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BA Latin and French

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Art for All: Collage, Montage and Repurposing in French and Francophone Cultures

Unit code FREN30732
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by French Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course unit examines a range of current artistic practices that are based on the recycling or repurposing of pre-existing materials. Taking stock of the new challenges offered by the digital environment and Internet, many French and Francophone artists copy, reuse, reframe, repeat everyday objects, forms of writing and media. Faced with the unlimited amount of materials available today (spam letters, newspapers, stock image banks, user generated contents, courtroom testimony, company patents…), artists have the opportunity to repurpose what already exist to create new artistic forms. By incorporating these materials into new genres and media (texts, films, music, choreography, digital practices), these practices not only challenge  traditional ideas about art and language, fiction and ‘high art’, but also offer new ways of thinking about mass information, the making of meaning, identities and politics. Through close analysis of the work of Guy Debord, Edouard Glissant, Clément Cogitore and others, this course will offer an array of concepts – such as ‘distraction’ and ‘story-telling’ – to think about the nature of the contemporary, of conflicts, and fake news. Seminars are devoted to the analysis of specific examples, sometimes led by students, and offer methodological guidance for the completion of an essay and an exam.



  • To know and recognize the most stimulating art forms of 20th and 21st century French and Francophone cultures and understand their cultural and political meaning.
  • To reflect critically on the notions of ‘repurposing’, ‘activism’ and ‘appropriation’, and the values of cross-media practices.
  • To analyse a range of materials and to situate them in a clear historical and intellectual context, using an interdisciplinary methodology;
  • To understand and use appropriate concepts for the analysis of these works (critical theory, media theory, production, reception, etc).


Learning outcomes

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


Week 1. Introduction

Weeks 2, 3. Tactics, Repurposing and detournements

Week 3 and 4: Inquiry and Fieldwork

Weeks 5, 7 and 8: Art and Social Media

Weeks 9,10: Uncreative Writing

and 11: Media/Creolisation and conclusions.


Teaching and learning methods

  • Three weekly hours in the class for 11 weeks.
  • A blend of lectures and seminars.
  • Voluntary individual and group presentations.
  • Useful web links and revision materials available on Blackboard.

Knowledge and understanding

  • To know major experimental practices of 20th and 21st c. French and Francophone cultures and understand their meaning and implications;
  • To analyse works across various art forms in an interdisciplinary manner;
  • To understand and use appropriate concepts for the analysis of these works (critical theory, media theory, production, reception, etc).

Intellectual skills

  • To define and manipulate concepts and methodologies mainly drawn from media theory;
  • To understand contemporary poetic practices as a semiotic system making sense through analyses of range of art forms and media
  • To evaluate critically the notions of ‘political writing’ and ‘repurposing’ and ‘activism’
  • To analyse and critically evaluate the construction of a new field of investigation in contemporary French and Francophone cultures.

Practical skills

  • Reading, writing and speaking fluently in sophisticated French; likewise in English.
  • To structure and write an essay individually, or as part of a team;
  • To carry out independent research;
  • To participate in class discussions in French and English.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Engage in independent reflection and enquiry.
  • Analyse sources and cultural meaning, and provide a synthesis of their findings.
  • Carefully formulate a research question, and structure an answer in a logical manner.
  • Write in formal French and/or English.
  • Participating in group discussions in French and English
  • Engage in group discussion.


Employability skills

The course will have particular benefits for students interested in pursuing a career in teaching and learning, (media) journalism, social services and culture. The course enhances skills of analysis, synthesis and oral presentation. The course content also encourages students to reflect upon the world outside of University, thereby providing confidence in the use of rigorous academic research in a variety of non-academic environments.

Assessment methods


Assessment task


Weighting within unit

1 group presentation (formative)

20 minutes


1 assessed coursework essay

2500 words


1 sat exam

One essay (choice of questions) in 2 hours




Feedback methods

  • Formative, individual, in-class oral remarks on students’ participation and understanding.
  • Formative, individual (or group) oral comments on the group presentation.
  • Summative, individual written comments on the assessed coursework essay.
  • And finally, summative and individual written feedback on the final exam.

Recommended reading

There is no set text to buy for this course unit, but key recommendations include:

David Bolter, Jay and Grusin, Richard, Remediation: Understanding New Media (MIT Press, 2000)

Leibovici, Franck, Des Documents Poétiques (Paris: Al Dante, 2007)

Hanna, Christophe, Nos Dispositifs Poétiques (Paris: Questions Théoriques, 2010)

Goldsmith, Kenneth, Uncreative Writing (Columbia University Press, 2011)

Citton, Yves, Médiarchies (Paris: Seuil, 2017).


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

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