Message posted on 14/07/2022

EASA Lab A single scene: ethnographic storytelling with smartphone cameras

Dear all,

The call for our visual anthropology EASA Lab closes tomorrow, the 15th July. Please consider applying to participate by submitting this form. Anyone is welcome to attend, f2f or online, but participation on the exercise requires applying due to numbers.

The Lab 18a/b, A single scene: ethnographic storytelling with smartphone cameras, will take place on the 27th July at the EASA2022.

Participants will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis.

Conveners will reply by 19th July.

Others are welcome to join as active spectators.

Short abstract

Have you used your smartphone camera to record short videos while doing fieldwork? What role do they play in your ethnography? This lab explores the multiple ethnographic storytelling capacities of smartphone video-making while inviting participants to do a single-scene film exercise.

Long abstract

Smartphones are ever present in our personal and professional lives. We use phones to create still and moving images often spontaneously and unsystematically, yielding storytelling capacities and facilitating a circuit of image-making gift exchange. Lab participants will use their smartphone cameras to practice audio-visual ethnography.

This F2F Lab comprises of a 105-minute in-house session split into morning sessions, and an outside practical exercise in between:

  • 45-minute session: convenors will present basic guidelines on how to use smartphone cameras to effectively record a single scene. A maximum of 12 participants will be randomly split into pairs. The 6 pairs will agree on a theme they wish to explore during the practice exercise.

  • 60 minutes around coffee/lunch: participants will practice filming outside. They will be encouraged to record a single scene that evokes an ethnographic theme/topic (the sensorial/senses, emotions, social relationships, human and non-human relationships, testimonies, etc.). The result must be a self-contained scene and should not require any editing. Convenors will move around the pairs to guide de exercise and answer questions.

  • 60-minutes session: people will reconvene to watch the videos and discuss their experiences. Hopefully, the exercise will give participants an idea of the field of possibilities smartphones can open within their own research.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,


Antonia Gama (Independent scholar)

Angela Torresan (University of Manchester)

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