COMM581 The Art of Documentary

Updated: 15 March 2019
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 supervised examination.
Pre-requisites candidature in a postgraduate award
Co-requisites None
Restrictions COMM381

offered in odd-numbered years

Combined Units COMM381 - 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'.

Materials No text required
Disclaimer Unit information may be subject to change prior to commencement of the teaching period.
Title Exam Length Weight Mode No. Words
Compulsory Assessment 1 20% 1000
Assessment Notes

Research exercise

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-3

Compulsory Assessment 2 30% 2000
Assessment Notes


Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-4

Compulsory Assessment 3 50% 3000
Assessment Notes

Essay or documentary treatment

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-5

Learning Outcomes (LO) Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. demonstrate advanced knowledge of screen documentary forms, traditions, technologies and techniques;
  2. interpret, apply and evaluate disciplinary concepts and methods for generating knowledge about documentary;
  3. apply research skills independently to investigate problems in the study of documentary theory and practice;
  4. analyse and synthesise a wide range of sources and use appropriate written forms to communicate findings coherently; and
  5. demonstrate understanding of industrial, policy and ethical frameworks of documentary production, distribution and reception.