‘Cash, Money, Records Forever’: An Introduction to the Business Practices of the Evolving British Music Industry

The course examines the structure and methodologies of the music industry and business in diverse settings: the origins of the music industry; different areas of the industry including record labels and its associates; artistry and agency; music consumption, distribution and promotion/marketing; and, creativity and legal issues in music. The course will also discuss how the evolving music industry has had an impact on business and society in Britain (and Europe).

EXAMPLE CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES (2-4 PER COURSE)

  • Guest lecturer(s) from the music industry
  • Attend a related music industry event/exhibition
  • Various Concerts and Gigs

COURSE OUTLINE

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London’s Consumer Landscape: Arcade Halls and Shopping Malls

Home to a wide array of historic markets, the most famous department store in the world, and the largest urban shopping mall in Europe, London is distinguished by the diversity, scope, and global character of its consumer spaces. Rich in architectural and historic significance, London’s consumer landscape serves as a valuable part of the city’s heritage. In the early twenty-first century, consumerism operates not only as a driving force of London’s economy but also as a cultural pastime for both Londoners and millions of tourists in the city. An analysis of this practice thus provides insight into the relationship among the social, cultural, and economic forces that have shaped the city historically and continue to define it. This course examines the ways in which consumer culture and the consumer landscape have developed in London from the late eighteenth century to the present. It engages with a wide variety of consumer spaces, such as street markets, historic arcades, High streets, department stores, and the growing trend of pop-ups, to investigate consumption in all its variety and complexity. These spaces illuminate not only the centrality of consumerism to London’s past but also how it operates to shape the contemporary character of the global city as an international shopping destination.

EXAMPLE CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES (2-4 PER COURSE)

  • Brixton Walking Tour
  • West End Walking Tour
  • Historic Arcades and Markets of the City
  • Green Street
  • Westfield Stratford City
  • The High Street

COURSE DESCRIPTION

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Travel Writing

What is traveling and what does it mean to each of us. What is it for? Why do we travel, and how do we decide where to go? What is travel writing? What do we want from it? Do you feel more ‘American’ now you’re out of America (if that's where you're from)? Why and How?

As Tim Cahill, the legendary travel writer and former editor of 'Outside Magazine', once wrote, “It isn’t the traveling, it’s the writing.” Cahill, Andrew Bain, Rory MacLean, Sara Wheeler, Rolf Potts, Bill Bryson–these are writers with wildly different styles, and many of them travel to completely mundane locations, but they all manage to learn something about themselves, and why they travel, in the process of writing. In other words, it’s not where they go; it’s how they experience the place, and how they write about that experience.

EXAMPLE CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES (2-4 PER COURSE)

  • Walking tours of Bankside, Soho/Chinatown, Camden Town, London canals
  • Exploration of the London Underground ('Tube')

COURSE OUTLINE

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‘London is the Place for Me’: Twentieth-century British Migrant Fiction

In June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union, a decision ascribed in no small part to anxieties about immigration, multiculturalism, and the arrival of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Similar anxieties are playing out in the US, and in fact throughout the West. Through readings of a broad range of novels by Anglo-Caribbean and Asian writers, “London is the place for me” examines how writers have depicted the migrant experience over the course of the twentieth century, and how views on ethnicity, citizenship, and belonging have changed in that time. While the majority of the texts examined are set in London, we will also investigate depictions of the diaspora experience in other British cities. In some cases, we will relate these texts to the migrant experience in film and music: the title of the course, in fact, is a quote from a famous song by the Trinidadian singer Lord Kitchener (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGt21q1AjuI). Reading these texts will, in turn, allow us to reflect upon the racial tensions and nationalist strains currently convulsing British and American culture, and to your own experience(s) of these.

EXAMPLE CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES (2-4 PER COURSE)

  • Visit to Tate Modern Exhibition, “Art in the Age of Black Power”
  • Visit to the Indian Collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum
  • Solo walk through Brixton and record-“digging”
  • Black History Walk – either the Notting Hill or Elephant & Castle walk 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

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Creative Thinking for Advertising

Is there such a thing as 'original' advertising? Is advertising an aspect of selling or is is art? Is shock cheap creative? Is being offensive cheap surprise? What sort of creative do marketing managements really want? What are the tools and techniques needed to interpret ad briefs and what does it take for a pitch to be successful?

‘Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula’ (Bill Bernbach). Breaking rules in ad campaigns rarely survives research. So the creative artist in advertising has to bend them or at a minimum be a great salesman – convincing the client of the commercial wisdom of doing something that’s never been done before.

The course has a split perspective. Part of it provides a window on the concepts and grammar of creativity; the other part is ‘how to’ oriented: imparting skills in drawing up creative strategy and in delivering creative solutions.

The course starts by unpacking creativity at large, mapping what it means to be original, innovative, experimental, radical, and provocative. High-end creative art is compared with creativity in advertising – typically viewed as ‘second-tier’ by virtue of being subjugated to sales/selling or by way of being strategy compromised and hence Ogilvy + Mather’s mantra: ‘If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative’.

But once selling is seen to be about offering ideas and images rather than artifacts the alleged substantive difference between art-creative and ad-creative becomes blurred.

A further key in the course is that innovation in conventional art forms – from movies to painting – is over and advertising is the replacement avant-garde. Protected by regulations and ring-fenced by research it’s easy for advertising to be provocative. But – the course will ask – is shock cheap creative? Is being offensive cheap surprise? What sort of creative do marketing managements really want?

Both successful and disastrous UK campaigns are deconstructed. This analysis – along with attending to the advice of some of the great ad practitioners from Bill Bernbach to David Ogilvy – yields a raft of tips, hints, guides, and methods for originating and communicating ideas that affect consumer behavior.

Finally, the course looks at that most demanding of creative tasks: the speculative pitch.

EXAMPLE CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES (2-4 PER COURSE)

  • Museum of Brands, Packaging, and Advertising
  • Transport Museum

COURSE OUTLINE

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