Documentary Concepts and Research

  • 10 hours
  • 4 evenings (6:30 to 9pm) - over 4 weeks


This evening course for documentary film-makers will help you critically frame your filmmaking to produce thought-provoking films that have social and cultural implications

You'll also learn about a broad range of conceptual methodologies. This will help prepare you to undertake practice-led research (e.g. a practice-based PhD, visual ethnography, experimental filmmaking, video art, etc.)

You'll also be able to bring your own material and discuss your research, at the tutor's discretion.

Classes are held on Wednesday evenings, from 6:30 to 9pm, for four weeks.

This course is run by the Open City Docs School, based in UCL's Department of Anthropology.

Course content

The following content is an example of what will be covered, but is only indicative.

Session 1: The mediation of space and time

  • Observational documentary as a record of time
  • Everyday materialities
  • Memory as trace and event

Session 2: The essay film 

  • Portrait essay
  • Travel essay
  • Diary essay
  • Editorial essay
  • Refractive essay

Session 3: Narrative voice and embodied experience

  • The formal, open and poetic voice
  • The performative documentary
  • Embodied knowledge

Session 4: Representation

  • Social schemas and spectatorship
  • Stereotypes
  • Case study: undoing disability stereotypes

Who this course is for

This course is for documentary practitioners.

There are no formal pre-requisites for taking this course. However, it's recommended that you take the Documentary Storytelling short course before doing so.

Cost and concessions

This course fees are:

  • £150 - full price (external applicants who aren't students)
  • £140 - external students
  • £130 - UCL students

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Course team

Dr Catalin Brylla

Catalin is a practice-led film scholar and senior lecturer in film at the University of West London.

Course information last modified: 15 Jan 2019, 12:10