Cinema & Media Studies

Academic Program Introduction

Cultivating media literacy skills is the core mission of our program. Our students examine media as systems of cultural production, distribution, and representation that span a range of technologies from camera obscura to photography, cinema to video games, and social media to AI. As citizens in a globally interconnected world, CAMS students are empowered to contribute their voices to critical discourses and creative practices invested in social justice, the fight against misinformation, and the campaign against cultural homogeneity.

Learning goals

  • Acquire a broad-based contemporary and historical knowledge of global media cultures, including an awareness of the cultural, political, and economic role of cinema and media in modern societies.
  • Engage in projects in photography, video, digital imaging, or screenwriting.
  • Develop a critical awareness of the historical developments of film and media, their emergence and uses, and their social, economic, and environmental impact.
  • Understand the history and legacy of colonialism and imperialism at work in the aesthetic, technological, and industrial genealogies of cinema, telegraphy, television, and digital media.

Programs of Study

Cinema and media studies major and minor

Students will develop agency in the fight against censorship, misinformation, and surveillance that affect media production and consumption.

Course Highlights

  • This course examines how the over 4,000 annual film festivals impact the economics, circulation, and aesthetics of cinema. Events like Cannes, Berlin, and Venice may be known for glitzy red carpet premieres but are also important nodes in the global film market; less well-known, local, or niche festivals bring communities together and raise awareness about social issues. Students will learn the history of major A-level festivals and examine their global geopolitical implications. Furthermore, academic texts from the new and burgeoning subfield of festival studies will help us consider film’s role in conversations about human rights, environmentalism, and LGBTQ+ identity. Students will compare festival histories, objectives, and programming to construct arguments about how festivals have impacted global film circulation. Students will also plan a hypothetical festival to think through the practical concerns of programming.
  • This course investigates the technological, economic, and cultural determinants behind forms of media from the last 150 years, including the telephone, the telegraph, photography, and film, as well as new media like virtual reality and interactive media. If photography realized the desire to transcend mortality and early cinema fulfilled the dream to depict the world, their missions have been extended by technologies that seek to invent new worlds as well as material and virtual realities. Relying on a material theory of film and audio-visual media, the course examines both technologies of making and of circulation, exploring the commercial potential of the entertainment industry. The course will employ relevant texts, films, and other audio-visual artifacts.

Places and spaces

  • A closeup shot of a library bookshelf. Two students are browsing the shelf in the background.

    Art Library. Our art and architecture library collections cover the history, theory, criticism, and practice of the visual arts. They include books, exhibition catalogs, periodicals, and access to the major databases for the visual arts

  • Metal letters laid out on a printing press.

    Book Arts Lab. Students learn typography, letterpress printing, hand bookbinding, and decorated papers techniques in the Book Arts Lab, home to the Annis Press imprint.

  • An empty Collins Cinema with 175 seats.

    Collins Cinema. Featuring two 35 mm projectors and cinema seating with a capacity of 175, Collins Cinema hosts CAMS courses, special programs, and student Film Society screenings.

  • A laser cutter imprints the Art Department logo, a black cat, into a piece of wood.

    Digital fabrication studios. A number of digital fabrication processes, including 3D printing, laser cutting, vacuforming, and soldering, are available in the digital fabrication studios. Art students create prototypes, props, and works of art that combine digital rendering and preparatory processes with physical materials, exploring new ways of working in both 2D and 3D.

  • A mirror sits in the middle of an empty stage. The whole picture is illuminated with pink and blue lighting.

    Lighting studio. In this dedicated studio space, students create flexible and customizable lighting setups for a variety of photography, video, and installation-based projects. The attached audio recording suite has a soundproofed room and a mixing and editing space.

  • An empty Media Arts Lab with multiple desktop PCs set up at tables. The PC in the foreground shows the time of 2:04.

    Media Arts Lab. The Media Arts Lab contains Alienware computers with dual monitors and Wacom tablets, as well as high-quality printers, flatbed scanners, an HD projector, a 3D printer, and a vinyl cutter. A variety of software packages are installed on the machines, including Adobe Creative Cloud, Lightroom, Final Cut Pro X, and Autodesk Maya.

  • An empty dark room illuminated in orange light.

    Photography darkroom. With enlargers, developing baths, and other equipment, the darkroom is home to analog photography classes and projects.

  • A private room with mounted speakers, a flat screen TV, and two monitors.

    Video editing suites. These soundproofed rooms have permanently installed equipment to facilitate the editing of digital video, animation, and audio-based work.

Research highlights

Beyond Wellesley

Beyond Wellesley

Many of our graduates work in film and television, journalism, publishing, tech, and education. They are writers, directors, cinematographers, camera operators, designers, editors, and studio executives. They work at talent agencies, game design companies, museums, film archives, and colleges and universities.

Cinema & Media Studies Program

Jewett Arts Center
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
Codruța Morari
Program Director
Meghan Murray, Samara Pearlstein
Academic Administrators