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

  • 3 traditional ethnographic video case studies focussing on one person or family
  • 3 place-based ethnographic films
  • a journey-based ethnographic film
  • a remote/digital ethnographic film using video diaries
  • a co-designed campaign video
  • and video made from audio and 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.

Essex County Council had piloted a programme to help families in volatile situations build resilience, and reduce their reliance on statutory support. We were tasked with assessing what impact, if any, the resulting interventions had, and where could they be improved. Our case studies complemented and appeared in an interactive evaluation report, written by Traverse, and designed by Close-Up.

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?

3) How do ‘behavioural difficulties’ affect children and their families? / Impact on Urban Health

This is short clip for Twitter, from another traditional ethnographic case study.

In partnership with Renaisi, we were privileged to document the experiences of 18 families who have children with ‘behavioural difficulties’, and produce an insights report with recommendations for better support, for Impact on Urban Health.

There is relatively little awareness that for some children, anxiety, distress, and trauma is communicated through their behaviours and interactions with others. So called ‘behavioural difficulties’ are widely misunderstood and carry huge stigma, something we see play out in school exclusion rates and the limited support offered to families.

You can read the report here, and find the full film and podcast case study here.


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 another place-based film. Power To Change’s “Next Generation” programme funds community energy projects. As part of the evaluation and learning report, we produced a series of case study films for some of the different energy projects. In this film, we visited Devas Youth Club in south London, which had a heat pump installed by the Next Generation beneficiary, Crew Energy.

6) What are the impacts of an after-school support charity? / Into University

This is a longitudinal place-based ethnography. As part of the charity IntoUniversity’s 2019 evaluation report, we were commissioned to spend a month visiting one centre, in Brent, to create an in-depth ethnographic video case study about the place and its impact. The results were incorporated into an Impact Report, assured by PwC, and a full qualitative Impact on Attainment report by Renaisi.

We also spent a few months taking photo portraits, with interviews, of 21 IntoUniversity students in their homes across the UK. For the portraits, we decided to take the theme of ‘what brings you most joy’. You can see some of the resulting portraits, with interview snippets, here.

7) 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?

8) 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.

9) 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.

In 2018 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

10) 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.