Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Documentary Practices
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Creative Portfolio  (10-15 minutes)  60%
Semester Assessment Critical Portfolio  Written essay, creative reflection or video essay (5,000 words or 8-10 minutes)  40%
Supplementary Assessment Creative Portfolio  (10-15 minutes)  60%
Supplementary Assessment Critical Portfolio  Written essay, creative reflection or video essay (5,000 words or 8-10 minutes)  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an advanced awareness of a wide range of documentary forms, filmmakers, movements and techniques

2. Apply an advanced, critical understanding of key debates in documentary studies to their own creative practice

3. Critically reflect on their own practice within the context of documentary film history and theory

4. Demonstrate advanced production and technical skills in research, planning, shooting and editing documentary films, as appropriate to the chosen formal approach

Brief description

This module offers you the opportunity to develop your documentary production skills alongside an understanding of the history and tradition of the form. The principal aim is to allow you to identify your own, distinct filmmaking voice and to view your creative decisions within the broader context of how documentary functions in society, and how it either conforms to or departs from, conventions that have shifted over time. You will be encouraged to think about the role of documentary in a contemporary context, particularly in addressing the ecological and environmental issues that have come to play a major role in our lives and, more specifically, how investigating local issues can reveal new information and knowledge about global affairs. Through individual and small groups exercises, this critically-informed practice module will equip you with a strong sense of authorial perspective, whilst also developing both traditional and experimental forms of documentary production.


Students will engage in both critical and practical exploration of the following areas of documentary studies:

Documentary Histories and Movements
Documentary Forms
Environment - Landscapes and Townscapes
People and Stories
Voice, Point of View and Representation
The Language of Politics and Bias
Truth and Objectivity
Documentary Ethics
Space, Texture and Sound

Production skills will be developed in the following areas of documentary practice, according to each student’s particular interests and career ambitions:

Research and Planning
Camerawork for Documentary
Sound recording
Directing the Documentary
Editing and Postproduction
Working with Archive Materials

In the second semester, students will work closely with tutors to develop and produce fully-realised, authored documentaries.


This module is at CQFW Level 7