Autumn '18

Action! On The Real City - Informal Zürich: Ethnographic Filmmaking on the City's Edges

Ethnographic Filmmaking on the City's Edges

Elective Course

  • Start 24.09.2018
  • ETH Zurich, ONA / Oerlikon
  • Professor Alfredo Brillembourg & Professor Hubert Klumpner
    Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou
  • ECTS Credits: 2
  • Mondays: 10:00 - 12:00


The elective course “INFORMAL ZÜRICH: Ethnographic Filmmaking on the City’s Edges“ develops new forms of urban literacy in learning from the complex, real-life city. The course aims to use diverse qualitative research methods and practical recording tools to approach the context of urban informality in Zürich through a multi-disciplinary lens that includes urbanism, social research and media use.

Through a combination of practical exercises in filming and editing with a theoretical crash-course in ethnographic methods, this course aims to equip students with the basic tools and core principles to create short but complex portraits of urban space.

Central to the course will be numerous filed trips examples of informal spaces in Zürich, from occupied spaces to areas of ephemeral sociability and more. These trips will be key in developing the skills and generating the material of the course’s outputs. Using widely available recording tools and editing software, students will turn their “thick” readings of the social and spatial realities of these case studies to develop short videos of about 3-5 minutes. These outputs will collectively give a glimpse of the past, present and future of informality both in Zürich, as well as in cities like it.