MP4029 - Consuming Media

What will I learn on this module?

In this module we will challenge taken-for-granted ideas about media consumption, examining our own and other people’s engagements with different media, exploring how we make sense of, for example, advertising, how we create meaning and identities from the products we purchase, use or discard, and how power might be implicated in those choices. Engaging with research and experiences of a wide range of communication technologies from the shopping centre through to the TikTok platform we will explore how media, consumption and everyday life are entangled; we will examine cultural artifacts, such as music, films, books, art, and other forms of media, in order to experience and understand the culture(s) they represent. Through media we can explore and experience culture (our own and others), we also interpret the media or culture we consume. What kinds of evaluation do we make and on what basis? According to class, gender, race, nationality, heritage? How do we then integrate our media or cultural experiences into our personal lives, how are our beliefs, attitudes and behaviour affected by our choices? What kinds of reinterpretations and recreations might we engage in - what creative expressions might we employ: through shopping, technologies, remixing music, creating fan fiction, creating art, videos, snapchats etc?

Your understanding of different cultures of consumption and exploration of social and economic power will be developed through the study of key theorists, themes and case studies. You will consider real-world contemporary examples alongside your own experiences with media and cultural forms, to explore how recent social change from a 'production' to a 'consumption' society has implications for social relations and your own reflexive identity.

Study visits to, for example, a cinema, shopping centre, theatre and museums will enable evaluation and application of theoretical approaches through critical reflection on your own experiences and the presentation of those experiences according to academic conventions. The module also aims to develop your ability to work with theoretical concepts of consumption, communication, applicable to journalists, digital marketers, social media influencers, and beyond

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn via a variety of activities: including lectures, seminars, visits, online activities (where appropriate) and independent learning. Lectures will provide the contextual and theoretical information you need to understand the module’s themes and approaches. Your lecturer will demonstrate how to apply relevant critical techniques, and to stimulate your engagement with the course material (by, for example, presenting various challenges and conflicts raised in the field). Study visits to various sites of consumption, such as a shopping mall, a museum, cinema or theatre will enable you to engage with the lived experiences of spaces and their impacts on the choices we make and the kinds of pleasures we enjoy. Following those visits, seminars will provide space for you to interrogate and discuss the ideas raised in the lectures and visits with your peers and guided by your tutor. Seminars are oriented around discussion questions and activities to stimulate your engagement. Outside of taught sessions, you will be expected to engage with module-relevant reading in preparation for the sessions. An electronic reading list is supplied via the e-Learning Portal, which will guide you towards appropriate resources, although you are encouraged to explore the wider library catalogue to engage with additional sources too. During your independent working time, it is also expected that you will apply the ideas raised in the reading and the taught content to contemporary media examples beyond those cited in the lectures. Where appropriate, additional materials will be supplied on the eLearning Portal. These independent activities will facilitate your development as you progress through the module, laying a foundation for your assessed work.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by the module lead; they will introduce the module at the start of the semester and offer advice and guidance throughout. Your learning is mapped out via documentation on Blackboard Ultra, the Northumbria University online electronic learning portal; this is accessible online on and off campus. The e-Learning Portal will include guidance notes and key dates to help you organise and plan your time. It will also include teaching materials, announcements and updates, and detailed information on assessment. You will have a university email that we contact you through.

We support your learning by providing on-going feedback (Formative and Summative) through the range of teaching and learning approaches offered. We ask you to submit your work electronically, and we will supply feedback via Turnitin. You will be able to compare your feedback across modules so that you can assess your development as you progress through the programme.

Formative assessment is offered throughout the module, and summative assignments will receive written feedback within 20 working days of assignment submission. Every tutor has set weekly feedback and tutorial drop in hours, wherein you can seek advice on your academic progress.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
KU1: Gain knowledge and understanding of contemporary theoretical approaches to consumption of media in everyday life

KU2: Gain knowledge and understanding of the ways specific media and their technologies make, shape and influence consumption

KU3: Gain knowledge and understanding of the ways specific media are consumed, reworked and remade by ‘consumers’

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
IPSA1: Demonstrate your ability to critically interrogate cultural events and/or media artifacts by drawing on the theoretical paradigms and approaches covered on the module

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
The debates covered during the module will enable your reflections on questions about the power of the media and how these concepts may have been blurred in the age of digital communications.

How will I be assessed?

To prepare you successfully to undertake the summative assessment(s) on this module, formative assessments will be set by the module team. These may take the form of in-class tasks or projects, developmental activities undertaken between classes, or learning exercises/activities set over a longer period. Feedback (written and/or oral) will be provided to help you learn from, reflect on, and develop in light of these formative assessments.

A 2000 word essay exploring a specific instance of media consumption and its significance (LO 1-5) (worth 100% of overall module grade)

You will receive formative feedback from your peers and module tutor during seminars throughout the module, allowing you to apprehend how your critical skills are developing. You will receive a detailed commentary and a summative mark on your written work in accordance with the assessment criteria (supplied on the eLP). Under normal circumstances, you will receive written feedback on your summative submissions within 20 working days. The feedback will normally be supplied electronically as part of the ESAF process. This feedback will provide a detailed account of your skills, critical engagement and communicative ability, as well as supporting future learning by indicating areas for development. You can also request additional verbal feedback on your submissions by arranging a meeting with the module tutor.





Module abstract

As media consumers, we have the power to shape our own experiences and perspectives by the choices we make. From TV shows to Spotify playlists, our media consumption is a crucial part of our daily lives, yet we often don't realize the impact it has on us. The ways we consume mediaare often influenced by factors such as gender, age, class, nationality, and ethnicity: the popular belief that romance movies are for women and action movies for men is just one example of these patterns.

Our lives are now more connected to media than ever before. From staying in touch with friends and family through social media to using apps for everyday activities, media play significant roles in our daily lives. Media and Cultural Studies researchers have explored the importance of media consumption and how it both provides us with information about the world, different cultures, and our own attitudes and beliefs while increasingly we are able to interact with others across and within media. As students of media, we can delve deeper into these topics and question how they impact our understanding of representation, entertainment, innovation, and, most importantly, power – this module offers space to explore the ways our lives and perspectives are both shaped and enriched by our media engagements.

Course info

UCAS Code P305

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria School of Design, Arts and Creative Industries

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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