We're in the middle of a documentary renaissance. Documentary stories are being told in cinemas, on TV, in galleries, on tablets and on mobile phones. On this course you'll learn about the technology that's bringing improvements in documentary making, understand the ethical challenges that documentarians face, and face questions of authorship and authenticity. At Royal Holloway we nurture creative and challenging Filmmakers. The course offers a launch pad for outstanding careers in a growing field of filmmaking.
You'll be taught by award-winning documentary filmmakers and commissioners: our tutors Marc Isaacs, Helen Littleboy and Victoria Mapplebeck, are all active filmmakers with industry contacts. They'll give you insight into what commissioners are looking for in documentaries today and you'll get real vocational experience by working on your own projects with established industry leaders.
Guest Lectures and Guest Speakers include:
Ideas to Screen
In this module you will develop an understanding of the practice of documentary film making. You will look at eclectic notions of the genre, exploring the conceptual and formal challenges of creative documentary filmmaking, and examine ways of translating observations and ideas into both visual and aural imagery. You will also consider experimental forms of narrative, focussing on the the boundaries between fine art and documentary.
Foundations of Production
In this module you will develop an understanding of commissioning institutions and their political and financial structures. You will look at contemporary forms of distribution, from the internet to theatrical, and consider the three fundamental stages of production management in for documentary films - pre-production, production, and post-production. You will gain practical experience in the production of short taster tapes and the writing of proposals and treatments, covering the basics of budgets, schedules, copyright, legal compliance and marketing. You will also have the opportunity to participate in a number of field trips and attend sessions with industry experts.
Major Documentary Production
You will produce a substantial documentary production of 20-minutes in length. You will develop an understanding of documentary film genre and its changing boundaries, as well as emerging technologies and their impact on genre. You will look at the process of making a documentary film, from initial concept to final form, and the various stages of production. You will consider the current and changing platforms for documentary film, including cinema, television and the internet, and examine the ways in which the documentary industry is being reinvented.
Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including project work, photo essays and written production papers.
Our students have gone onto become award winning Directors, Editors, Animators and Producers. Recent graduates have been nominated for and won many awards, including The London International Film Festival, BBC Storyville, International Women’s Film Festival, Open City Docs, CineGlobe and The One World Media Award.
Recent Graduates include:
Iris Lebrun - Whilst at Royal Holloway, Iris won a One World Broadcasting Award. Her film Feeding The Void, won First Prize at Open City Docs Fest. Iris was also selected for Mini Meet Market at Sheffield Doc Fest 2014 . Since graduating she has interned at BBC Modern Times and worked as an Editor on Text Me, a cross platform Documentary which won the 2014 Pixel Lab Award.
Masumi Higashi – Masumi’s film Motorbike Midwifes won a One World Broadcasting Award whilst she was at Royal Holloway. Motorbike Midwifes went on to win twenty Awards, including, BBC Storyville Prize for documentary narrative excellence at CineGlobe , Winner of the International Short Documentary Garden State Film Festival and The Gold Award Winner at the California Film Awards.
Jeong One Park. Jeong One's film Kung Fu Grannies won a One World Broadcasting Award and was nominated for a One World Media Award. Kung Fu Grannies went on to win: First Prize at the International Women’s Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival and Best Short Film at the Cineffable France. Since graduating Jeong One has worked as an Editor and Producer at Channel 4, BBC and Reuters.
The course explores documentary practices and photojournalism as exciting and developing mediums, through a combination of practice-based teaching and discussion of critical contexts.
We take each applicant on their own merit. This can include students of documentary photography or photographers in general who are interested in specialising in this area. Also welcome are artists who wish to focus their activities on a more social practice, and individuals from other disciplines, who wish to explore the subject area at post grad level.
The course builds on the international stature of the photographic and journalism departments of the University and is designed to equip you with an awareness of contemporary documentary and photojournalism, drawing on a variety of related media.
The course can be taken in full-time or part-time mode.
