Multimedia in Anthropology

Social theory and fieldwork combine in new ways, thanks to contemporary audiovisual practices.

Leiden BA students in the Visual Methods course presented their research in a multimedia project. For the first time they did not show a video and written report of their fieldwork. This time the findings, including a video, had to be embedded in a website environment.

The ‘data’ to work with consisted of fieldwork experiences, knowledge through observation in combination with theory, as well as feedback interviews, photo elicitation and video recordings.

Innovative invaders

Tanya Sauli and Kim Buisman created the multimedia project ‘Innovative Invaders’, on foreign students. The Innovative Invaders site presents an anthropological perspective on the effects Dutch borders and bounderies can have on what they call an ‘innovative invader‘ and vice versa.

Innovative Invaders

Shared experiences

It contains an example of theory merging with fieldwork. Through the video we share experiences and get to see real people. Off-the-cuff interactions and non-verbal uneasiness could never be captured in any other way than through participant observation with a camera.

Theoretical context

Once back behind the desk these observations need contextualising. Here the case of the main character Horia is put into a theoretical context; in fact, social theory is applied directly to the young Romanian. Under various other tabs you get a look into more political and policy contexts.

2 years, 4 months and 240 bikes

For the project Tanya and Kim made the ethnographic film ‘’2 years, 4 months and 240 bikes’. The film is about the social struggle of a peer – a consequence of a legal system that essentializes persons on the base of nationality.
The film explores survival strategies and tactics used by the main character to overcome the effects of a double marginalization of his image and identity caused by economic exclusion. Screening a casual atmosphere and creating the effect of presence, the film aims to engage the audience in Horia’s situation without overdramatizing it.

Damn a flat tire

Horia Ioan, the founder of the “Damn, a flat tire” mobile bike service, recognizes he started this business “out of desperation”. The Dutch laws don’t let him, a Romanian student, be legally employed. He still needed to finish his Master program in economics, and, to afford his rent in Amsterdam, he used to play guitar and sing on the streets.Then he came up with the idea of this service, now recommended mouth-to-ear among international students who have no bike-fixing skills, just as himself, four months before. Being marginalized in the Dutch society, Horia figured how to use his social capital by transforming what used to be his natural social environment into his economic strategy’s target group.

Damn a flat Tire

Other projects

All participants of Visual Methods made a multimedia project:

Visual Methods

CA-DS Leiden offers Visual Methods. During this course, students make a short film embedded in a multimedia project. Students who would like to enroll in Visual Ethnography as a Method in the Master Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, first need to complete the Bachelor or Summer course Visual Methods.


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