Roma Visual Lab 2. (2012)

Visibility – Regaining Control over Identity

Back in 2010, still as a doctoral candidate of the ELTE Institute for Art Theory and Media Studies Film, Media and Contemporary Culture Program, I had successfully applied for course development funding to the CEU Course Resource Center ( The ten-month scholarship included the financial resources necessary for development and participation at two methodological workshops (which took place at the start of the course development and immediately before launching the course). The mandatory allocation of the grant also included the purchase of reference literature. In the scope of the course development program we also had the means to compile a digital educational tool at the ELTE Studio: this included the film excerpts and reference literature used in the course. These were handed out to the students of the course at the beginning of the semester, and at the end, the students submitted them to the studio where they were deposited in the DVD-library. The course syllabus was based on my doctoral thesis, which I was writing at the time. Along the lines of the method referred to as “anthropological image interpretation”, we analysed the films without specifically focusing on their formal aspects, but instead we endeavoured to locate them within the dynamic of the given period’s social space. To assist us with these interpretations, we resorted to texts from social sciences, mainly anthropology and culture theory. The small group allowed for the emphasis of the course’s seminar character: in addition to / instead of frontal lectures, I preferred collective analyses with the inclusion of students. This was made even more interesting and variegated by the analysis of the screenings and discussions of the parallel Roma Image Studio. In the course of the semester, students received personal attention, the hierarchical teacher/student relationship became more of a partnership. The optional assignments – moderation of the discussion of a program element (Clara Farkas, Bálint Kováts and Attila Szalmás each took on an evening) – greatly contributed to this. At the end of the semester, sitting at the terrace of Gödör Club on Erzsébet Square with some of the course’s students, we decided to continue the film club in a collective format. The following “Course Portfolio” contains the description of the methodological basis of course development; I made it to accompany the grant report submitted to CEU CRC.

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