The Documentary and Photojournalism MA allows students to explore ideas of society through photographically related practice and within critically informed ways that maintain connections with the issue, yet also consider fresh visual approaches to the subject matter.
We approach photography as a social practice, situated within its own history, but also drawing on various discourses. We explore the idea that documentary practice and photojournalism may take many forms in the 21st Century.
Importantly, from your arrival, we emphasise the development of your own practice, through experimentation, critique and theory, and encourage analysis of practice through contemporary perspectives.
The course leads towards the Final Major Project, which is a consolidation of student learning into a high profile event in a central London exhibition space.
You will be taught by practising professional photographers, artists and writers, within a supportive course atmosphere. Technically, the course resources are equipped to the highest professional standards for both analogue and digital production of still and moving image.
All modules involve classroom teaching, tutorials, seminars, workshops, group work and your own fieldwork and are designed to equip you with advanced ways of working and negotiating your practice. We take the view that the work you make from the beginning of your studies with us is potentially valid currency for external use.
We encourage you to explore production of a body of documentary/photojournalistic works through the development of personal practice in the real world by:
Students take the first four core modules below and choose from either Final Major Project or Dissertation as their fifth core module. Students choose one option module from those listed below.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.
The emphasis of the course is on the development of your practice, through experimentation, and knowledge creation as understood within contemporary approaches to documentary, as well as many related practices such as critical and journalistic and collaborative practice.
In addition to the Skills acquired of photographers enabling the production of works this will also involve competent use of a variety of hardware, software, social media, presentation and production skills.
The MA will involve the development of various hard skills such as management of large and small scale projects, direction (either within film or theatrical modes) facilitatory methods (such as in educational or community roles), advocacy, effective social networking and experience of group and collaborative working. We intend that the student will be able to function as a still photographer, documentary film-maker, activist, artist and writer. We would imagine our graduate to be well rounded and confident individual with adaptability facilitating new ways of seeing.
The course is taught by experienced and practising photographers, publishers and writers whose extensive network of contacts in all areas of photography is accessible to students. We actively encourage work experience during the course and will advise on possible limited time internships and placements, providing these do not interfere the course work. Any internships or placements will be arranged by the students.
This MA will develop your skills and creative vision in documentary production. It enhances your understanding of the historical context and contemporary modes of documentary production against a backdrop of the wider issues in media production.
This Masters, a pathway of the MA Filmmaking, will encourage your understanding of the politics, aesthetics and ethics of documentary production, and the nature and diversity of documentary practice in contemporary society.
The programme is housed in a new purpose-built media facility equipped with state-of-the art teaching spaces including a range of digital cameras, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Film Editing suites, Animation, Digital Special Effects, Pro Tools Audio Postproduction suites.
You will be able to make your own documentaries, learning and refining research, interviewing, self-shooting and editing techniques – but also have the unique opportunity to be part of a programme that includes specialised producers, cinematographers, editors, sound recordists and sound designers, so that you can develop the scope and range of your filmmaking by collaborating with them.
You work on at least two films during the year, culminating in a major production towards the end of the degree. In addition you can attend classes in related disciplines such as Cinematography and Editing and may collaborate with students across other specialisations on film projects. This framework is designed to provide you with a breadth of filmmaking knowledge combined with a high level of expertise in your chosen filmmaking discipline.
The MA encourages you to develop
They've also launched their own film festivals, worked on critically acclaimed films and documentaries, and have had their work screened at the London International Documentary Festival, National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival and Open City, the London Documentary Festival.
How you will learn
You will be taught the skills to be able to self-shoot and edit, but will also have the chance to work with specialised camera-people, editors and producers. You complete several short films and exercises, then make your own 15-25 minute documentary, during which you will fully explore research methods, visual and thematic storytelling, experimental and multi-platform formats and much more.
For two terms you will spend a full day a week in specialised contact with your specific programme convenor, plus a further day in Screen Lab working with colleagues across the programme in a Talent Campus-style project-led learning structure with:
You will also have a variety of research projects to undertake, as well as other module options.
