School of Global Studies

Ethnographic Film in a Digital Age

A short summer school June 11-15 2018

The department of Anthropology invites you to participate in an intensive five day day summer school to provide you with the technical and conceptual tools for producing your own ethnographic films using readily available digital audio-visual technology.

Subjects covered will include:

  • Ethnographic FilmUnderstanding the implications of using moving image as part of ethnographic research
    xplore the creative, conceptual & ethical considerations of incorporating moving image sound into your fieldwork.

  • Making technological choices
    Become aware of the possibilities and limitations of employing the capabilities of available audio visual digital technology (phones, tablets, stills cameras and camcorders & software).

  • Developing practical shooting skills
    Learn how to work with light and sound; framing, exposure, camera movement while remaining engaged with your subject and research environment.

  • Applying practical recording skills
    Learn how best to record an interview and film activities with good sound and most useful and relevant content.

  • Planning and shooting your own short ethnographic video portrait
    Experience some of the challenges of planning and shooting a short film through practise.

  • Learning practical Editing Skills
    Learn how to make available editing software work for you. Software interfaces demystified and approaches to editing explored.

  • Sharing and incorporating recorded and edited audio-visual material
    Learn how to attach, upload or integrate moving image into presentations and on-line publications.

Ethnographic Film Ethnographic Film

Ethnographic Film
This course is designed to equip participants with the skills and understanding to best make use of the digital technology they already have available to them.  To participate you will be required to bring some form of audio visual recording device. This could be your mobile phone or tablet, a digital stills camera with the capacity to record moving image and sound, (DSLR or ‘point and press), or a digital camcorder. Editing will be taught on university desktop computers, or, should you prefer, your own laptop (Mac or PC). Please indicate the equipment you will be bringing in your application form.


The course will be taught by award-winning ethnographic filmmaker Karen Boswall. It’s open to all postgraduate students and post-doc researchers in Anthropology but places are limited so please resister for a place as soon and as fully as possible to avoid disappointment.

Films from the course in 2017

More EFDA 2017 films can be seen here:

Feedback from 2017

“Without any doubts, this was the best course I have ever attended at Sussex”.

“The most useful was the practice. We got to practice immediately everything we learned in theory.”

“I was amazed, how much one can learn (and especially apply) in only one week. We created our very first ethnographic films, and I loved the process and the outcomes.”

“It was an intensive week, we often worked on our projects till night, and yet we enjoyed it”.

"Karen was an excellent tutor."

Ethnographic Film

“Filming adds completely different dimension to the ethnographic research, and I believe it is extremely useful for an anthropologist to be familiar with the methods. I would definitely recommend the course to other students”.  LENKA ZAHRADKOVA  PhD in Anthropology

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and it has given me a lot more confidence to use ethnographic film as a research method in my Phd next year.”

“I really enjoyed this course and think it is amazing that Sussex offers this to students for free. Karen was a fantastic instructor - very encouraging, approachable and an inspiring to have met.”
OLIVER SHAW  MA Anthropology

“The course was well-structured with a useful review of the history of ethnographic film making at the onset. Karen was a highly knowledgeable, patient and personable instructor. I can't recommend her highly enough”. MANINI SHEKER PhD Anthropology

“The practical side of the course was extremely useful, especially working in pairs to help each other, give advice and bond as a group.”

“I find it really useful to learn through doing, so I enjoyed having a bit of theory, followed by putting it into practice. It was also great to have a whole day for filming so that I could try a few different ideas without worrying about time pressure”.

“I really enjoyed watching each other’s films at the end. They were all so different and everyone had really taken on board the different shots, angles that we had learnt about and used them so effectively. It was nice to see the different styles and topics people produced films about in such a short space of time.”

“I think it was great that we were expected to make our own film which were screened at the end of the course - I think we were all impressed with what we had managed to produce in a few days.”

"Learning practical filming and editing techniques was really valuable, as I had no experience with film before. It left me feeling motivated to make my own films."

“Karen was fantastic. Really friendly, approachable and it was very inspiring to hear about all her experiences and watch some examples of her work.”


There are limited places on the course, please complete the application form. You will receive confirmation of your attendance and links to course materials by email. Click to Apply: