Experiencing the New Media Studies A Level

Fifteen students have been having their first experience of the new Media Studies A Level. Week one of the step-up course involved them analysing the codes and conventions used in Beyonce’s videos. They were challenged to work out how watching the singer's work helps create the audience’s sense of its own identity, in line with the theories of sociologist Peter Gauntlett.

Madeleine G says: “What I’ve been interested to realise is how the details of things like advertisements are all working on us with a particular purpose. It’s been fascinating.”

Students then plunged into the not so whiter-than-white world of advertising soap powder. From 1950s housewives clutching boxes of Tide to their hearts, to modern TV advertising, where both sexes did the washing. In a preview of how they will need to apply various theories to the media that permeate all our lives, they explored the latest advertisements. How hard must executives scratch their heads over how to make world-weary 2020 audiences notice their boring soap - or gel, or “Pods”? This led them into the labyrinthine world of intertextuality and postmodernism. Students will follow the Eduqas A Level specification, which covers newspapers, television, magazines, music video, advertising and marketing, video-gaming and online media in all its forms

The coursework element will test their creativity as they produce their own film, audio, web-pages or magazines. They will study set texts from all the different media and explore ideas from post-colonialism, to Van Zoonen’s feminist theory, to Levi-Strauss’s structuralist approach.

Mr Crossley, who is teaching the step-up students, said: “It has been a great few weeks and I have been so happy with the enthusiasm the new A Level pupils have shown. They have now been challenged to create their own video, audio or magazine cover and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.”