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Encounters in documentary practice: a narrative hermeneutic inquiry with undergraduate first-time filmmakers.

Adamson, R. K., 2020. Encounters in documentary practice: a narrative hermeneutic inquiry with undergraduate first-time filmmakers. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Boournemouth University.

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ADAMSON, Ross Kerry_Ed.D._2020.pdf



This study is situated within traditions of education research investigating undergraduate students’ experiences as first-time practitioners in media practices. The research examines the ways in which students encounter documentary practices as first-time filmmakers. I argue that documentary filmmaking should be seen as a complex creative practice characterised by ethical and practical dilemmas which practitioners face. Whilst such practice clearly involves production knowledge or techne, seen as the ability to produce a well-crafted artefact, this study focuses on the practical knowledge or phronesis that is demanded of documentary filmmakers. Drawing on the virtue practice perspective of Alasdair MacIntyre, the research illuminates the practical and ethical negotiations students make as they go about their documentary filmmaking practice. As the research participants are my own students, I adopt a relational Narrative Inquiry research design informed by the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer. Through one-to-one conversational interviews with participants and the writing of eight first person stories, I give narrative hermeneutic interpretations of these filmmaking experiences and reveal the way student filmmakers enact practical knowledge as they go about their projects. The research argues that such knowledge, often concealed or marginalised in views of documentary solely as production, misses the important ‘educative energy’ that lies at the heart of documentary as ethical practice. By illuminating the ‘encounters’ within individual experiences of filmmaking, the research shows the practical knowledge or ‘phronesis’ that is developed by these first-time filmmakers.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:documentary filmmaking education; virtue ethics; practice theory; philosophical hermeneutics; creative non-fiction
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:34507
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:07 Sep 2020 09:26
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:23


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