Ed Mirvish Theatre

    Field Research Essay

    You can work alone or in groups of 2-3 (no more than 3). Your final project will consist of a ten- page academic research paper that includes a filmography and bibliography.

    You may decide to carry out research on:
    1. An event: a film festival; a special screening of a film; an art installation; an art exhibition that involves film; a film program at a museum or gallery or microcinema (CineCycle), a gaming hack a thon or workshop.

    2. An individual, collective or group developing innovative approaches to cinema, game and media production, exhibition or distribution. (eg. Dames Making Games, Symposium at Toronto Media Art Centre, etc.)

    3. An institution or organization devoted to cinema and media such as The Archives of Ontario; TIFF Bell Lightbox; HOT Docs cinema; etc.


    Your final project must deal with contemporary practices. For example: You may do an analysis of a local filmmaker, game designer, media curator where you could include a biographical study, and look closely at a few of the projects each is involved in. This might include an interview that you can include with your paper and creative project. You may also investigate a technique, using several filmmakers as reference. We encourage you to go out into the field of Torontos creative industries. For this project you can attend and interview a festival programmer; or go to a public gallery where film or digital media is exhibited as and installation interview the artist. Field research involves detailed observation, so ensure you are recording your notes or where feasible, taking photos. A field research essay may involve some synthesis of theoretical sources for the purposes of contextual framing, relying on essays read for class but this should be minimal. The core of your essay should be thick description that is detailed and analyzed. Please see examples that are posted. 

    Written Component

    Use proper academic citation and include a filmography and bibliography. 2000-2500 words. (10 pages)

    1.     Intro. Describe your subject and why you chose it. What is the significance of this person, place, event? How does this person/place/event figure in Toronto film cultures (ie. most important festival of experimental media).

    2.     Background Research. Synthesize your background research (newspaper articles, essays, books, web searches).

    3.     Methodology. In detail, describe your methodology (ie. On Oct 6th we interviewed A, a one hour interview in her office. We held a follow up phone interview on xxx date and conducted further interviews with her cinematographer and choreographer on xxx and xxx). Or, if you are conducting research into a film festival, your methodology would indicate when and where the festival happens, and provides an overview of the interviews you conducted and the nature of your field research (ie. attended a total of 10 screenings and 5 workshops, interviewed the director of the festival, the programming Director and 5 volunteers and ten audience members).

    4.     The body of your essay will contextualize your field research and synthesize the interviews you conducted including actual quotes, where appropriate.

    5.     Conclusion. Summarize what you have learned from your field research.

    In an appendix, include your research questions.

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