University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Pyrotechnics in the Maltese Context

LEVEL 00 - Mod Pre-Tert, Foundation, Proficiency & DegreePlus

ECTS CREDITS Not Applicable

DEPARTMENT Degree Plus Programme

DESCRIPTION Fireworks form a distinctive component of the intangible cultural heritage of several countries. Where there is a culture for pyrotechnics, the national government through the relevant public agencies and/or authorities, should nominate it for inclusion in the UNESCO's Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage list as a cultural practice and expression of international significance. In Malta, pyrotechnics are an integral part our national and local celebrations. For centuries, all major events and feasts have been marked with firework displays, which are popular with locals and tourists alike. Recent decades have seen a significant improvement in the quality and diversity of locally manufactured fireworks, particularly those displayed as part of the village feasts, events which not only bring together the local community, but are also placed on the national calendar of touristic events and marketed internationally as niche tourist attractions for Malta with special organised tours being organised by tourist agencies with pyrotechnics shows being displayed prominently on their programme. Indeed, it has been argued that pyrotechnical practice in Malta, which merits world heritage status, need to be urgently safeguarded against the prejudice of individuals and organisations.' (see Pyrotechnics as Sustainable Intangible Heritage by Lino Bianco and Servolo Delicata).

This DegreePlus unit will delve into the exciting world of fireworks, their manufacture, legislation, etc. It will focus mainly on fireworks in the Maltese context. Highly skilled Maltese pyrotechnists will be invited to share their experiences and knowhow with the students.

Learning Objectives:

• To introduce students to the theory and basic principles of pyrotechnics. 'The word pyrotechnics is synonymous with fireworks but, while fireworks are produced to be admired and enjoyed, pyrotechnics are also made for military and industrial use.' (Takeo Shimizu);
• Students will be made aware of the four elements of fireworks namely light, smoke, sound and movement;
• A look will be taken at the legislation on fireworks in Malta;
• Students will be introduced to the fascinating chemistry of fireworks. (A knowledge of O level Chemistry will help, but not essential);
• Basic pyrotechnics safety precautions in the manufacture and letting off of both aerial and ground fireworks.

Unit material:

Appropriate notes will be provided during the sessions.


In keeping with the spirit of Degree Plus, there is no formal assessment associated with the unit. A certificate of attendance and of satisfactory completion of the unit will be provided at the end of the semester.

Note: Degree plus units are not designed to be incrementally burdensome in terms of the many academic demands placed on students during their undergraduate years.

ADDITIONAL NOTES This unit may not be offered if there is an insufficient number of applicants.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Attendance No 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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