This workshop takes the form of two 2-day "block courses" at the beginning of the semester, accompanied by individual follow-up sessions throughout the semester and an editing session at the end of the semester. The objective is to bring students to use a non-canonical methodology to do applied research on contemporary social science issues.
During the first sessions, the teacher presents the basic theoretical and methodological notions in Visual Studies. She offers a practical and theoretical contribution on what a documentary is, the evolution of the documentary, its history, its different genres, the way a film is shot, the use of voice-overs, etc. She also addresses the subject of image rights, privacy, and teaches students how it is done. It also addresses the subject of image rights and privacy, and teaches students how this applies in Switzerland and what they are allowed to film or not. Part of the session is also dedicated to planning, forming groups and elaborating topics related to the year's theme (e.g., Security/Insecurities in 2020).
The more practical sessions (about 12 hours), during which a specialist in video production for cultural activities is involved, allow students to acquire practical notions about the camera, filming techniques, shooting and sound, and editing a documentary film. Before filming, students must fill out a production file (for which the writing instructions are presented to them) and send it to the teaching team. They must also attach the issue they wish to address so that it can be validated.
The evaluation of the course is based on a written report of 5 to 7 pages in which the students must write a problematic according to scientific standards, in connection with the theme chosen for the year. It also includes a practical task: the production of a 10-minute film related to the problem. In groups of 3, students divide the roles of sound recorder, video recorder and interviewer. They define film projects and carry them out from beginning to end: from shooting to editing, with professional equipment provided by the UNIGE's cultural activities. The documentary film is edited in the MediaUnis Studios during the last session of the year. The students' productions are then screened at the Grütli.