Documentary Pedagogy and Ecological Thinking

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Using the MA in Documentary Filmmaking: Landscape and Ecology at Aberystwyth University as a case study, this chapter outlines some of the ways in which employability-driven agendas can be balanced with an ecologically informed approach to pedagogy. The scheme’s pedagogical ethos is underpinned by an emphasis on what eco-philosopher Timothy Morton describes as ‘the ecological thought’: ‘a practice and process of becoming fully aware of how human beings are connected with other beings – animal, vegetable, or mineral’ (Morton 2010: 7). With a focus on specific student outputs, the chapter outlines how material engagement with the world can be foregrounded in developing creative work, as well as suggesting how walking can be employed as a methodology for practice. These ways of working extend the definition of ecology beyond simply the environment, and point towards an ecological connectedness which could underpin a new way of thinking about documentary ethics and responsible filmmaking. Teaching responsibility is not about imparting a specific set of moral principles or identifying good versus evil binaries. It is rather about bringing student filmmakers into an arena of reflection and debate, heightening their awareness of how their activities have an impact on the world around them so that the ethical decisions they make become central to their identity as filmmakers - to place their own morality at the centre of their decision-making, both in philosophical and practical terms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching and Learning Documentary Cinema for the 21st Century
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


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