Visual ethnographies of science

On Thursday 24 March 2022, a public screening of eight short ethnographic films took place at the Technisches Museum Wien. The films were produced by the students of the course 'Visual ethnographies of science: Investigating knowledge production through media practice’ at the University of Vienna.

The eight short films offer insights into the working procedures and conditions of different science institutions in Vienna, including laboratories, museums, and a university library. Two films focus on day-to-day processes at the Technisches Museum Wien, documenting museum employees carrying out established workflows and conducting interviews with them.  

The course ‘Visual ethnographies of science: Investigating knowledge production through media practice’ was a collaboration between the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the Department of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna. It was taught by Sarah Davies and Sanderien Verstappen, with tutoring by Viktoria Paar, and facilitated by the Vienna Visual Anthropology Lab. During the course, Master students of both STS and Anthropology worked in interdisciplinary groups, applying ethnographic filmmaking in a research project about scientific knowledge production.

Link to the short films: click here


“Augenarbeit”, made at Zeiss lab: AKH Medical physics by Nora Ederer and Elaine Goldberg. Collaborators: Philipp Matten, Anja Britten, Tilman Schmoll.

“Blurred Visions”, made at the Sternwarte Wien by Andrea Heisse, Jamina Trapp, Antonia Winkler. Collaborators: Research Group Physics of Nanostructured Materials.

“Archive”, made at the Technisches Museum by Ella Coogan,  Emily Kate Genatowski, Gisela Tiefenbrunner. Collaborator: Sophie Gerber.

“Acquiring Collection Objects”, made at the Technisches Museum by Tatjana Andrea Borodin, Sofiya Korneva, Hubert Tastl. Collaborator: Sophie Gerber.

“The Lebensplaner comes to life”, made at the Museum for Contraception and Abortion Vienna by Elitsa Kapusheva, Simona Dalla Valle, Marlene Walchshofer. Collaborators: Diana Riegler, Ben Posch, Clemens Reichholf.

“Inscription Rhythms”, made at the Library of the University of Vienna by Aysel Aycan Aktas, Adil Aygün, and Renata Mandzhieva. Collaborator: Melanie Stummvoll.

“WÜSTE -Building Against Destruction”, made by Alex Hähnlein, Özgür Ipekci, and Tihomir Crnjak, in collaboration with participants in the Lobau action group.

"Handle with Care", made by Anna-Maria Stabentheiner, Kai Strycker and Noah Jonathan Münster

A discussion of the interdisciplinary engagement between STS and Visual Anthropology in this course has been published in the working paper “Investigating scientific practice with ethnographic film”, in the EASA Media Anthropology Network E-Seminar series of the European Association of Social Anthropologists.