Research Summary

Summary of research

The research project will analyse how discourses around human rights are shaped and negotiated in the space of a film festival. The main case study is represented by Scotland’s only dedicated human rights film festival – Document – which takes place annually in Glasgow. I will conduct an in-depth institutional study of the politics, programming strategies and working practices of the festival. I will examine how Document operates in the web of partnerships and interactions with international festivals and industry bodies as well as with global and local community organisations and campaign groups. In doing so, I will produce a thesis that maps the festival’s contribution to the discourse of human rights, which is mobilised locally and globally through by festivals, activists, filmmakers and NGOs.

The research project coordinates interdisciplinary research approaches embedded in the arts and humanities with a particular focus on media ethnography. Within the studentship’s collaborative framework, I will also be undertaking a placement within the festival team, contributing to fieldwork, active participation in the festival programme, as well as knowledge exchange with the organisers. In addition, I will use comparative analysis with a Romanian-based human rights film festival and archival research of Document’s activities throughout the years.

The project aims at uncovering the way a festival works within wider context of human rights issues and cultural industries – in particularly the status of cultural workers in the film festival field. Furthermore, the project will advance the challenges of a media ethnography conducted virtually as well as physically within an organisation. Last but not least, the project contributes to the exponentially growing research on film festivals, contributing to the development of a methodological approach aimed at the further study of film festivals and film-related activism.



    • Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) Applied Research Collaborative Studentship (ARCS) studentship grant