Media Studies

In the 21st century, media usage has become synonymous with daily life. Whether you’re checking your phone for news, catching up on the latest streaming series, listening to a podcast, meeting your friends at the movie theatre on a Friday night, or spending that evening creating a new TikTok video, you are constantly engaged with endless flows of media production, distribution, and consumption. As digital media have eroded the old boundaries between industries, genres, and platforms, they have become ever more inextricably intertwined with our daily lives. In this context, our need for a better understanding of media has never been greater.

Media studies is firmly grounded in society and culture and is therefore fundamentally multidisciplinary as an academic field of inquiry. In combining theories and methods from philosophy, history, literary studies, postcolonial studies, anthropology, and sociology, media at University College Utrecht are explored from a critical, theoretically informed perspective, encompassing the study of visual art and popular culture (from photojournalism to postcolonial cinema, from music videos to street art and protest signs); media, algorithms, and platforms; and the mediated documentation of the world we live in.

In the Media Studies (MES) track, we look at production practices (how and by whom are media made?), we analyze media texts (what meanings do they produce?) and we examine how different audiences and stakeholders (users, spectators, creators, participants, fans) engage with and consume media. Besides developing students’ skills in academic writing, practice-as-research (e.g. filmmaking, photography, or journalistic writing) is also a vital component in many courses in this track. 

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