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Fieldwork for ‘Visual Ethnography as a Method’


Admission requirements

Students cannot start their field research unless the following conditions have been met:

  • Formal admission to and enrollment in the MA Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology

  • Submission of the approved final research proposal

  • Submission of the approved budget

  • Submission of the completed declaration of liability

  • (if relevant) Proof of language proficiency (declaration by the supervisor)

Research projects

Students are required to make their choice of research topic and fieldwork-location by “October 1st.” Research proposals of students taking Visual Ethnography as a Method conform to the same structure as those of other MA students. The proposal specifies a clear research question, and explains how that question is embedded in current anthropological theory. The research proposal also includes a review of academic literature relevant to the topic of the research. Furthermore, the research proposal specifies the techniques that will be used to gather data to answer the research question, and concomitant ethical considerations. For students taking Visual Ethnography as a Method, techniques include, but are by no means limited to, the use of audiovisual tools. The research proposal should also provide an outline of the proposed audiovisual and textual output of the research project.

MA students taking Visual Ethnography as a Method are normally only allowed to conduct fieldwork in the Netherlands. In rare cases, an exception can be made for students who are permanently residing abroad, to do research in their home country.

The Institute for CA/DS has a limited number of high-end video camera’s available, and students will normally be required to share the use of a recording set throughout their fieldwork period. Students are expected to work in pairs, and help each other out with the recording of sound and so on. The time of the video recordings made during MA fieldwork should not exceed 15 hours.

Students organise their fieldwork themselves. This includes establishing contacts in the field, and (where required) organising accommodation. It also includes, where necessary, acquiring research permission from local authorities.

MA students taking Visual Ethnography as a Method are conducting fieldwork during the months of January and February (one month less than available to regular MA students). Students are expected to regularly report to their advisor in the course of the MA fieldwork.

Financial matters

MA field research can be a costly endeavour for the student, as it will usually involve travel and the costs of additional accommodation. These expenses are not covered by the tuition fee for the MA programme.
In addition, students who use the camera and other equipment owned by the institute, are required to contribute 75,- euro for covering a part of the insurance costs.

To ease the financial strain various funds can be applied for:

  • The Leiden University scholarship web-page. Most often the students of CA-DS acquire grants from the LUF and the LUSTRA but can also be sucessful in acquiring financial aid from smaller, private funds and trusts. Since much of the information about funds is available in Dutch language, foreign students might need assistance from their Dutch fellow-students when looking for relevant information, or address the resources from their country of origin.

  • Sub-letting your room in Leiden can also be a good source of income.

  • Also check the Dutch study grant provider DUO for additional information.


The fieldwork is rated “pass” based on performance in the research setting.


January & February 2016


Fieldwork coördinator Dr. Erik de Maaker (room 3A34, tel. 071-527 6612,
e-mail )