The Ethnofest – Athens Ethnographic Film Festival in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam (UvA) organises the intensive “Athens Summer School in Visual Ethnographic Practices”.
The summer school is back with a new format after 5 years of successful collaboration with the Netherlands Institute at Athens (NIA), from 2015 to 2019, and a two year gap due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are excited to welcome you to Athens from the 1st to the 21st of July!
Students from the last year BA, Master & 1st year PhD in Social/Political Sciences, Humanities, Fine Arts & Film Studies
Deadline for applications: Friday 29 April 2022
About the School
Visual anthropology is becoming an almost indispensable discipline for anyone considering ethnographic research, visual analysis, studies of material culture, or critical engagements with cinema, photography and other forms of cultural display. By discussing the available methodological tools and critically reflecting on their application within urban contexts, we are focusing on visual ethnographic practices and Ethnographic Filmmaking.
During the three weeks of the school, students will learn how to use audio-visual media in ethnography in a rich and fascinating urban landscape and will produce short ethnographic films. A selection of these films will be presented in the special section called “Initiations” at the Ethnofest – Athens Ethnographic Film Festival in November of the same year.
The city of Athens is a great setting for participants to explore what camera based research can accomplish. In our summer school we focus on visual theory and the practical use of audio-visual means in the ethnographic process. In examining the use of visual methods, the courses will focus on both historical and contemporary examples of ethnographic film and photography. Τhe participants in the summer school will develop an expertise on the field of visual ethnographic research that is both theoretical and applied, which from our previous experience proves to be constructive for their future work and research projects.
Structure of the school
The school will run from Friday 1st of July until Thursday 21st of July 2022. During these 3 weeks the students will be:
- Attending lectures
- Planning their research
- Conducting fieldwork
Students will work in teams of three. To facilitate research in the field, we will try to make sure that every team has at least one Greek speaking student. Each team is expected to deliver a 10 mins short film by the end of the school.
The seminars and group meetings will run daily at the Fårö Creative Learning space at the centre of Athens. Field research will take place in selected areas and locations around the city. The seminars will provide students with a general framework of visual anthropology/ethnographic theory and methodology and with a basic knowledge of all the steps on ethnographic video production. At the same time the seminars will introduce them to contemporary approaches to field research in an urban setting. Students should expect to have one or two intensive sessions per day (3h-5h in total), while in parallel they will conduct fieldwork and filming and they will also obtain an overview of the current political and socio-economic situation in Greece, through lectures and guided walks.
From this year we are also adding a new strand, unique in such a setting, on the film distribution in festivals and the film market through a panel of experts in the industry.
In preparation for the seminar, all students are expected to have read the literature before arrival in Greece. A selection of key ethnographic films will be available to watch both in the seminar space and online. We are currently in the process of finalising the class schedule, thus an announcement will follow to communicate the exact structure of the programme.
The aim of the school is to provide the opportunity to students the experience of filming in a highly diverse and multi-layered urban setting and obtain an overview of current debates and research topics in visual anthropology and ethnography. By learning and participating in the film production process, the students gain practical experience in a new context, develop their skills, learn how to work in a team, make new contacts and learn how to present their research subjects.
During the seminar the students are expected to participate actively in all the courses and conduct a visual ethnographic field research. Their small-scale ethnographic projects could focus on life stories, popular beliefs and urban legends, material culture, performative practices (music, dance, street theatre, etc.), on specific neighbourhoods or social networks, but they could also expand to wider societal processes such as politics, migration or religion. Students should be able to come in contact with various people to discuss, interview and materialise their topics. Students will record and collect their material, which will be put together under the guidance of experienced staff in order to be presented at the end of the school.
Each group of students is expected to produce a short film of approximately 10 minutes.
Course requirements, language and evaluation
The course is open to students from last year of their BA, to Masters degree and first year PhD. All lectures will be given in English. The participants’ performance during courses, their final product (short film), and a one-pager presenting the film will be discussed at the end of the school. The student groups also have the opportunity to submit their films – with minor revisions and corrections – to the special section of Ethnofest – Athens Ethnographic Film Festival titled “Initiations”.
Courses period, dates and times
The school consists of 20 intensive days with lectures, field research, filming and editing. The 1st of July is the welcoming day so the school officially starts on the 2nd of July. Last day of classes and courses is the 20th of July, as on the 21st of July the students’ presentations take place. For the first half of the school, classes are daily including breaks. The rest of the time students will be conducting fieldwork research, filming and editing under the supervision of their tutors.
Participation – application
Students can apply using this online application form.
The deadline for applications is Friday 29th of April 2022.
After the evaluation process, successful applicants will be notified by Monday 9th of May 2022. The number of participating students is limited (max. 18 students).
Students are encouraged to bring their own equipment and laptops in order to make their training process smoother, however the summer school will provide, in rotation, cameras, audio equipment and laptops for editing per group of students. Please fill in the relevant section in the application form.
Costs and subsidies
The total cost of the course is 850€ for EU and international students. Greek students are eligible for a concession fee of 600€. Students are expected to cover their flights from their country of residence to Athens and back, their accommodation costs and their lunch and dinner costs. Upon confirmation of the participants, the selected students will be put in touch altogether to examine the prospect of sharing accommodation.
Important information for candidates applying to the Athens Summer School in Visual Ethnographic Practices regarding COVID-19 and the programme.
Please be aware that the implementation of the Summer School could be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a two-year break due to the pandemic, we are working hard to make the summer school happen this year. We believe it’s important to host the summer school with physical presence of students, so an online version is not an option. We are optimistic that this year we will be able to welcome you again in Athens but this also means that we will have to comply with the country’s protocols and measures for the prevention of spreading the coronavirus, including the health protocols for the use of indoor and outdoor spaces, or the use of face masks. You can find the most recent information about travelling to Greece and the most recent updates on restrictions, here.
Prof. Mattijs van de Port (UvA/VU)
Assc. Prof. Despina Katapoti (University of the Aegean)
Assc. Prof. Konstantinos Kalantzis (University of Thessaly)
Dr. Eirini Papadaki (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
Dr. Elpida Karaba (University of Thessaly/Athens School of Fine Arts)
Dr. Aris Anagnostopoulos (Heritage Management Organisation)
Dr. Konstantinos Aivaliotis (Ethnofest, University of the Aegean)
Dr. Christos Varvantakis (Goldsmiths University)
Dr. Pafsanias Karathanasis (Panteion University)
Silas Michalakas (Ethnofest)
Stella Kechagia (Ant1+, Antenna Group’s OTT Platform)
Christina Liapi (Heretic Films)
Konstantina Bousmpoura (Filmmaker)
A few more names will be confirmed in the next weeks so stay tuned to our social media accounts…
Grimshaw, A. and Ravetz, A. (2009). Observational Cinema: Anthropology, Film, and the Exploration of Social Life, Indiana University Press.
Lawrence, A. (2020). Filmmaking for Fieldwork. Manchester University Press.
MacDougall, David (2006). The Corporeal Image, film, ethnography, and the senses, Princeton University Press.
Varvantakis, C., Rozakou, K., Anastasiadi, I., Karathanasis, P. and Aivaliotis, K. (2019) “Editorial”, Journal of Anthropological Films, 3(02), p. e2902. doi: 10.15845/jaf.v3i02.2902.
For more information regarding the course, please contact:
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: +30 6945 104788