You will also advance your collaborative skills by working in teams with both fiction and documentary producers and cinematography, sound and edit students, on a variety of projects and at least three scheduled films across the year.
You will leave the programme with a diverse portfolio of work that may span a variety of formats – essay or diary film, web and multi-platform content, activist or campaign film, longer form feature-documentary
Screen School options
As well as your Screen Documentary specialism, you will undertake three short courses to enhance your other skills and critical approaches.
If you are passionate about fashioning an exciting career for yourself as a filmmaker in an environment that promotes innovative filmmaking, this course is for you.
Our alumni are active in the film, media and cultural industries around the world, working and winning awards as documentary producers and directors.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Programme structure MA Documentary Practice is currently available for one year full-time study or two years part-time study.
Our core modules provide you with a rich set of practical and intellectual skills. Documentary Theory & Practice gives you the essential research and practical abilities necessary for the MA, covering modes of factual representation, exploring crew roles, production planning, and providing training in camera, sound and editing. Documentary Production takes these skills deeper, encouraging you to experiment with form and take risks with what you think a documentary can be and do. The Dissertation Production is your chance to realise an in-depth, high production, festivals-ready film.
A range of option modules in film practice, theory and history enable you to choose specialist areas relevant to your research interests and ambitions
Film Studies Research Project
The Department of Film Studies at Queen Mary is an exciting and vibrant department. The documentary genre is becoming increasingly popular with both cinema, TV, online and art world audiences. This programme will allow you to develop a career and skills in production, documentary making, or develop an academic career.
The Department of Film has its own postgraduate production company which produces documentary and fiction work, as well as its own studio facilities and well appointed 41-seat cinema.
You will have access to facilities and equipment, including:
* Film studios
* Edit suites
* Professional production equipment
Our graduates emerge equipped with a portfolio of films, a plethora of practical skills, and in-depth knowledge of the many approaches and contexts of documentary filmmaking. Students leave well prepared to succeed in the creative industries and academic sector, in areas such as broadcast television, independent film production, contemporary art, doctoral research and teaching.
This unique MA programme is based in a university but run by leading film practitioners, ensuring that you not only receive the highest-quality practice-based learning, but you do so in a university research environment where you learn to understand the world we live in. You have your own camera equipment throughout and there are two dedicated Mac Editing suites for this degree.
Students will learn to devise a visual research project; to apply anthropological and social science approaches to documentary film work; to think critically about the relationship between form and content in ethnographic/documentary practice; using our professional level equipment, to master the technical skills needed to produce different kinds of films of different lengths for varied audiences; and to critically view and review film material.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of one core module (60 credits), two optional /elective modules (30 credits) and a project/diary (90 credits).
Students choose two of the following:
A major practical film project and diary allowing the students to demonstrate their mastery of the skills of documentary film-making in a film of 20–35 minutes.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of practical tutorials, seminars and masterclasses and assessed by camera and editing exercises and a written piece.
We facilitate two types of placements. Firstly, we will enable short-term internships at the film companies with whom we already have relationships through Open City Docs. Secondly, as opportunities arise students can work on collaborative or other film-making projects, such as the Doc in a Day workshops or UCL film productions.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Ethnographic and Documentary Film (Practical) MA
The programme equips students for careers in:
The increasing demand for social and scientifically trained moving image specialists in the years ahead will continue, if not accelerate. Many of the graduates of our existing programmes now work in organisations such as Ipsos Mori film unit, independent production companies, BBC World Service and BBC Education.
This MA will allow you to benefit from UCL’s unique position in the heart of London, and from the many activities in film within UCL Anthropology. The programme is unique in using professional film-makers to teach within a truly pan-disciplinary university research environment. It provides outstanding access to camera and editing facilities.
UCL now houses London’s Global Documentary Film Festival, Open City Docs Fest, created by Professor Michael Stewart. You can participate in the curation and delivery of this festival; gain experience in the delivery of a major public arts event; and benefit from established partnerships with world-famous institutions such as the the Science Museum and the British Film Institute.
