UCL Research Domains


Sensory ethnography in London: a one-day workshop followed by an evening of sensory ethnography film

Monday, 10 October 2022
13:00 – 17:00: Workshop.  This workshop is fully booked.  For a place on the waiting list, please contact phillip.vannini@royalroads.ca 
17:00 – 18:30: Mixer (Bar open before show)
18:30 – 20:30: Film screenings: For An Evening of Sensory Film No further submissions for film screenings are required


Bloomsbury Theatre & StudioUniversity College of London, 15 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AH

NB: The workshop is fully booked. For a place on the waiting list, please contact phillip.vannini@royalroads.ca 
The sensory ethnography workshop will be a one-day intimate, informal, and collaborative event intended to share knowledge, foster dialogue, stimulate new ideas, and expose participants to methodological practices related to sensory ethnography. Drawing from their own research practices, workshop participants will share with participants their experiences in the conduction of sensory ethnographic research and expose one another to key methodological lessons through narratives and exercises meant to encourage their first-hand, embodied reflection. The workshop will be followed by an evening screening of sensory ethnography films.

18:30 - 20:30:  Film screenings: For An Evening of Sensory Film

Unlocking Touch is rooted in a collaboration between Lisa May Thomas, dance artist, filmmaker and researcher and the InTouch project at UCL. The project collaborators mapped and documented experiences of touch over the period of Covid19 restrictions around physical distancing and avoidance of physical contact – through audio-visual diaries. This material culminated in a binaural sound performance in the first instance and now developed into a sensory film edited by Julia Marie Schönheit.

Stories too big for a case file: Unaccompanied young people confront the hostile environment showcases the testimonies of young, unaccompanied refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants as they navigate ‘the system’ in the UK. This is a tangled web of institutions, policies and individuals who are meant to care for children on the move, but often do not. In the film, individual stories emerge from a cacophony of voices to highlight common problems in the UK’s hostile border regime. They also show unaccompanied young people’s refusal to be reduced to a singular story, endemic in bureaucratic case files. Voices evoke the violence unaccompanied young people feel when repeatedly asked, or made, to tell their story, as well as the violence of not being asked nor being heard, and most of all their strength in the face of injustices. 

In the Name of Wild tells the story of a five-year journey across ten countries in search of the meanings of wild. The documentary film and interactive documentary explore wildness in UNESCO World Heritage sites in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Italy, Iceland, Canada, Belize, Ecuador, and Argentina. Throughout ten distinct journeys the authors—a family of three—meet local residents and learn what wildness means to them. Inhabitants' perspectives teach us what it means to co-exist with wild nature in its myriad forms and push us to reimagine the meanings of wild and the values underlying environmental conservation and heritage preservation.

Event co-hosts
Ned Barker is a Senior Research Fellow at UCL’s Knowledge Lab and co-chair of UCL’s CSSD early career network. His recent publications include Moving Sensory Ethnography Online (2022) and An Ethnographer Lured into Darkness (2020).

Phillip Vannini is Professor of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University. He has produced several ethnography films and was editor of The Routledge International Handbook of Ethnographic Film and Video (2020).

Organizing committee
Carey Jewitt is Professor of Learning and Technology at UCL’s Knowledge Lab and Chair of UCL’s CSSD. Carey has published widely on sensory methods and collaboration including Methodological dialogues across multimodality and sensory ethnography: digital touch communication (2018) and Filtering Touch: an ethnography of dirt, danger and industrial robots (2021) with Barker.

Chris Wright is a Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths department of Anthropology. His publications include Introduction: the sese of the senses with Cox and Irving (2016) and The new art of ethnographic filmmaking (2020).

Alex Rhys-Taylor is a Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths department of Sociology. Alex’s urban sociology engages with the multiple senses of the city. His book Food and Multiculture: A Sensory Ethnography of East London was published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2017.