studied Media Studies at A level in Comprehensive school, I gained an understanding  and insight into Media Studies. I enjoyed every element of A level, particularly the creative side such as coursework, producing magazine covers and DVD covers. This interest made me realize my future career, therefore throughout the summer, I gained experience into this industry, working for the BBC filming 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'. 

The Sarah Jane Adventures is a Children's 'spin off' from Doctor Who, starring 'Elizabeth Sladen', 'Tommy Knight', 'Daniel Anthony', and 'Anjili Mohindra', and guest appearances occasionally from the 'Dr' himself 'Matt Smith'. 
This was a great experience for me, as it gave me an insight into my future 'career'. My role was 'crew' based standing in for one of the principal actresses (soon to be featured). 
I worked with the company for about 6 weeks, Monday- Friday, working 11 hours everyday, traveling to various locations in and around Cardiff. Although the hours were very unsociable and tiring the cast & crew were very friendly which helped when filming in desolate locations in all weathers! I feel lucky to have gained this experience, and think it was an important factor in my decision of 'future career'. 
My hope for the future is to work my way through the industry gaining as much experience in different 'fields' as possible. Hopefully, this experience will then help to gain a job within a media industry. (fingers crossed the BBC).  

Being involved in the television industry for a short time, helped me realize my ambition to further my knowledge of media and pursue a career in the Television industry. <<< here's the link to the new Series 4 SJA teaser trailer.  

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Glossary of terms

Semiotics- The study of signs. “ Semiotics is concerned with everything that can be taken as a sign" (Eco:1976:7 in Chandler D, 2002:2)
Genre- in a study of media texts it is used to divide texts into easily identifiable categories. It is a way of classifying media products according to the elements that they share. “..”
Stereotype- A ‘typical’ image with exaggerate features that appears so many times that becomes convention. This representation of characters can be positive but it also simplified and judgmental. 

Form- The structure and style of a text. ".." 

Encoder- Source through which meanings are made ".."

Denotation- A literal link between the sign and its referent. ".."

Connotation- Adds value to the denotative sign by offering additional meanings. ".."

Preferred reading- Dominant meaning intended by the encoder. ".."

Ideology- A system of ideas/ beliefs and myths. 

Dominant Ideology- A selective and partial view of a 'hegemonic' group in society. ".."

Text- A message ".. in a form that is physically independent from its sender or receiver" (Chandler 2002:2)

Textual Analysis- The process of accessing meaning within a text. ".."

Langue- Language- rules of sign systems (grammer)

Parole- Speech, articulation of signs - Speech or writing. 

Polysemic- Multiple meanings to which the decoder contributes 

Conventions- Both the cultural and social dimensions of a sign depends upon a shared culture

Formalist filmmakers- see the screen like artist's canvas, and create a world within its frame using their own rules

Realist filmmakers- However work as if they look out of a window that frames a small part of a larger world. 
Camera angles: 
Mise-en-scene- This French phrase literally means ‘ Put-in-the-scene’ and refers to everything that can be seen in the shot including characters, lighting, iconography. “...”
Tracking/ reverse-tracking shot- The movement of the camera using a dolly or steadicam to allow it to smoothly followed a character or action. In reverse track the camera moves backwards and the character/ action moves smoothly towards the audience. “...” 
Diegetic sound- This refers to natural sound that is part of the Mise-en-scene or ‘Sound you can see’. “An explosive sound as a gun is fired”. 
Non-Diegetic sound- Sound super imposed upon the Mise-en-scene or ‘Sound you can’t see’. “Music to establish a mood”.

Tzvetan Todorov- He suggests that the primary function of the narrative was to solve a problem and that Characters pass through a series of stages of linear narrative where events follow in chronological order. “...” 
Roland Barthes- (1915-80) was a writer who continues to influence the study of the ways in which meanings are produced by text through signs and code systems (semiotics). 
Vladimir Propp- (1895-1970) researched the roles of characters in folklore and fairy stories. He wrote an influential book ‘The morphology of the folktale(1928)’ which sets out this findings. This has been applied to media texts to discuss the important function of character in narrative. 

This will be updates as much as possible! :)

Thursday, 30 September 2010

My first week at UWIC

( this is one of my text and city photo's)

My first classroom assessment was to watch the Film ‘American Dreamz’ and answer the questions set. This task was quite simple and effective as it allowed me to recap over all the Media terms learnt at A level. 
We then had to email our finished assignment to our lecturer using our UWIC email address on Outlook. << this was harder than it looked!! Also we had to print off our handbook's for each lecture, which could be found on 'Blackboard', this system i found particularly hard to master.
 Enrolment took place on Thursday, which allowed us to have Student Passes for campus, an email address and student usernames, which allowed us on the outlook and blackboard. However... these usernames weren't effective immediately, so we had to wait to access blackboard and outlook. 
  As i'm traveling to uni from home (Chepstow), i thought it was important to make a good impression and not turn up late, therefore on Monday 27th i left my house at 7.30, and not arriving to uni until 8.45, for a lecture at 9. This long journey was a result of the Ryder Cup traffic, which started on the same day! BRILLIANT.. :S. The rest of the week was much the same, a long time stuck in traffic, however the lectures were really good! I enjoyed the physical aspects of the class, watching the films, and analysing, as i feel particularly comfortable in this department. 

Over all, 

The original nerves shared by many new freshers has gone! :) Im enjoying settling down to my course, and making some new mates!