Visual Ethnography (MSc)
Why Leiden University?
The master's specialisation in Visual Ethnography emphasises a strongly hands-on, empirical approach, which requires students to play an active role in mastering the audiovisual toolbox.
Skill training in Visual Ethnography
The basis for a practice-based ethnography is provided by the mastery of technical skills and the critical attunement of documentary aesthetics. This includes ethnographic filmmaking, photo-ethnography, sonic ethnography, and their cognates as a process of production rather than merely passive documentation. Skill training is viewed as important as theoretical and methodological proficiency and as social and ethical accountability.
4 reasons why you should study the master's specialisation in Visual Ethnography at Leiden University
- The basis of the skill training programme is rooted in the “Leiden School of Visual Ethnography”, which exemplifies a rich history of sound/image-based field research and material culture studies. Since its establishment in 1967 by Professor Adriaan Gerbrands and its further development in line with the vision of Dirk Nijland since 1974.
- In more recent years, Visual Ethnography has been taught by a team of highly experienced visual anthropologists. They are internationally renowned for the production of high quality documentaries in observational cinema, including Steef Meyknecht, Janine Prins, Erik de Maaker, among others.
- Leiden University has currently the most expansive team of visual anthropologists in the Netherlands, including Cristina Grasseni, Mark Westmoreland, and Metje Postma. They are internationally recognized in their field for their role in professional organizations and publishing platforms, including the Society for Visual Anthropology, Commission on Visual Anthropology, Nordic Anthropological Film Association, Visual Anthropology Review, AnthroVision, Writing with Light Photo-essays, and more.
The current program emphasizes the merits of observational cinema as a radically empirical, embodied, and ethical mode of ethnographic analysis. This analytical position opens further to several related theory/practice paradigms, namely sensory ethnography and artistic practice. In addition, it enables students to produce empirically grounded, theoretically informed, and aesthetically engaging practice-based ethnographies as part of their thesis projects.
Why did Laura Ogden choose for Visual Ethnography?
"After working in the arts and international development for several years, I wanted to ‘go back to school’ and get my Master in anthropology. I have always been intrigued by film and documentary-making, too, so when I discovered that Leiden’s Cultural Anthropology programme offered a Visual Ethnography specialisation, it was an obvious choice for getting a taste of filmmaking while obtaining my degree."
Study at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
The Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology is housed in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences within walking distance of the Leiden Central railway station. If you travel by train, a 5-minute walk will take you from the back of the station to the Pieter de la Court building. Here you'll find:
- Lecture halls;
- Editing rooms;
- A library with 70,000 printed specialist publications and extensive digital collections;
- About 300 computer workstations for students located in several places in the building;
- The FSW cafe or restaurant to chat with your fellow students;
- The Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology study association Itiwana.
Study at a world-class university
Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands and enjoys an excellent worldwide reputation built up over more than four centuries. Since 1575 we’ve provided sound personal education for hundreds of thousands of students. We’ll do our utmost to give you the best possible support. And if you can and want to do more, we’ll challenge you every step of the way. For many years, we’ve been among the leaders in Dutch university rankings and we are currently to be found in a variety of top international rankings too.
More reasons to choose Leiden University
POPcorner: Support in study and student life
Tackling your study in the right way does not come easily to everyone or at every time. In the POPcorner our Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences offers a unique facility set up in close consultation with students of varying cultural and social backgrounds. Through workshops, advice and online information we offer training and information about finding your way in academic and student life.