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Visual Methods in the Digital World


Admission Requirements

1) Students enrolled for the bachelor’s programme CADS at Leiden University who have passed the propaedeutic phase.

If because of an excess of applications a selection of participants must be made, students who have already followed another Bachelor Year 3 elective (level 300) will not be considered.

2) Premaster’s students who have completed the admission procedure for the master CADS (specialisation Visual Ethnography) and have been formally admitted to this course as part of personal pre-Master’s programmes.

NOTE: Due to an excess of applications from CADS Bachelor and CADS premaster students the course is in 2021-2022 unfortunately closed for Bachelor’s students from other academic programmes from Leiden University as well as for students studying Cultural Anthropology at other Dutch universities.


Students must bring their own SD-card and external hard-drive to the course (500GB/1TB, USB 3.0 connection, price from 65 Euro). Specifications will be offered at the first tutorial of the Visual Methods course. Owners of Apple equipment should ensure that drives are formatted for Mac & PC; i.e., exFAT..

Course Description

This course provides a general theoretical introduction to the theory of visual anthropology and the history of ethnographic, as well as hands-on training in the use of photography and video. Students are trained in how photography and video can be used in anthropological research through the initiation of a small ethnographic research project including the production of a short ethnographic video and the design of a website.

NB: This course is an admission requirement for the specialisation Visual Ethnography within the master’s programme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology.

Course Objectives

Students will acquire:

  • basic knowledge and understanding of ethnographic film history & visual anthropological theory

  • a general understanding of audiovisual methods and techniques that can be used in ethnography and an understanding of when to use which medium (word, audio, image, video) for research and reporting

  • hands on experience with using various audiovisual methods and techniques such as: (a) participant observation and systematic observation of social interactions and technical processes etc supported by photography and mapping; (b) conducting photo and video elicitation interviews, (c) visual ethnography as a research method, (d) analysing and editing ethnographic film from an ethnographic perspective

  • basic skills in the use of consumer video equipment and digital editing software

  • experience of presenting visual ethnographic research on an academic multi-media website, including a short edited video


Dates can be found on our website

Methods of Instruction

Total 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu)

  • lectures

  • tutorials

  • practical assignments

  • coaching through tutorial-supervision

  • performance in teams of two students of a piece of small-scale visual ethnographic research, to include the production of a short ethnographic video (approx. 10 min.) and an academic multi-media webpage.

  • various assignments in text and image

  • essay based on literature, film and video self-study ca. 300 pages of selected reading ca. 10 hrs. of viewing plus related class assignments

Assessment Method

  • practical assignments (10% of the final grade)

  • theoretical essay (circa 2000-3000 words), based on a selection from the viewing- and reading-list (30%)

  • ethnographic video embedded in a website that contextualizes the film (60 %)

  • mandatory attendance at and active participation in lectures, tutorials and practicals

  • If necessary there will be one chance to re-submit inadequate assignments or adjust the final project after assessment and before July 1st.

Registration in uSis

  • Registration in uSis is mandatory for this course for all participants. Please consult the course registration website for information on registration periods and further instructions.

  • The registration closes five days before the start of the course.

  • Registration for the exam is NOT necessary because this course does not have one final (classical) exam.

  • Registration for tutorials is NOT necessary.

  • Premaster’s students who have been formally admitted to this course as part of their premaster’s programme will be registered in uSis by the Student Service Centre (SSC/OSC).


Brightspace is the digital learning environment of Leiden University. Brightspace gives access to course announcements and electronic study material. Assignments will also be submitted in Brightspace. Announcements about and changes to courses will be made via Brightspace. Students are advised to check Brightspace daily to remain informed about rooms, schedules, deadlines, and details of assignments. Lecturers assume that all students read information posted on Brightspace.

The homepage for Brightspace is: Brightspace

Please log in with your ULCN-account and personal password. On the left you will see an overview of My Courses.

Course Literature

Available through the website (available from 15 January 2022 onward).

Contact information

For all information about registration/admission please sent an email to
After admission please contact: Drs. Metje Postma