University of Technology Sydney

57229 Story Core: Ethical Production

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Communication: MAP and Sound and Music Design
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


In this subject students critically explore key questions concerning identity, industry practices, innovation and storytelling. They consider a series of theoretically-informed and practice-oriented challenges to initiate transformations towards a more ethical, engaging and vibrant screen industry. Students evaluate policy documents, evidence-based research and industry practices and protocols and apply these to on-set experiences and problem-solving scenarios and activities. They develop skills in designing and negotiating responsible media representation and work practices including gender and Indigenous representation, diverse crew environments and environmentally sustainable productions. Students focus on screen and media arts works designed to encourage audiences to engage in social change, and produce a short video or campaign iterations concerning a relevant ethical, sustainability or social justice issue.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Examine a relevant ethical, sustainability or social justice issue
b. Explore strategies for a more inclusive and diverse contemporary media and creative industry
c. Integrate strategies into innovative and ethical storytelling practices
d. Evaluate issues of identity, culture and bias

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

  • Reflect critically on trends in emerging media (1.2)
  • Engage ethically with complex problems to deliver future-focused and sustainable solutions (2.1)
  • Apply high-level collaborative research and entrepreneurial skills to business, curation and understanding audiences (2.2)
  • Analyse, develop or produce creative media projects for a range of platforms and experiences (2.3)
  • Be respectful of diverse cultural contexts (3.1)
  • Counter negative stereotypes and respect cultural protocols (4.1)
  • Engage with innovative works and practices of Indigenous practitioners (4.2)
  • Address social justice issues of equity, diversity and sustainability (5.1)
  • Engage audiences and communities for impact and change (5.2)
  • Demonstrate high-level abilities and self-awareness as an oral, written and visual communicator (6.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is delivered in block mode incorporating a range of teaching and learning strategies; including lectures, short presentations, in-class discussions, experiential activities, case study analyses, screenings, collaborative work and project-based learning. These will be complemented by flipped activities, including preparatory work prior to block mode classes using a range of resources provided on the online subject site, and out of class collaborative and project development activities. Additionally, students will be given formative feedback on assessments. Students are expected to regularly check and engage with subject materials on the online subject site in order to effectively manage their learning experience in this subject. Technical workshops including a compulsory lighting safety workshop will also be conducted, and should be factored into student’s time management for the subject.

An aim of this subject is to help you develop academic and professional language and communication skills in order to succeed at university and in the workplace. To determine your current academic language proficiency, you are required to complete a written diagnostic task. If you receive a Basic grade for the written diagnostic task, you must attend additional Language Development Tutorials (weeks TBA) in order to pass the subject. These tutorials are designed to support you to develop your language and communication skills. Students who do not complete the written diagnostic and/or do not attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials will receive a Fail X grade.

Content (topics)

Includes in-class and out of class activities including case studies, guest lectures, interview exercises, scenario activities, concept development, inclusive storytelling, project pitching, screenings and collaborative project development. Students will develop skills to approach issues of identity, culture and bias, and specific topics addressed in this course will include, Gender, Indigeneity, Diversity, Sustainability, On Set Protocols and Screenability. The content covered in this course will equip students with skills to create projects that approach social issues and representation using innovative and future focused screen-based storytelling.


Assessment task 1: Individual Video Essay on identity, culture and bias


a, c and d

Weight: 20%

3 minutes (maximum).

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Depth of reflection 30 a, d 5.1
Clarity of structure and narrative 30 c 2.3
Degree of aesthetic refinement 20 c 2.3
Degree of technical refinement 20 c 2.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Ethical Practices Case Study (Parts A and B)


a, b, c and d

Weight: 40%

Part A: In-Class presentation - 5 minutes

Part A: Written responses to Module 2 tasks as per Canvas instructions

Part B: Video Essay - 5 minutes maximum

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Depth of individual research (Part B) 20 a, b, d 2.1
Clarity of individual analysis 20 a, b 5.1
Relevance of critical engagement to ethical issue (Part B) 30 a, b 1.2
Clarity of individual verbal presentation (Part A) 10 a 6.2
Identification and countering negative stereotypes (Part A) 10 a, c 4.1
Engagement with innovative Indigenous content. (Part A) 10 a 4.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Video campaign and reflection - Part A (group) and Part B (individual)


c and d

Weight: 40%

Part A: Video Campaign materials 5 mins maximum.

Part B: Individual reflection, 1000 words.

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Impact of campaign delivery relating to relevant ethical, sustainable or social justice issue (Part A) 40 d 5.2
Professional and innovative presentation of content (Part A) 30 c, d 6.2
Clarity of written reflection (Part B) 10 d 6.2
Engagement with issues of collaborative media practices in written reflection (Part B) 10 d 2.2
Respect for cultural contexts through adherence to client brief. (Part B) 10 c 3.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Completed Lighting, camera and sound workshops (Media Arts and Production).

This subject is based on a collaborative approach which involves workshopping and interchange of ideas with other students and the tutor.

It is a requirement of this subject that all students complete a written diagnostic. Students who receive a Basic/Intermediate grade in the written diagnostic are required to attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials in order to pass the subject. Students who do not complete the written diagnostic and/or do not attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials will receive a Fail X grade.

Attendance at classes is essential in this subject. Classes are based on a collaborative approach that involves essential workshopping and interchange of ideas with other students and the tutor to build capacities towards meeting the subject learning objectives. A roll will be taken at each class (whether on campus or online). Students who have more than two absences from class will be refused marking of their final assessment (see Rule 3.8).

Required texts

There are no required texts for this subject. Recommended readings will be available via UTS Library and UTS Online.


Callaghan, C & Davies, H. 2017, Gender and austerity in popular culture. Femininity, masculinity and recession in film and television, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd, London.

Corrigan, T. 2011, The essay film : from Montaigne, after Marker, Oxford University Press, New York.

Fitzgerald, J. 2012, Filmmaking for change : make films that transform the world, 2nd edn, Michael Wiese Productions, Studio City.

Friesen, T. 2016, Story, Money, Impact: Funding Media for Social Change, Focal Press, New York.

Janke, T. 2016, Indigenous Cultural Protocols and the Arts, Terri Janke and Company Pty Ltd, Sydney.

Janke, T, & Gray, C. 2009, Pathways & protocols : a filmmaker's guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts, Screen Australia, Sydney.

Hongisto, I. 2015, Soul of the documentary : framing, expression, ethics, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam.

Murch, W. 2001, In the blink of an eye : a perspective on film editing, 2nd edn, Silman-James Press, Los Angeles.

Pincus, E, & Ascher, S. 2013, The filmmaker's handbook : a comprehensive guide for the digital age, Penguin Putnam Inc, New York.

Quinn, J. 2015, Adventures in the lives of others : ethical dilemmas in factual filmmaking, I.B.Tauris, London.

Rosling, H. 2018, Factfulness : ten reasons we're wrong about the world and why things are better than you think, Flatiron Books, New York.

Sinnerbrink, R. 2016, Cinematic Ethics : exploring ethical experience through film, Routledge, London.

UTS School of Design 2017. Cultural Principles and Protocols Working with Indigenous Communities and Materials, UTS, Sydney.

Winston, B, & Winston, B. 2013, The documentary film book, Palgrave Macmillan on behalf of the British Film Institute, Basingstoke, Hampshire.

Yorke, J. 2014, Into the woods : a five-act journey into story, The Overlook Press, New York.

Zettl, H. 2015, Sight sound motion : applied media aesthetics, 4th edn, Thomson Wadsworth, Belmont.