Film & Television Studies MA

Experimental Cinema FTV4101

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides a chronological survey of the history of experimental cinema, exploring key historical movements and their relationship to contemporary practice. From early avant-garde movements to amateur film clubs and contemporary artists' films, this course will look at experimental film within national contexts and in relation to national cinemas, but will also reflect on the relative mobility and transnational flow often seen as characterising experimental film work. Key areas of focus will include work emerging from the early European avant-garde, the English structural tradition and the work surrounding the London Filmmakers Co-op, US-based underground filmmaking, including the No Wave movement of the 1970s and 80s, as well as work from contemporary moving image artists from across the globe.


1 x 2hr lecture; 1 x 1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Film and Television Studies and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Essay (2,000 words) - 45%


Practical curation project: either a curated playlist of 6-10 films (including a brief, 500-word intro and short description for each) OR a proposal (2000 words) for a programme of experimental films - 45%


Seminar contribution, including individual presentation (5 minutes) - 10%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce students to the key historical movements related to experimental cinema and to consider their relationship to contemporary moving image practice 

■ Develop an understanding of key considerations relating to experimental cinema and artists' moving image practice, including the work's production but also its distribution and preservation 

■ Examine a variety of approaches to the exhibition of experimental cinema and to consider the ways in which the exhibition contexts relate to the overall reception of the work 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Describe key historical movements and figures relevant to the study of experimental film 

■ Apply critical thinking through a range of approaches to experimental film practice 

■ Explain the principles underpinning selected critical approaches to the study of experimental film 

■ Apply selected critical models through analysis and case study of a range of experimental film

■ Implement curatorial skills in the programming of experimental film

■ Critically analyse experimental film practice through writing and oral presentation

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.