This course is delivered by the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology.
It provides training in practical audiovisual skills combined with the study of visual culture and anthropological theories of observation.
So that every student has good access to equipment, numbers are capped at 24. Recruitment is highly international: roughly a third of students are British, a third European and a third from beyond Europe. Teaching is by academic anthropologists who are also film-making or other media practitioners, complemented by highly qualified audiovisual staff. There are also workshops by visiting professionals, including film-makers, photographers and sound recordists. All teaching has a collective ethos. Students work in teams and develop team-working and presentational skills as well as technical and artistic abilities. Each team presents its work to the group and receives feedback both from tutors and fellow students. Students can thereby learn both from others' successes as well as their failures, generating a strong sense of camaraderie.
In Semester 1, all students undergo basic 'hands-on' training in ethnographic documentary-making. Working in teams of three, they make 3 films: on a technical process, an interview and a social event. They also take courses on the history of ethnographic film and theoretical issues in visual anthropology. In Semester 2, the Ethnographic Documentary (ED) pathway offers further film-training, whilst the Film and Sensory Media (FSM) pathway tackles a broader range of topics in media anthropology, including photography and sound recording. Both pathways involve further practical project work.
Over the summer, all students carry out a practical field project. ED pathway students research, shoot and edit a documentary film, and write a `companion text'. FSM students conduct an original piece of ethnographic research and write a text accompanied by one or more media presentations, including film, photography, sound-recordings or an art exhibition. In principle, students on both pathways can go anywhere in the world, provided they present a well thought-out proposal. Some have been to the most distant locations (e.g. Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Japan, Brazil), whilst others have chosen topics closer to home in Manchester (the homeless, a local beauty parlour, the gay cruising scene).
The course is supported by the well-equipped Media Centre as well as by the Granada Centre's own AV resources, including its Film Library of over 2000 titles. The 'bench fees' component of the course fee covers all equipment needed on the course, including professional digital cameras, sound recorders and edit suites.