FA5021 - Professional and Contextual Studies

What will I learn on this module?

Fashion is a global business and the study of fashion communication means understanding how the world works. This module fosters a deeper appreciation of professional contexts, principles and roles to help you locate your own practice, and further develops your knowledge and understanding of the social, cultural, ethical and political issues relating to the fashion industry. During this module you will be expected to manage your own learning and build on existing skills and knowledge in a professional context.

In the professional practice strand of the module, you will look at different areas in the fashion and creative industries, and investigate the diverse range of career paths and professional opportunities that their area of study can lead to. You will gain insights into critical issues, innovations and challenges through a series of visiting lectures from industry practitioners, placement students and course alumni.

With the support of the university’s dedicated Placements and Internships team, you will be given guidance on whether to take a sandwich year and help in researching and applying for a placement. You will also learn how to develop your personal brand through social media, a portfolio website and a CV, and how to showcase your fashion communication outputs in a way that resonates with industry.

In the theory-based strand of the module, meanwhile, a cultural and media studies lecture programme with guided reading will help you to research independently and evaluate your own practice and critical understanding of the fashion field.

Through the combination of practical, strategic and design thinking and academic and creative outputs, this module will support you in a holistic approach in your step to becoming a competent communicator and theorist of fashion.

How will I learn on this module?

Learning and teaching strategies on Fashion Communication encourage you to acquire a flexible and imaginative approach to problem solving through enquiry-based learning. You will become an active participant in your learning, integrating creative practice with academic and intellectual skills.
The extended studio (X-Studio) environment is integral to this process, encouraging individual intellectual freedom and a creative collaborative community. The X-Studio embraces our physical studios and making workshops as well as our virtual spaces to create a flexible and rich environment that is responsive to your learning needs.
This dedicated approach has been developed over many years of continuous teaching innovation, research and industry collaboration. It has created a supportive extended studio culture that encourages you to learn flexibly, dynamically blending your learning and University experience between physical and digital interactions both in real-time and online at your own pace.

This extended studio culture not only helps you to become a more confident autonomous learner but also prepares you for a dynamic design industry in which an extended studio philosophy is current practice.

Lecturers with industry experience and supporting research will guide you through the module, developing your understanding of professional standards and practice. Guest speakers from the creative industries will help you situate your own work in a professional context.

You are encouraged to advance your visual literacy and to be aware of current issues and debates. Working in groups, you learn to be flexible and collaborative, to identify and redefine problems in a creative way and focus on solutions that are both relevant and empathetic.

Traditional, new and emerging technologies are used both in the delivery and realisation of outcomes, and you will learn to present your work and ideas using a range of media and communication tools to a variety of audiences in different situations. You will create digital portfolios and presentations, reports and essays, as well as image-based/multimedia submissions.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

• At the beginning of your programme you will be allocated a Guidance Tutor who will be able to provide advice and support in relation to your academic, personal and professional development. Formal guidance tutorials will allow you to reflect on what you have achieved and identify your strengths and weaknesses
• Tutorials with lecturers provide advice on the direction of your work and whether you are meeting Module Learning Outcomes. These will be timetabled, and will help you to progress your ideas.
• Project briefs are introduced via briefing sessions, where the task is fully explored by both staff and students
• Live projects with industry and regional, national and international external partners extend the practical study of the subject area within an industrial context, where possible. They are also designed to support student confidence in their ability to handle professional practice within the creative industries
• Students experience a range of teaching, learning and assessment methods and course work is largely project based
• Modules are delivered through a combination of delivery modes, with guided and independent learning
• Additional study skills materials and workshops are available through Skills Plus at https://library.northumbria.ac.uk/skillsplus/ and Linkedin Learning
• Students are expected to maintain a project plan and are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning
• English language support is provided for international students
• University student services offer specialist support e.g. financial, disability, mental health, international student support etc.
• eLP includes all relevant documentation and learning material, e.g. module briefs, lecture content, video demonstrations, reading lists and weekly tasks, together with meeting spaces, discussion boards and notices
• Visiting professionals support relevant and current practice where possible

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: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1.Show an informed, critical and creative approach to understanding culture and communications, and make the links to your own communicative practice

2.Demonstrate your ability to critically analyse and reflect in the evaluation of research evidence or material through a contextual studies essay

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. Produce and communicate career development materials with distinguishable skill, application and presentation

4. Show your ability to be experimental and self-reflective in producing output for a variety of audiences and in a variety of media forms

Personal Values Attributes:

5. Operate effectively within group or team; apply decision-making and negotiation skills to produce a successful collaborative presentation

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will be conducted through:

Summative assessment
A portfolio website, CV and cover letter (3, 4)

A group presentation focusing on professional practice within a specific area of the fashion and creative industries (1, 5)

Cultural and media studies essay of 2000 words (2)





Module abstract

This module offers you the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding of fashion communication in relation to its professional and cultural contexts. It will introduce you to the different areas of practice in the fashion and creative industries, help you explore the opportunities afforded by a potential sandwich year, and give you the tools to secure a work placement, be that a year-long internship or a shorter placement over summer. Industry speakers will demonstrate examples of professional working practice and entrepreneurship, and provide case studies of evolving career paths.

Alongside this, a programme of stimulating lectures and theory-based sessions will develop your understanding and critical engagement with contextual fashion issues, fashion theory and research, and support you in writing a thought-provoking research-informed essay.

Course info

UCAS Code WP29

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

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2022

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Courses starting in 2021 are offered as a mix of face to face and online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future.

Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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