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Documentary Animation

Documentary Animation is one of three pathways, alongside Experimental Animation and Narrative Animation, that applicants choose from within the animation programme. Built on the fundamental skills delivered by the core Animation MA, this pathway addresses the fast-growing documentary practices involving animation and other forms of image fabrication. The pathway is about fusing animation practices with documentary approaches, forms and questions about representing and engaging with the real.

Exploration and application in Documentary Animation may consider long-form animation, non-linear engagement, informational narratives, interactive media and learning mechanisms; all of which are applied across multiple platforms and technologies for production and delivery, in varying environments. The practise is built on a ground of research and making, through contextual and critical thinking.

To celebrate the launch of the pathway, the College hosted the APGR's symposium Ecstatic Truth: Defining the essence of animated documentary in May 2016. Resources from the symposium are available here.

First Year

The pathway shares the first term with other programmes across the School, which all provide subject-led electives. Students choose one of these electives and, in parallel, participate in series of animation workshops that are designed to develop new ways of working. Additionally, the workshops serve to introduce students to the programme and College facilities, to enable independent working and to introduce a broad range of academic and technical staff.

Documentary animators engage with a range of technical workshops and research methods, which equip them to develop a self-defined project or collaborate with key cultural institutions. The Animation course has established links with the V&A, the Welcome Trust, the Imperial College and the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford.

Student will become familiar with an exploratory approach to documentary, which may be informed by industry external projects.

In the second term student’s work toward a phase one development of a documentary proposal, production plan, or finished short documentary animation film. The legal and ethical challenges often faced within documentary practices will also be the basis of seminars and lectures as students engage in individual and collaborative project research.

In this third term, students undertake research and the initial writing of a dissertation as well as the development of their graduation projects.

Second Year

Students  further their collaborative project development, supported by practical workshops in team management, project planning, financing, etc. alongside field work and developing statement of intents. Reflective practice is a key aspect of this year, with an emphasis on new explorations and new kinds of platform. We intend to broaden out our established active engagement with industry representatives to provide feedback more focused to documentary animation, in readiness of final examination projects.

Potential candidates for this pathway will have a deep interest in investigating reality, be critically aware of issues of documentary representation and the real, be a strong visual practitioner (not necessarily in animation), be suited to work collaboratively, and be wanting to expand their practice in an interdisciplinary manner and wider fields of reference and research.