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Visual Ethnography: Fieldwork Preparations


Admission requirements

This course can only be taken by students who have received prior permission from the MA admissions committee to make use of audiovisual means during their fieldwork, and to present the findings of their MA-research project in a short film (or an audiovisual production of another kind), as well as a research paper. As a rule, the MA admissions committee will only grant such permission to students who have completed the CA/DS BA course ‘Visual Methods’ on time and with above average marks (either as part of a regular BA CA/DS, or as a part of a pre-master CA/DS). In exceptional cases the MA admissions committee can take courses taken elsewhere, or prior work experience, into account as well. Presently, no more than twelve (12) students can be admitted annually.

Course description

Ethnography depends first and foremost on qualitative research. Together, observation and interviewing are the most important techniques used for gathering ethnographic data. Using audiovisual means adds an important dimension to ethnographic observation and interviewing. Audiovisual records can be studied during and after the field experience. Even more important, such records can play a role in the stories that anthropologists tell based on fieldwork. Texts written can be supported with edited video, or anthropologists can tell their story in an ethnographic video film that conveys a situation or tells a story more or less independent from text.
This course prepares students for the use of audiovisual means during their MA-fieldwork. In the field, how can making audiovisual recordings help you to answer your research question? How does making audiovisual recordings change the circumstances of fieldwork? How can audiovisual recordings made as a part of ethnographic research contribute to the communication of research findings? This course combines theory with practice, and places great emphasis on hands on training, to develop skills regarding the recording of images and sound.

Course objectives

To critically explore the possibilities offered by audiovisual means, both in relation to conducting anthropological fieldwork, and to tell a story using audiovisual means based on such fieldwork.


  • Seminar – rooom 0A28:
    Tuesday 5 November 11-13 h
    Wednesdays and Fridays from 6-29 November 11-13 h
    Friday 6 December, 10-17 h

  • Tutorial:
    Wednesdays and Fridays 6-29 November,14-17 h
    Room SA07 except:
    13-Nov room 1A33,
    20-Nov rooms 1A33 (14-15 h) and 1A12 (15-17 h)
    22-Nov room 1A45

Attendance of all seminar sessions and tutorials is compulsory!

Mode of instruction

5 ECTS = 140 hours of study

  • 8 seminar sessions (x 2 hrs) = 32 sbu

  • 8 tutorials (x 3 hrs) = 24 sbu

  • literature ca. 400 pages/ film viewings ca. 20 hrs = 84 sbu

A bench fee is not required.

Students will need to budget for video tapes / memory cards to be used during their fieldwork (a maximum of 15 hours).

Assessment method

  • 4 written assignments, each of which contributes to the drafting of the research proposal (50% of the final grade).

  • 4 audiovisual assignments, relating to specific audiovisual skills required for the fieldwork (50% of the final grade).


This course uses blackboard.

Reading list

to be announced


Only on Blackboard.

Contact Information

Dr. E de Maaker: