Supervision Courses

© Thomas John 2012, Mexico

(The supervision courses are a continuation of the courses that prepared students for their final media projects. Students should by now have returned from fieldwork and discuss their findings with their supervisors and the class. Supervision courses in this final semester thus closely accompany the analysis of the fieldwork findings and the adequate means of their representation.)

Theory of what? Doing, thinking and writing an ethnography (Dr. Samuli Schielke)

In-house class

Also in visual anthropology, writing is a crucial part of the production and presentation of scientific knowledge. Drawing on your projects and the problems you face in research and writing, we discuss different ways to turn ethnography into a text and thereby also a theory: a way to see something.

Aesthetics and Ethics of (Re-)representing Fieldwork  (Dr. Mark Curran)

In-house class

In the context of your ongoing practice-led MA theses, this course will present multi-modal field research framing a discussion addressing research methodology informed by visual ethnography and its central relationship in the construction of the re-narration and re-versioning of that research. This can include public exhibition/installation, publication and/or web-based dissemination. While outlining and addressing the theoretical rationale regarding such possible research formulations, the course is further grounded by presentations from members of the group.

Sensorial Strategies in Visual Anthropology (Dr. Laurent Van Lancker)

In-house class

To articulate materiality, senses and imagination in documentary cinema might be an alternative means to create and convey knowledge, as are thoughts, paradigms and concepts. A dialogue, combination or/and juxtaposition of meaning and being, of senses and points of views, could originate in new perspectives in Visual Anthropology practices. 

Ethnographic film facing the 21st century: From observation to cultural critique? (Dr. Peter Crawford)

In-house class

The so-called digital age has brought with it new technologies that potentially may radically change the ways in which we seek to understand the world around us using audio-visual media. But does it signify the demise of observational approaches or necessarily substantially change what is understood by ‘participant observation’? Or does its potential to develop new narrative forms fundamentally change previous forms? Maybe it is also worth looking at possible tensions emerging between ‘narrative’ and ‘anthropology’ and, indeed, the relationship of both to art. One of the consequences of the so-called representational crisis in anthropology, towards the end of the last century, may have been the awareness that anthropologists may also be storytellers. But do (narrative) notions such as character, spectacle and plot fit snugly into the repertoire of anthropological enquiry today? And how is Marcus and Fischer’s notion of ‘cultural critique’, a concept developed as part of the representational debate, incorporated into filming ethnography?

Suggested readings:

Crawford, Peter Ian. 2010. ‘Sounds of Silence: The Aural in Anthropology and Ethnographic Film.’ InIversen, Gunnar and Jan Ketil Simonsen (eds.). Beyond the Visual. Sound and Image in Ethnographic and Documentary Film , pp. 22-44. Aarhus: Intervention Press.

Crawford, Peter Ian. 1992. ‘Film as Discourse: The Invention of Anthropological Realities.’ In Film as Ethnography, ed. Peter Ian Crawford and David Turton, Pp. 66-82. Manchester University Press.

Grimshaw, Anna and Amanda Ravetz. 2009. ‘Rethinking Observational Cinema.’ In Observational Cinema: Anthropology, Film, and the Exploration of Social Life , Pp. 113-136. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Mitchell, W. J. T. 2005. ‘There Are No Visual Media’, The Journal of Visual Culture 4(2), Pp. 257-266.

Code, Creation and  Indeterminacy (Dr. Nadine Wanono) 

In-house class

We will pursue this approach by focusing on the programming language. It is as invisible as it is crucial in all the process of writing and conceiving of a multimedia production. We all have been trained to express and publish our research by demonstrating our point of view in accordance with the surrounding scientific background and with appropriate examples from our respective fields. The conceptual abstraction, at the core of the demonstration process, the distance from our subject, is necessary in order to convey a reasoning recognized as such by the scientific sphere. Each step is cautiously taken to convince the reader to pursue the progression and the deployment of concepts along the logical path.


From a selection of film archives and of projects conceived with a creative approach we will further discuss the consequences and implications of such a methodology. 

Qualitative Methods III (Prof. Dr. Julia Eksner)

In-house class

The second part of the workshop is an introduction to the methodology and practice of data analysis. Special attention will be paid to methodological considerations as they pertain to the practice of visual anthropology.

Please note: As in our last meeting, the workshop requires advance preparation in order to make the most of the short time we have together. You will need to dedicate considerable amounts of time in preparing adequately for the two meetings, and you should plan your time accordingly. All readings and assignments need to be completed.  

Empirical Art: Confusion and Catharsis in Filmmaking for Fieldwork (Andy Lawrence)

In-house class

Dr Andy Lawrence (Filmmaker in residence and lecturer in visual anthropology at The Granada Centre, University of Manchester, UK) will use examples from his own documentary film work (see ) to lead a practical discussion in how to construct film narratives around research ideas.  Of central importance to this discussion will be a consideration of how filmmakers might use the material that they have to evoke the experience of others in order to represent them in a film and to generate a new and related experience for an audience of the work. He will discuss
how such empirical art can extend the boundaries of social science research beyond the written and conceptual.

Editing Forum (Tami Libermann)

Online Course

During regular meetings, we will follow your progressions in editing your graduation projects and discuss your rough cuts in class. We want to establish a forum in which the whole class serves as a test audience and in which you can learn from your fellow students’ input and opinions.

Matters of the Heart: Doing Sensory Ethnography at the Clinic (Dr. Christina Lammer)

In-house class

In this practice oriented class, sensory methodologies shall be discussed: Matters of the Heart includes a series of black and white 16 mm short movies of surgeries that we will explore together. Close-up moving black and white images of surgical operations evoke ambiguous reactions and feelings. The disclosure of inner organs and tissue unfolds the mystery of human being. The lens of the camera almost touches the hands of the operating team, playing their instruments beneath the skin. I will share my way of filming and doing ethnography in hospital environments with you. For this I suggest an approach that brings together filmmaking and surgery as parallel stories.