SO6005 - Images and Identity

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What will I learn on this module?

The aim of this module is to enable you to engage with and develop advanced visual research methods skills to enable a critical engagement with key sociological issues around life narrative, biography, community and identity.

Through interactive workshops you will explore and develop a sound knowledge and understanding of the skills, philosophies and processes of using visual methodologies in social research. You will then put these skills into practice to addresses theoretical approaches to identity, community, biography and life narrative, drawing upon theories, methods and issues explored over the course of your undergraduate studies (including citizenship, work, leisure and consumption for example).

A tutorial system will be used to supported you to develop your own understanding and application of visual research methods in a contemporary social science context and will deliver an extended photo essay that demonstrates your learning on the module.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through a range of practical activities that require you to take and/or collate images, explore image collections and libraries and deconstruct collections curated by others. Group sessions will involve a range of mechanisms to enable you to develop a critical appreciation of advanced visual methods, with an emphasis on the theory and practice of visual sociology. We will then explore, through a range of activities, the value of visual methodologies in exploring issues of identity and community. We will, each week, collectively deconstruct iconic images and develop a portfolio of critical reflections to help inform the summative assessment.

Throughout the module you will develop advanced visual analysis skills and will be able to put into practice all of the skills that will be needed in the final assessment.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported throughout the module by module tutors through: interactive lectures and seminars with regular opportunities for question and answer sessions and group tutorials during the completion of module activities. In addition you will be able to access one-to-one tutorials with the module team through the weekly ‘office hours and feedback’ sign up process and via email and telephone.

If you have any further or specific learning needs then do discuss this with the module leader at the start of the semester.

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

1. You will demonstrate an advanced understanding of visual methodologies in social research and how these methodologies are put into practice.

2. You will be able to display a critical knowledge and understanding of a range of theories and concepts in relation to identity, biography and visual sociology and the ability to evaluate those theories.

Intellectual / Professional skills and abilities

1. You will display skills of self-reflection with regard to biography and, through engagement with a range of sources of identity, relate this to classical and contemporary social theory.

2. You will effectively communicate ideas to others as a result of enhanced skills of presentation and visual analysis.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA)

1. You will develop an appreciation of the importance of visual analysis in everday life.

How will I be assessed?

3000 word extended photo-essay with 6 images that allows you to critically consider the value of visual methodologies to the social sciences by focusing on a case study of any one of the following concepts: identity, community, life history or biography. The photo essay must include six high quality images selected or taken by you.


Either completion of SO0624 Real World Quantitative Research and SO0732 Real World Qualitative Research or evidence of having studied qualiative resea



Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code L300

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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