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Cultural and Social Anthropology: Visual Anthropology (track)


What happens to anthropology when it uses film and not written text as a principal medium to explore and convey human experience in diverse cultural and social settings? And what happens to filmmaking when it incorporates anthropological approaches? The Visual Anthropology track allows you to explore the possibilities of camera-based research. In addition to reading and writing, you become familiar with the intellectual endeavour of filmmaking as ethnographic practice.


Would you like to find out if Visual Anthropology is the right programme for you? Sign up to attend the next Master’s Week or register to receive updates about the Master’s programme.

Discover the Master's tracks in Cultural and Social Anthropology

The Master's programme Cultural and Social Anthropology offers three tracks.  Visual Anthropology is one of them.

The other tracks are:

Study programme

This Master's track encourages you to creatively explore how new assemblages of words, images, and sounds (including silences) can not only articulate but also produce anthropologically relevant knowledge. This programme is a practice-based programme that focuses on the craft of filmmaking as ethnographic practice. By training you to bring your anthropological ideas to filmmaking (and vice versa), we intend to contribute to the development of a new audio-visual vocabulary that breaks with existing media formats and has its own critical position within and towards our media-saturated societies.

Camera-based research

Subject of your own choice

Close-knit community

What is Visual Anthropology?

Prof. Mattijs van de Port explains what Visual Anthropology is.

Academic staff

The track is carried by three core lecturers with an internationally recognised track record in ethnographic film: Mattijs van de Port, whose recent films include Knots and Holes (2016) and The Body won’t Close (2020), Martha-Cecilia Dietrich, director of Entre Memorias (2015) and Horror in the Andes (2019), and Ildikó Zonga Plájás, director of Swamp Dialogues (2015) and Interfaces (2021). The programme director of the MSc in Cultural and Social Anthropology is Yatun Sastramidjaja.


After graduating from the Master's programme in Visual Anthropology you'll have career opportunities within the field of anthropology, documentary making and applied journalism. Increasingly, anthropologists are hired in companies, NGOS and other institutions to conduct research and offer valuable advice. The insights and skills you gain during your Master's makes you well-equipped to set up and manage (research) projects, reach and communicate with different groups of people nd translate your anthropological views to visual materials.

Is Visual Anthropology for you?

  1. Do you get excited when you can learn from other people, their perspectives, emotions and ideas through the modality of filmmaking?
  2. Do you want to spend a year doing camera-based research on a topic of your choosing?
  3. Do you have an independent attitude and take pleasure in wrestling with anthropological theory through image-making?
  4. Do you have a solid knowledge of the technical know-how in filmmaking?
  5. Do you have the ambition to become an ethnographic filmmaker?

Then Visual Anthropology might be the right track for you!

Facts & Figures
Degree programme MSc Cultural and Social Anthropology
Mode Full-time
Credits 60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in September
CROHO code 66614
Location Roeterseiland campus