The purpose of the Assessed Seminar is to build upon the seminar skills developed in the 1st and 2nd years and, working together as a group, to allow students to organise and run a seminar on a subject of their own choice, within their seminar option.
The Assessed Seminars aim to develop students’ understanding of the topic (particularly a critical understanding of the key themes, approaches and opinions), improve their knowledge of the subject area (through reading and preparation for their own seminar, their seminar contributions and involvement in the seminars), and develop their skills in chairing a seminar, presenting material and being involved in discussion (including ‘thinking on their feet’ about the topic being discussed, how to engage interest in the topic and stimulate debate).
The aim of this module is to encourage students to explore the different disciplines, theoretical perspectives, issues research methods and interpretations associated with the study of 'public' buildings in the UK. In terms of its chronological scope, the module will focus on the construction of 'public' buildings from the medieval period to the present day. The module will explore various kinds of 'public' architecture, from civic buildings such as guildhalls and townhalls, to leisure buildings such as assembly rooms, baths, theatres and museums to instutional structures, including prisons, asylums and hospitals and schools and even railway stations!
During the module we will consider the definition of 'the public' - how was it identified - by people themselves, or others, in the past. We will think about the function and meaning of different kinds of public buildings, exploring their architecture and the ways in which the structure and space of buildings could be designed and controlled to create particular kinds of meaning or experience for the 'publics' who used them. The module will involve multi- and inter-disciplinary study, engaging with theoeries drawn from architecture, history, philosophy and the social sciences.
By the end of the module, students should:
• Understand the philosophical concept of the ‘public sphere’ and its significance for the archaeological study of public buildings
• Be familiar with the literature relating to the study public buildings within the historical period
• Have a solid understanding of the theoretical and methodological issues relating to the archaeological analysis of public space
• Be aware of a range of case studies of public buildings from different time periods
• Demonstrate in depth knowledge of a topic of their choosing
• Identify the key issues in their chosen topic
• Prepare a worksheet which sets out key reading and issues for presentation, debate and discussion, and support the group in the preparation of the seminar
• Chair a seminar, engage interest in the topic, stimulate debate and structure discussion
• Have a critical awareness of the process of collective debate on a specific topic
• Be able to judge the general 'success' of the seminar, and to be able to reflect on this, through a written summary of a seminar
• Present PowerPoint presentations on other subjects within the general theme and contribute informed ideas and information to the other seminars