Visual Ethnography as Activist Work

Would you like to learn more about filmmaking, photography, ethnography, activism, and their intersections? Then this workshop is for you! We will provide you with the theoretical framework and practical skillset to produce visual ethnography. Together with a small group of other students and activists, you will create an ethnographic short film or photography project of your choice.

How do we ethically represent the Lives of Others in visual media? How do we express their subjectivities, the (material) cultures they are entangled in, the concerns they are facing daily and the social relations that shape their places in the world?

Questions like these build the practice of visual ethnography, both as a research method and an artistic expression. Ethnography as a method is occupied with gaining an in-depth understanding of people and things we encounter through their relations to each other and their surroundings. Engaging with the visible and non-visible aspects of these relations, making them accessible with the help of visual media, while reflecting on the ethical responsibilities involved in this process, constitutes the practice of visual ethnography.

Visual ethnography is inherently collaborative. In this workshop, we want to emphasise participatory visual ethnography by inviting the subjects of ethnography to take part in the different aspects of the creative process. We will connect the groups of students with NGOs and activists in Berlin to develop a collaborative ethnographic short film or a photography project.


In this five-day workshop, we will focus on the following points:

Day 1 (in-person and online)

  • Understanding ethnography as a research and artistic method
  • Introducing key concepts and debates around visual ethnography

Day 2

  • Training practical photography and filmmaking skills with minimal equipment
  • Acquiring basic editing skills

Day 3–5

  • Planning and realising an ethnographic short film or photography project in collaboration with NGOs/activists in Berlin


Interest in the social sciences and (or) audiovisual media.


  • Smartphone with a camera or digital camera
  • Laptop (please let us know if you do not have one)


David Lowis (Berlin University of the Arts) is a postgraduate research assistant conducting ethnographic research on digital media usage among homeless people in Berlin.

Dr. Rachael Kiddey (University of Oxford) is a postdoctoral researcher with experience in ethnography and material culture, who will share expertise and experience of using activist film-making and visual culture during her British Academy funded project, 'Made in Migration'.

Owain Astles is a filmmaker, photographer, and visual activist. His practice focuses on participatory filmmaking and art as activism. Currently he is delivering a project working with individuals in London prisons, creating participatory films based around participants’ experiences.

Anoosh Ariamehr is a photographer and creative social writer who has been active in Afghanistan’s media on freedom of expression and opinion, women’s rights, social equality, minority rights, class discrimination, systematic government corruption, racism, and religious-cultural stereotypes.

Run period:
18.07.2022 – 22.07.2022
Course time:
10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Application Deadline:

Course fee:
EUR 500

Min. number of participants:
Max. number of participants:

For further information please contact: