"F4F has been one of the best educational investments I have made. My journey began with a hands-on Filmmaking for Fieldwork course"
Megha Wadhwa Ph.D, Research Associate at the Institute of East Asian Studies/Japanese Studies, Free University Berlin
Invited Courses and lectures
Filmmaking for fieldwork is an empirical art that uses new avenues in academic research, documentary and cinema practice to extend our knowledge by dramatic means, incorporating collaborative, observational, reflexive and expressive modes of storytelling. Central to the method is a technique for recording human processes that demonstrates the unique potential of filmmaking as a tool for describing human experience as it unfolds. We consider video editing and storytelling as analytic tools, suitable both for the further exploration and expression of academic ideas and the production of high quality and engaging films.
Alongside our blended approach to practical hands-on training in documentary filmmaking we also offer a number of lectures and interactive sessions on F4F methodologies. Sometimes we use one or two lectures on approach within a day-long session that also includes practical elements designed to introduce participants to basic skills in camera operation, sound recording and/or editing. These can be delivered online, in front of a live audience or as a combination of both. Current titles that we offer include:
Why Make a Documentary Film? Differences to written methods in camera based research.
Filmmaking For Fieldwork: An introduction to the workflow and procedures of ethnographic filmmaking..
Constructing Ethnographic Narratives: Video editing as an analytic tool for generating and exploring new ideas.
Ethics: Sharing vulnerabilities in filmmaking for fieldwork and negotiating committees and legalities.
From Nanook of The North to Clouds Over Sidra: A history of ethnographic practice in documentary filmmaking.
Filmmaking across Borders: Social dynamics and exchange in intercultural settings.
Filming the Past: Working with memory and historical archives.
Collaboration, Participation and Co-creation: Experience and engagement in filmmaking for fieldwork.
We offer substantial feedback in clinic sessions for those with an already established filmmaking project, for example PhD candidates who are using audio-visual media to present their film and written work. Our courses are designed to address common problems encountered at any stage of the production workflow and we also support university taught courses. Courses and lecturers are arranged by appointment according to your individual requirements. They range in scope from a two-hour lecture including Q&A, to a one-day introduction of our methods, a popular three-day practical course, or longer foundational training in filmmaking for fieldwork methods.
Our courses and lectures are suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate taught university courses, research professionals and centres, NGOs, commercial organisations and broadcast professionals. Our clients include: Leeds University, The University of Manchester, The University of Portsmouth and Sussex University in the UK, The Free University in Berlin, University of Tromsø, University of Geneva and The University of Bern in Switzerland, Yunnan University in China and a host of other freelance and broadcast institutions. Filmmaking For Fieldwork is a global initiative that favours work in local communities, we evaluate the viability of our courses based on their carbon footprint and we train people from around the world to run their own education programmes using our pedagogy.
We recommend that anybody interested in our courses and lectures first consult Filmmaking for fieldwork: a practical handbook (2020) written by Andy Lawrence and published by Manchester University Press and available in print and digital at all good booksellers.
“Thank you for opening my eyes to how filmmaking can be connected to fieldwork. The course has been so practical and hands on which I’ve really enjoyed”  Helen Packwood