This degree provides three strands: non-fiction cinema and reportage based documentary; a 'Mixed Realities' strand (including VR, Augemented; and interactive documentary production).
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Anthropology
68% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
New for 2018/19, this MFA provides extended practical training in creative documentary film and aims to provide all the technical and intellectual resources required to make outstanding non-fiction moving image. It draws on broad based anthropological and critical thinking about the social and cultural world but above all will leave you with a deep practical understanding of the craft of factual film making, culminating in the production of a medium-length feature documentary film.
You will acquire advanced camera and editing skills in a context of critical enquiry about the social world. You will learn and explore diverse forms of factual storytelling including how to work with an ‘external commissioner’. You will learn how to take risks in pushing the boundaries of film form. You will deepen your knowledge of documentary film history and learn how to tell long-form stories through images.
Students undertake modules to the value of 300 credits.
In the first full calendar year the programme consists of four core modules (total 135 credits) and three optional /elective modules (45 credits) - a total 180 credits. In the second (academic length) year you complete a graduation project (120 credits).
Introduction to the practice of Documentary and Ethnographic Film (30 credits)
Advanced practice of Documentary and Ethnographic Film (60 credits)
Short 'commissioned' Practical Film Project and sustained reflection (15 credits)
Research Work and Book (30 credits). The research work and accompanying book refers to preparatory work for your final graduation project.
An Introduction to Social Theory (15 credits)
The Story and I – Finding the Form (15 credits)
Time and the Staged Index – The evolving narrative of Photography and Film (15 credits)
Experimental and Interactive Storytelling – Form and Narrative (15 credits)
Documentary Radio – a practice based introduction (15 credits)
Documentary Film and the Anthropological Eye (15 credits)
The Idea of Documentary (15 credits)
Russian Cinema: Epochs and genres (15 credits)
Global Cinemas (15 credits)
East and South Asian Cinemas (15 credits)
Performance, visual media and popular culture in Africa (15 credits)
The French New Wave (15 credits)
Genre in Italian Cinema (15 credits)
Nordic Cinema: Contextualising Dreyer, Bergman and Dogme (15 credits)
The Latin American Cinematic Tradition (15 credits)
New Argentine Cinemas (15 credits)
Hollywood Genres (15 credits)
In your graduation film ('research project/design project') you will independently make a medium length creative documentary film/moving image story on a subject of your choosing. Pre-production begins at the outset of the second year supervised by the course tutors and project mentors. You will also produce a project diary reflecting on the entire work process.
Teaching and learning
All practice based courses are delivered in lectures, masterclasses and tutorials followed by supervised project work. Across the MFA you will spend significant time each week completing camera and editing exercises, building up a portfolio of work. All work is assessed, either formatively or formally, by the MFA teaching team.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of the programme will develop a series of practical and transferable skills including:
Solving complex problems - developing lateral thinking and creative questioning
Managing time and production flows in complex projects and effectively integrating research into film practice
Communicating effectively and succinctly
To be able to pitch and sell stories/product to potential clients
Be able to find the form best suited for a particular 'narrative, be this in media or other contexts.
UCL Anthropology was the first in the UK to integrate biological and social anthropology with material culture into a broad-based conception of the discipline. It is one of the largest anthropology departments in the UK in terms of both staff and research student numbers, offering an exceptional breadth of expertise.
Our excellent results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise and 2014 Research Excellence Framework show that we are the leading broad-based anthropology department in the UK.
Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the wider anthropological community in London and the department's strong links with European universities and international institutions.
Open: 16 March 2018
Close: 5 September 2018
Social Documentary photography is a form of documentary photography that looks at and records how the world looks from a social angle or environmental focus. “While each picture then had its own backing of data, its own internal story, it took its meaning ultimately from the larger story” (Trachtenberg, 1981, p.250).
The aim of the research is to look at social documentary style photography through the last century and look at its key practitioners, e.g Lewis’s Hine, Don Mc Cullin, Bill Brandt and understand, the why, the how and its importance in term of photography and design.
Social documentary photography has been used through out design since the early days of advertising, with each image acting as a visual storyteller, weaving a story through visual information and supporting the text it’s accompanying. In her book ‘The Whole truth and nothing but the truth’ Natasha Christopher suggests “the social, political and ameliorative objectives in historical social documentary photography are not dissimilar to some of the imperatives in ‘participatory’ art practice trends. These social and political aspects referred to relate to the desire to work with a social or political cause.”
There is vast academic research and writings into the effect and importance of documentary style photography, this research will look at the effect and use within the advertising and design industry. Christopher goes further to state – “The ameliorative has to do with the wish to correct a situation by drawing attention to it, making it visible, and the desire to ‘correct’ a situation, which, I have suggested, operates within a ‘liberal’ domain, representing a desire to ‘bring good and truth to the world’ -
For example, photographer Marcus Bleasdale has been documenting the consequences of natural resource exploitation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2000. Human Rights Watch worked with Bleasdale to create a report and exhibition that eventually forced a Swiss company, Metalor Technologies, to stop buying Congolese gold in Uganda. As a result of these efforts and the work of other organizations, nearly $100 million in funding for warlords dried up overnight.
This documentary style has changed through the ages, driven by content, technology and societies acceptance or rejection of social issue. The responsibility of meaning still lies with the photographer. Lewis Hine always stated of his work “a responsibility to the truth of his vision” (Trachtenberg, 1981, p.240). Social Documentary photography, plays a major role in design, advertising and propaganda, this has shaped the path of this genre of photography.
This research will look to document the style, look at the influence, examine how the style affects the content its aside, and breakdown its rationale for existing. Look at how design / advertising has influence the style over the years and see where it currently sits.
Methodology will be a mixture of qualitative interviews with existing photographers and practitioners to understand the documentary style itself.
It will involve a number of interviews with creative groups and photographers to gauge the reason for the use of certain styles and their effectiveness within the industry. These practitioners will be involved within a certain area of design, usually within social / charity campaigns.
It will involve extensive research through literature and exhibition catalogues to track and trace its origins and evolution.
It will involve a body of experimentation photographic work using various techniques and technologies.
The outcomes will include a documented report, regarding the influence of social documentary style photography on design and advertising, its uses and effects and impact.
It will also include a body of work that will attempt to emulate the style. Using existing style and applying to a contemporary body of work, which will involve a final exhibition.
Documentary filmmaking is constantly evolving, thanks to the rise of internet and social media, there are now countless places for filmmakers to screen their work. This course will help you find an audience for the idea or subject you are passionate about, and it will support you in turning your vision into a bold and innovative film.
At the Northern Film School you will have the opportunity to explore and communicate a subject you are passionate about. We support all types of filmmaking, including campaigning and issue-led films, observational and character pieces, experimental films and wildlife documentaries. You will develop and pitch your ideas and successful ones will be made into masters projects and given real production budgets.
Workshops will train you in the craft and technical aspects of filmmaking: producing and directing, camera, sound and editing. Using our industry-standard facilities, you will produce films of integrity and importance.
As the first and only film school in the UK to receive JAMES accreditation, our Northern Film School is the ideal environment to explore your ideas and creativity. Our industry-standard facilities and experienced staff will give you the support you need to make your passion a visual reality.
You will be joining a strong and successful group of graduates, many of whom have won Oscars and BAFTAs for their work. The prestige of the Northern Film School will set you up to achieve your ambitions and our reputation will provide you with the foundation to becoming a successful documentary filmmaker. We have contacts with the BBC, ITV and Channel Four and strong connections to Sheffield International Documentary Festival where you will have the opportunity to showcase your work.
This course will prepare you for the collaborative environment of documentary filmmaking. You will gain the experience and knowledge you need to interpret your ideas and give them exposure to new audiences. Your technical and creative skills will enable you to make films you care about, ensuring your voice is heard and paving the way for your future career as a filmmaker.