COMM381 The Art of Documentary

Credit Points 6
Responsible Campus Teaching Period Mode of Study
Armidale Trimester 2 Online
Armidale Trimester 2 On Campus
Intensive School(s) None
Supervised Exam There is no UNE Supervised Examination.
Pre-requisites 12cp or candidature in a postgraduate award
Co-requisites None
Restrictions COMM581

offered in odd-numbered years

Combined Units COMM581 - The Art of Documentary
Coordinator(s) Dugald Williamson (
Unit Description

This unit explores documentary as the art of representing reality. It examines how varied documentary genres have developed for different cultural and industrial purposes, and how they express diverse voices and perspectives. We examine the creative, industrial and ethical aspects of documentary, in changing contexts of Australian and international production. Our examples come from film, television and converging digital media. The unit does not include technical screen production, but it covers research and writing for developing documentary ideas. Students have the option of either writing essays about documentary or combining some essay work with a creative project, in which they develop ideas in the script-like format of a 'documentary treatment'.

Recommended Material


Note: Recommended material is held in the University Library - purchase is optional

Australian Documentary: History, Practices and Genres

ISBN: 9780521167994
FitzSimons, T., Laughren, P. and Williamson, D., Cambridge University Press 2011

Text refers to: Trimester 2, On Campus and Online

Disclaimer Unit information may be subject to change prior to commencement of the teaching period.
Title Exam Length Weight Mode No. Words
Compulsory Assignment 1 40% 1500
Assessment Notes


Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-3

Compulsory Assignment 2 60% 2500
Assessment Notes

Essay or documentary treatment

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-4

Learning Outcomes (LO) Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. demonstrate knowledge of a range of documentary traditions, genres and techniques;
  2. evaluate and apply critical terms and approaches for analysing documentary;
  3. apply advanced research and writing skills to develop and present ideas about documentary theory and practice; and
  4. demonstrate understanding of cultural and ethical frameworks of documentary representation.