UK college offers course in capturing the perfect selfie

Questions of identity, selfhood and memory are addressed in the class entitled "​The art of self portraiture".

The social media self-portrait got its own sitcom in 2014 when "Doctor Who" star Karen Gillan appeared in "Selfie." ABC

Say "cheese" -- a UK college is offering a course in taking the perfect selfie.

"The art of self portraiture" is offered by City Lit college in London's Covent Garden. The course costs £132, which translates to around $200 or AU$250. Running in March, the month-long course of lectures and group discussions aims to help you "improve your critical understanding of the photographic self-portrait" and give you a "platform to develop ideas towards the creation of a coherent body of work."

The course involves delving into your previous attempts as well as taking new self-portraits based on what you've learnt about "notions of identity, selfhood and memory." Grabbing a selfie in the bathroom mirror with your smartphone this ain't -- as well as questioning identity and selfhood, anyone signing up must understand photographic functions such as ISO, aperture and shutter speed, and must have a camera that allows you to adjust these settings.

The first selfie was taken in 1839 when Robert Cornelius darted into his own daguerreotype, but the self-portrait really took off with the advent of the smartphone and social networking. 'Selfie' was the Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year in 2013.

It's not the first time a seemingly frivolous modern phenomenon has offered a hook for further study: Durham University has offered a module on Harry Potter, the University of South Carolina ran a class on Lady Gaga and the University of Baltimore picked your brains on the subject of zombies.

As funny as all this sounds at first glance, it's worth noting that "The art of self portraiture" isn't a big three-year degree in selfies or anything so ridiculous. Like many adult learning providers, City Lit offers a dizzying array of courses from basic language skills, assertiveness and coding to cupcake decoration and burlesque dancing. You can learn how to create with everything from watercolours, calligraphy and pinhole photography to movie storyboards, botanical illustration and pop-up books. People interested in technology can start with the basics like choosing and setting up a laptop or tablet, then progress to courses on blogging with Wordpress and Tumblr, or using Facebook and Twitter for business.

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