About the GCVA.

Boys with 'cameras'

Since its creation in 1987, the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology has been widely recognised as the world’s leading centre for Visual Anthropology. Its graduates have produced more than 300 ethnographic films seen around the world and it is now at the forefront of the emergent dialogue between art and anthropology, including sensory ethnography, experimental and practice-based methods, sound and performance, photographic and digital media, and art/museum installations.

Our Masters and PhD programmes combine anthropology with training in film-making, editing, photography and sound. Students are provided with professional equipment and supported by an internationally renowned staff comprising the largest visual anthropology faculty in Europe. We welcome students from across the social sciences and humanities and the course is tailored to meet the needs of different levels of anthropological and film-making experience, from people who have little or no background in formal anthropology, film-production, visual methods and photography to those who may have substantial experience in one or more of these areas.



Why Manchester?

The Granada Centre’s teaching and research continues to set the standard of excellence in the social sciences as well as arts. This was formally recognised by the ESRC’s review of research in the social sciences in 2006, and by the AHRC’s awarding the Masters programme the status of a Professional Preparation Masters, something accorded to no other visual anthropology programme in the UK. In 2012 the Granada Centre’s MA in Visual Anthropology received a special commendation for teaching excellence by the UK’s Association of Social Anthropologists and the Higher Education Authority.

Granada Centre graduates work in a wide range of academic, professional and media positions, including university professorships, working for the UN and directing TV series such as Tribe, Horizon and BBC and C4 Documentaries. Graduates include anthropologists, such as Sarah Pink, Rane Willerslev and Sylvia Cauiby Novaes. While in terms of film and television recent achievements include the success of Granada Centre graduates Andrew Palmer (as producer) and Gavin Searle (as director) who won the 2011 BAFTA (the British equivalent of the Oscars) for Best Television Documentary Series for Welcome to Lagos (BBC/Keo Films)

Manchester is a creative, energetic and cosmopolitan city noted for its music scene, media links and industrial past. An advantage of studying in Manchester is the cheap cost of living and accommodation in that rents are approximately half the cost of London.




Since it was founded in 1987, the Granada Centre has established an international reputation for its practice-based approach to teaching in visual anthropology. It forms part of the Social Anthropology Discipline Area at the University of Manchester and plays the central role in the delivery of the following postgraduate programmes:

MA in Visual Anthropology

The flagship one-year taught Master’s programme, the MA in Visual Anthropology, combines anthropology with practical training in film-making, editing, visual methods, photography, sensory ethnography and sound. An important feature of this programme are the workshops offered by professional practitioners, including the Centre’s Honorary Lecturers, the distinguished documentarist Leslie Woodhead and BAFTA-winning director Gavin Searle.

Further details and application procedures

Doctoral Research

The Centre also contributes to the delivery of two research degrees:

Both these programmes involve fieldwork and some element of film-making and/or other practical projects in image-making or sound-recording.

Further details and application procedures

Short Course in Ethnographic Documentary

The Centre runs a two week course addressed to beginners who want to learn the technicalities of camera use, editing and sound recording, applied to the specific perspective of ethnographic documentary. The course is highly practical and includes workshops by academics and industry professionals.

Further details and application procedures



Film Library

The Granada Centre Film Library houses a collection of some 2000 titles and related literature, from classic documentary to contemporary film and world cinema. It is open to all staff and students of the University of Manchester. Film acquisition is an ongoing process, and we try to include titles which cover a great variety of contemporary anthropological issues, explore the increasing number of new global ethnographic and documentary film and expand the base of classic European and non-European documentary.

The Film Library also holds titles of considerable relevance to other disciplines within the University, such as Sociology, Religions & Theology, English, Education, Media Studies and Drama.

Thanks to the Central Library our students have access to the Alexander Street Press Ethnographic Video Online collection (over 300 films) and Kanopy Streaming (26,000 documentaries, indie and foreign films, must-see classics and blockbuster movies).

Locations & Opening Times

Room G.020 (ground floor), Arthur Lewis Building

  • Monday: 11:30am – 12:30pm;
  • Thursday: 2 – 3pm;


Please note that the Library is only fully open during teaching weeks. The library will be open for limited periods during the Christmas and Easter vacations, but it is completely closed during the Summer vacation.

Journals and Articles

To complement the film titles, the Film Library houses an extensive collection of textual materials by anthropologists, film-makers, film historians and film critics.


The running costs of the library are met jointly by Social Anthropology and the Granada Centre. However the great majority of items in the library have been purchased with income raised through subscriptions and ‘bench fees’ paid by students on the Granada Centre Masters programmes. Without this income, the library would not exist. Therefore, all users, with the exception of students already paying ‘bench fees’, are asked to pay a subscription. Students in Social Anthropology may subscribe for a flat rate of £10 for the whole year. Current rates for other users are £25 for both semesters, £15 for one semester, and £10 for half a semester (beginning after Reading Week).

Short term subscriptions which do not entail borrowing rights but which allow users to watch films on the premises are available at the following daily rates: £3 for members of the University of Manchester, £5 for external students and concessions, £10 for professional users.


All subscribers will be asked to register by completing a simple form with contact and programme details, as appropriate. All subscribers are required to give an email address as important information such as new acquisitions, changes to opening times etc. will be circulated via email only. Registration will take place in the library itself during normal opening hours only.

Borrowing Rights

Users with borrowing rights are allowed to check out up to 5 items for up to a week.

All films and books checked out will be due the following Tuesday by 3pm no matter what day the item has been checked.

Items may be returned outside of opening hours in the drop box, however items returned there after 3pm on Thursday will be late.

Items may be renewed (if there is no hold on it) but they must be renewed in person, during opening hours, with the item present.

Anyone who has an outstanding fine will not be allowed to check out another item until the fine has been paid.

Fines will be £1.00 per item per day. With ‘days’ counting as opening days.

Viewing Facilities

The Library offers viewing facilities and study area for those who may have no access to a VCR or DVD player at home, and to enable members to view films that are not for loan. A number of our films are very costly – indeed some are irreplaceable – and therefore may only be viewed in the Centre.