Stepping up and stepping back: identity and voice in undergraduate documentary filmmaking

Ross Adamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents findings from ongoing empirical research into the experiences of undergraduates who make documentary films about ‘familial others’. In the course of their curriculum, such creative practice takes students out of the formal setting of university and into ‘home territory’ where the frame of documentary filmmaking can provide for unexpected encounters. Documentary filmmaking in this context can be seen as acting to bridge university and home and to offer multiple sites of learning and positionality for student filmmakers that may go unrecognised. This unintentional outcome of filmmaking is one which is not surprising given that the camera has been claimed as a ‘psychoanalytic stimulant which lets people do things they wouldn’t otherwise do’ (Rouch 1979: 57). Drawing on qualitative interview data, this paper illustrates how different conceptions of identity and voice arose for a student in the course of her filmmaking. In the context of Higher Education, the paper argues for a broader conception of learning, one which takes account of the multiple and hybrid spaces in which filmmaking practices occur.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
JournalMedia Education Research Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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