Disrupting familiar roles: informal learning in undergraduate documentary filmmaking

Ross Adamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This report presents early findings from ongoing research into the documentary filmmaking experiences of undergraduate students. Such filmmaking offers opportunities to fulfill stated curricular requirements in terms of technical competence, creativity and ethical documentary. However it also provides a potential site for ‘informal learning’ (e.g. Drotner, 2008) outside formal assessment criteria. This report presents a case study of one student’s experiences of making a film about her father in the ‘domestic ethnographic’ mode of filmmaking (Renov, 2004). Data from two interviews with the student illustrate how introducing the camera into a familiar environment provoked various forms disjuncture (Jarvis, 2010) in social interaction with her family. Filmmaking offered her the opportunity to complete a film about her father but also appeared to provoke unplanned explorations of relationships within her family. Documentary production in this context can be seen as acting as a bridge across multiple sites of learning and positionality for student filmmakers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-52
Number of pages5
JournalMedia Education Research Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Informal learning
  • documentary
  • filmmaking
  • higher education


Dive into the research topics of 'Disrupting familiar roles: informal learning in undergraduate documentary filmmaking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this