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Documentary Film and Social Research

Wednesday 22nd May 2013, 14.00-19.30. Ramphal Building Room R0.03/4 

Documentary filmmaking draws on a long tradition of investigative journalism that employs a range of research methods familiar to sociologists and other social scientists. These can include archival research, qualitative interviews, secondary analysis of documents and other forms of text-based media as well as forms of ‘participant observation’ as documentary filmmakers attend meetings, demonstrations, rallies and other public events. Similarly, the analytical objects on which documentary filmmakers focus (literally!) are framed just as much through dialogue with collaborators, peers and providers of funding and investment as they are by interrogation with a variety of ethical, practical, political and other considerations. Attentive to the shared histories of documentary filmmaking, investigative journalism and social science, this workshop will explore the contemporary interface between sociological/social science research on the one hand, and the methods and practices of the documentary filmmaker, on the other. It will involve an interview between Dr Alexander Smith (Sociology, Warwick) and the US filmmaker Jeff Tamblyn, whose work includes the award-winning documentary ‘Kansas versus Darwin’ exploring the Kansas school board hearings on Creationism/evolution in 2005, and who will provide an insight on the development of a new film project exploring the challenges, difficulties and issues of doing science in an anti-scientific age. The workshop is followed by a screening and discussion of ‘Kansas versus Darwin’, which participants are encouraged to attend.

Organiser: Dr Alexander Smith, Department of Sociology

This is a half-day course that will run from 14.00-19.30 (including the screening of the film followed by a Q&A session).

Book here