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Contemporary Film and Literature of the British Isles

Find out more about this course for visiting and exchange students and how to apply.

Close-up of a digital camera filming a scene from a movie.
Develop your understanding of contemporary British film and literature

On this 11-week course you will gain an overview of the literature and films emerging in recent years from various regions of the British Isles.

Course overview

This course looks systematically at the four nations of the British Isles: Scotland, England, (Northern) Ireland and Wales. The course will begin by focusing on works of literature associated with each of the four nations. The second part will then explore films associated with these nations.

Writers studied will include Tony Harrison, Jackie Kay, Kae Tempest, Owen Shear, Colm Toibin, Irvine Welsh and Seamus Heaney.

Several films will be core to the course including:

  • Submarine (Richard Ayoade, 2010)
  • Bait (Mark Jenkin, 2019)
  • The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, 2006)
  • Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999)
  • Small Axe (Steve McQueen, 2020), a series of films produced for the BBC.

Further works will be explored individually or as examples of the work of specific directors, such as:

  • Sarah Gavron (Suffragette, 2015; Brick Lane, 2007)
  • Mike Leigh (Peterloo, 2018; Mr Turner, 2014)
  • Steve McQueen (Hunger, 2008; Shame, 2011)
  • Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake, 2016; Kes, 1969).

Themes studied may include:

  • place and identity (including specific regional identities)
  • race, class and gender
  • emigration and immigration
  • the contrast between modernity and tradition and
  • humour, fairy tale, dream and transformation.

Course information

The course will run from week 19 to week 31: Thursday 8 February to 2 May 2024 from 11.15am to 1.05pm. Classes take place in person on campus. There will be no classes during the Easter vacation (weeks 27 and 28).

Before signing up please make sure that the day and time do not clash with your academic timetable using your MyTimetable.

Please note, information about our British Studies courses may be subject to change. We continue to improve our courses and your teaching and learning experience, so you gain skills and understanding which are valuable to you and sought after by employers.

Before you register for the course, please check this webpage for the most up-to-date course information. Once you have registered, we will inform you if there are any significant changes.


This course carries six credits. In order to be awarded credits, a minimum of 80% attendance is required.

Student experience

Hear what students Felisa and Xu say about the British Studies courses.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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