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February 13, 2013

New Master’s Degree Programme in Visual Anthropology

February 13, 2013 | By |


New Master’s Degree Programme in Visual Anthropology
Aarhus University and Moesgaard Museum

Dear all,

We are happy to announce a new Master’s Degree Programme in Visual Anthropology, starting from September 2013 (deadline for applications: 15 March). The programme is the result of a collaboration between the Section of Anthropology at Aarhus University and the cultural historical Museum of Moesgaard. With the Master’s Degree programme in Visual Anthropology, Moesgaard Museum and Aarhus University aim to establish a research environment where students, scholars, artists, film- and exhibition-makers can experiment and develop forms of inquiry and representation that allow a close engagement with cross-cultural experience and imagination. The new museum site of Moesgaard will provide a window through which students, film- and exhibition-makers can enter directly into dialogue with the broad public. Furthermore, the museum will provide a unique public laboratory for experimenting with diverse methodologies and technologies of representation. This will be of value not only to students and researchers, but also to the museum, whose ambition it is to allow visitors to share in the very creation of anthropological knowledge.

In the autumn of 2013 a new museum building will open to students and staff and in 2014 Denmark’s first new-built cultural historical museum will be inaugurated. The building adds 16,000 square meters to the museum and thus sets the stage for a variety of new exhibition opportunities including special editing facilities, lecture halls and exhibition space for students in the programme in visual anthropology.

Why visual anthropology?

Anthropologists are increasingly recognizing the need to broaden the scope of their methodology and analytical expression. Traditional academic representations in the form of written articles or monographs excel in their ability to provide insights into the cultural practices, norms, rules and institutions by which people live. But to engage fully with the complexities of social life, anthropology needs alternative academic languages that allow researchers to explore the role of perception, imagination and emotion in human interaction. New social media and audiovisual technologies of communication offer unique possibilities for engaging and bringing into dialogue the whole of the human sensorium and imaginative capacities. Public institutions, private organizations and academia are increasingly demanding audiovisual methods that can facilitate cross-cultural analysis, dialogue and imagination. The overall aim of this programme is to qualify students of anthropology and related disciplines to take on the task of audiovisual research, consultancy and communication in the contemporary world.

The programme is not only designed for students who wish to become ethnographic film directors or museum curators. The emphasis is on educating full-scale anthropologists with special capabilities in audiovisual analysis and communication. In addition to specific themes in visual anthropology, students attend courses in general anthropological debates and methodologies. This grounding in broad theoretical debates allows students to engage in audiovisual communication of relevance beyond the specialized field of visual anthropology.

Practical skills

Throughout the programme students produce a number of visual anthropological presentations culminating in the production of a thesis comprised of a visual anthropological product (film, photography, museum installation, multimedia) and a written part with further methodological, analytical and representational reflections. Through intensive and ongoing engagement in audiovisual communication, students receive skills in operating video and photo cameras, sound recording, composition, video editing as well as practical experience in designing and managing audiovisual projects. Lecturers with a variety of professional backgrounds within the audiovisual production industry provide insight into aspects such as development, production, broadcasting and fundraising.

Further info about the visual anthropology programme

General questions about application and admission requirements

Study Centre Arts, tel: +45 87161026


Specific questions about the programme

Christian Suhr, tel: +45 31600031,


Further info about Aarhus:

How to apply

The online application system is being updated. Please check:

Application deadline is 15 March for applicants with a foreign entrance examination and 1 April for applicants with a Danish entrance examination.

A maximum of 15 students are admitted to the Master’s Degree Programme in Visual Anthropology.

Students from Denmark and the EU are not required to pay tuition fee for the graduate program in Visual Anthropology. Annual tuition fees for non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens is Euro 9,100 (60 ECTS).

Commencement of studies: 1 September.

Duration of program: 2 years / 120 ECTS.

Semester 1

Camera as Cultural Critique (10 ECTS)

Through hands-on workshops and exercises in ethnographic filmmaking students are introduced to key debates in the humanities and social sciences about the workings of human imagination and perception in diverse social and cultural contexts. Through the production of a short film project, students learn to use the camera as a tool of inquiry and analysis in the anthropological tradition of cultural critique.

Central Debates in Anthropology (20 ECTS)

The aim of this course is to provide students with the conceptual tools to identify, describe and analyze complex empirical and epistemological issues. The main focus is on a series of central debates that have influenced the development of contemporary anthropology.

Semester 2

Experiment and Representation (10 ECTS)

This course is built around the production of a joint anthropological student exhibition at the Moesgaard Museum. As part of this process students are engaged in readings and discussions about the politics and ethics of representation and the possibilities of new interactive media in visual anthropology. Students are encouraged to explore the idea that alternative forms of academic research can be produced through exhibition making as an experimental site for knowledge in the making.

Field Preparation (10 ECTS)

Following a discussion with supervisors about the academic and practical issues of a chosen project, the student prepares a draft for the project description, including the background of the project, its theoretical perspective, and the use of visual anthropological methodologies of inquiry and communication. Before final submission, the project description is further discussed in relation to feasibility and time constraints.

Ethnographic Methodology (10 ECTS)

Through a combination of joint lectures, class tuition and field exercises students receive in-depth training in ethnographic methodologies such as participant observation, interviewing and other qualitative methods. In addition students in the Visual Anthropology Programme receive further instructions in the use of film, photography and new social media as means of observation, participation and knowledge communication.

Semester 3

Fieldwork (30 ECTS)

The aim of the fieldwork module is for students to achieve in-depth understanding of visual anthropological methods and to demonstrate their abilities to independently collect and process ethnographic material in a field project of minimum three months. Students are urged to use video, photography or social media as means of data col-lection, collaboration and feedback.

Semester 4

Thesis in Visual Anthropology (30 ECTS)

The purpose of the thesis is to provide students with the opportunity to conduct a detailed analysis and reflection on an anthropological subject of their own choice. The thesis may combine a visual anthropological product in the form of a film, museum installation, photography or multimedia presentation in addition to a written part with further analytical and methodological reflections. Students are encouraged to use filmic and photographic material not simply as a means of documentation, but as analytic expressions in their own right.

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