Cultures of the Street (DRA2085)

StaffDr Katie Beswick - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to introduce students to the theoretical and practice-based engagements with notions of ‘the street’ in both historical and contemporary contexts. The module will begin by considering the street as a ‘stage’ for both public and political discourse and formal and informal performance forms. We will explore different conceptions of the street throughout history and explore the role of the street in creating and sustaining discourses surrounding race, class and gender in different social, cultural and historical contexts. The module also aims to explore the role of public space in the development of significant performance forms and performative actions including carnival, protests and hip hop. The research, teaching and learning on the module will develop students’ critical and analytical skills and contribute to their future employability potential by offering them a deeper awareness of the range of performance forms and the relationship between performance, political structure and the governance of public space.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand the significance of public space in the development of a range of historical and contemporary performance practices
  • 2. Make links between specific creative, artistic and social practices and the politics and governance of the city space
  • 3. Articulate the relationship between emerging theoretical conceptions of public space and the realization of performance forms in a range of historical and contemporary international contexts.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Contribute research to small groups in effective presentations, to evaluate visual evidence and analyse, critique and manipulate complex material.
  • 5. Explore practical concerns through theoretical material, and to synthesise findings in practical and written tasks.
  • 6. Apply library and IT skills in independent additional research.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop advanced personal research skills using personal initiative; to set personal objectives that are linked to a sense of challenge and extending boundaries and to identify and evaluate personal learning strategies that are self critical as much as self reflective.
  • 8. Develop group cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback, and to improve communication skills and advanced analytic abilities in discussions.

Syllabus plan

The module will begin with an exploration of key contemporary and historical practices which use ‘the street’ as a stage or context. During the first few weeks will also explore a range of theoretical approaches to the street and to public space – making connections between the practical and theoretical conceptions of street life. The middle weeks will be a series of student-led presentations on the application of key ideas to performance contexts. The�final weeks will return to the lecture-seminar format to explore further examples in context and allow students to develop individual research interests linked to the final essay of the module.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities33Seminars: a combination of staff-led lectures, student presentations, tasks and discussions.
Guided independent study36Small group presentations, preparation for weeks’ readings, tasks and discussions.
Guided independent study12Reading, analysis and discussion
Guided independent study219Reading and individual preparation for presentations, essay writing, portfolio writing.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation in small groups20 mins1,2,4,7,8Staff verbal
Contribution to class blog1500 words1-3, 5-8Peer and staff written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio (comprising three critical analyses of performances)301,500 words1-3,5,6,7Written
Essay702,500 words1-3, 5-8Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Portfolio (comprising three critical analyses of performances)Portfolio 1-3,5,6,7Referred/deferred period
EssayEssay1-3,5-8Referred/deferred period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


Cohen-Cruz, J. 1998. Radical Street Performance: An International Anthology. Routledge.


Humphrey, C. 2001. The Politics of Carnival: Festival Misrule in Medieval England. Manchester University Press.


Nield, S. 2012.. Siting the People: power, protest and public space. Performing Site-Specific Theatre. Birch, A. & Tompkins, J. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan


Stanziola, J. 2015. Casco Viejo Walks, Interventions, 17:6, 866-878

Tanenbaum, S.J. 1995. Underground Harmonies: Music and Politics in the Subways of New York. Cornell University Press

White, Edmund. 2015. The Flaneur. Bloomsbury.


Woldu, G.H. 2010. The Kaleidoscope of Writing on Hip-Hop Culture. Notes. 67.1, 9-38.



ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages



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Origin date


Key words search

Street performance, culture, politics, public space