We offer a variety of ethnographic and filmmaking approaches. Below are different examples, including:

  • traditional ethnographic video case studies focussing on one person or family
  • a place-based ethnographic film
  • a process-based ethnographic film
  • a journey-based ethnographic film
  • a remote/digital ethnographic film using video diaries
  • a co-designed campaign video
  • and participant-led photo-ethnography

Our director Elliot is also a trained youth leader and co-founder of Film For Humanity – a not-for-profit offering filmmaking workshops for people of all ages, particularly those who feel socially excluded or under-represented.

1) What are the impacts on young people of the Violence Reduction Unit’s ‘Stronger Futures Programme’? / Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime

This is an example of a traditional ethnographic case study, where we follow one person over a few days to tell their story.

Our approach to research is that it should be with, rather than on participants – where participant comfort and collaboration are a priority. So whilst we have initial themes to explore, we maintain an open mind and let participants guide us in determining what to film and discuss on camera,

For this case study, our approach meant that after explaining the themes to our participant Chloe, she guided us on what would be best to film and when, and made sure that relevant activities would be happening during our visits.

We usually structure our videos to reflect that of the accompanying written report. In this case:

  • 0min – What does the young person actually do through the programme?
  • 2min – What are the impacts for the young person?
  • 4m40s – What are the things that make a positive difference?
  • 5m40s – What has the young person’s development looked like? (From the perspective of an overseer)


This is another example of a traditional ethnographic case study, following one family in their home environment. The structure is:

  • 0min – What has the family dynamic been like?
  • 2min – How did the request for support go?
  • 3min – What was the family’s experience of support like?
  • 5m05s – What has been the overall impact of support?


This is an example of place-based ethnography, where the focus is on exploring different places, and speaking to as many people in each as possible. For this project we visited community businesses in Bradford, Leicester and Hartlepool. The structure of the resulting video is:

  • 0min – What are the different community businesses supported by the programme?
  • 3min – What have been the personal impacts of the programme? (Improving personal skills, confidence and connection)
  • 6m50s – What have been the wider impacts of the programme? (Promoting community empowerment and wellbeing)

This is the full edit that accompanies the report. We also created three shorter edits, one for each place, so that each place’s ‘anchor’ organisation had a film they could share on their own social media.


This is an example of process-based ethnography, where we follow multiple people throughout a process/programme, and contextualise their experiences by visiting them in their homes. The structure of this video is:

  • 0min – What are citizen assemblies?
  • 0m30s – Who are the local residents we’re following, and how do they feel about their towns in general?
  • 2m05s – What do they feel about the issues covered by their assembly?
  • 3m40s – How do they feel about participating in, and the running of, their assembly?
  • 5m10s – What do they think about citizens’ assemblies as a way to tackle local issues?
  • 6min – What are their respective councils’ responses to the assemblies?

5) What were the impacts of a Cultural Citizens Programme for young people? / Arts Council England

This is an example of journey-based ethnography, where we accompany people as they go on a journey, and then follow up at a later date to understand how the journey affected them.

For the follow-up interviews we used the ‘co-discovery’ method. That’s where we show selected footage to the participants of our earlier visit (in this case clips from their excursion), for them to respond to and comment on. The resulting structure for this video is:

  • 0min – What were the young people’s initial expectations of their excursion?
  • 1min – What were the experiences of the young people on the excursion?
  • 4min – What’s been the impact of the excursion on the young people?

6) What are the experiences of young people living in temporary housing? / Children’s Rights Alliance for England

This is an example of a campaign video that was co-designed with the young people whose voices are heard in it. We pitched different ideas to the young people, who then voted for the concept seen here.

It was created by first conducting interviews with the young people, and then bringing their words to life using real models and stop-motion animation. The young people helped out on set, and it’s their hands that can be seen on camera.

The film was shown at The House of Commons to highlight the realities of living in temporary housing.

7) What are the transport Experiences of Young People with Mobility Issues? / Flourish

This film is an example of remote or digital ethnography using video diaries.

We asked six young people with mobility issues, from across England, to record diaries that documented their different transport experiences over a month, and reflect on how their experiences might differ if travelling by driverless car.

Due to the impracticality of filming whilst travelling, the diaries were recorded before and after each journey. The video is structured around the insights that emerged:

  • 0min – Intro to the video project
  • 0m25s – Regular travel often means relying on friends
  • 1m15s – Travel by public transport often means relying on staff or strangers
  • 2min – Regular travel can be too sedentary
  • 3m05s – Parking can be difficult with regular cars
  • 3m35s – Travel by public transport can mean having to prove your mobility needs
  • 4m30s – Parts of public transport can be inaccessible
  • 5m20s – Personalising rides via an app would be useful

8) What’s it like growing older in Lincolnshire, and how can the council help? / Centre for Ageing Better

This film is an example of photo-ethnography, turned into a video.

We visited organisations working with older people across Lincolnshire, to speak with people about their experiences of growing older in the county, what they liked about living in there, and what improvements they’d like to see.

The interviews were recorded in audio-only format, and accompanied by photos of the participants and their local environments.


This is another example of photo-ethnography, led by young people.

To find out more about the young people who attend IntoUniversity’s after-school support centres, we visited attendees across the country, to take their photo portraits and interview them in their homes.

The theme we used for both the portraits and interviews was ‘three things that bring you most joy’. So we asked the young people to show us the things that make them happy, and photographed them engaging with those things in context.

Click on a photo to read a contextualising excerpt from the young person’s interview.

You can also watch a film we made about one particular Into University centre, here.