Oxford Academy of Documentary Film


The Oxford Academy of Documentary Film was established in 2005 by Dr Alison Kahn to identify, construct and disseminate agendas for ethical and socially responsible broadcasting and filmmaking. Collaborating with professional filmmakers, OADF offers a range of activities to enable public organisations and interest groups the opportunity to define and develop their self-representation to wider audiences. One of its main activities is to hold digital filmmaking workshops in academic and other educational institutions, such as schools and museums, in order to promote understanding of the basic- to moderate-level skills involved in film production and editing. OADF also produces documentary films and organises film festivals, public screenings and debates, especially for HEIs and museums. Many of the tutors employed by OADF specialise in the discipline of visual anthropology and have experience in ethnographic filmmaking.

In 2015, OADF was incorporated into Moving By Design Press and still offers bespoke workshops and filming services. To contact OADF, please send a message through Moving By Design Press.

OADF has offered numerous workshops at a wide number of institutions, including the University of Oxford, the University of Sussex, SOAS, UCL, Imperial College, and the Astra Film Festival in Sibiu, Romania.

The Before You Go Workshop Series

The workshops for the series Before You Go are aimed at research students preparing to go into the field with a digital camera to document their work. Over the course of the four-day workshop, our experts guide the students through the pre-production, production and post-production stages of their proposals and offer practical advice about filming in the third world, as well as technical tips to get the best out of the cameras available.

Film Productions and collaborations:

Captured by Women (2011), Directed by Alison Kahn

Captured by Women is a one-hour documentary in four parts that focuses on film footage by two British women in the 1930s, in the film collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum. The original footage on which the documentary is based, by Beatrice Blackwood in Papua New Guinea (1936–37) and Ursula Graham Bower in Manipur, India (1939), is also available on this website. Captured by Women was produced by the anthropologist and filmmaker Alison Kahn at The Oxford Academy of Documentary Film, in collaboration with the Pitt Rivers Museum, and with the help of a grant from UK Film Council via Screen South.

As part of the project, Alison Kahn interviewed experts and relations of the filmmakers, and the film narrates the lives of the women as well as investigating their motivations in making these films.

The film uses the notion of magical transformation as a part of cultural translation through film to lead the viewer from the Pitt Rivers Museum’s displays and the objects collected by both women, to their photographs, and finally the original film footage.

This one-hour documentary has been filmed on HD for a cinematic release and incorporates the pixilation method of rapid D-SLR photography that animates the objects discussed. The experience of watching the original 16mm film with the sound of projection, that would have been the only aural accompaniment to the silent film footage, is combined with the presentation of scenes and sound effects made with current digital technology.

Alison Kahn has also authored two ebooks on Capture by Women, published by Moving By Design Press.


DocuLecture (2010)

A faculty member in the Department of Experimental Psychology hired OADF to produce a lecture for his students in a documentary style.

Pregnancy video (2010)

BK Luwo (2009-10)

BK Luwo is an organisation based in East Oxford for African refugees, primarily from Rwanda and Uganda, and asylum seekers. It aims to provide members of this community with life skills and support. OADF provided tuition on the use of digital media as a means of recording cultural memories and events.

Conference filming for Diamond Light Source (http://www.diamond.ac.uk) in 2009.

OADF documented a conference for Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire.

Ask Not (2008), Directed by Johnny Symons

This film reveals the personal stories of Americans willing to risk their lives for a country that criminalizes the act of coming out. Current and veteran gay soldiers reveal how “don’t ask don’t tell” affects them during their tours of duty, as they struggle to maintain a double life. The film also follows gay veterans and young organizers turning to forms of personal activism to overturn the policy.


Conference filming for Designing For Services, Said Business School, University of Oxford (2007-08)

‘Designing for Services in Science and Technology-based Enterprises’ was an interdisciplinary research project initiated by Saïd Business School (SBS), a management department within the University of Oxford. It involved researchers from SBS, the wider university, academics from social science and design departments in other institutions, as well as design practitioners and science and technology entrepreneurs. The project took place over 12 months and was supported by the Designing for the 21st Century initiative funded jointly by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Dance Maths, Department of Education, University of Oxford (2007)

OADF made a series of films of dancers performing various patterns. The images were used by the Department of Education at the University of Oxford as a teaching tool for mathematics

Promotional Film for Bromley Sparks Advocacy (2006)

(http://www.bromleysparks.org/) Bromley Sparks is a self-advocacy group, run by people with learning difficulties for people with learning difficulties. OADF produced a promotional video for the organisation to assist in obtaining funding.

In 2015, OADF was incorporated into Moving By Design Press and still offers bespoke workshops and filming services. To contact OADF, please send a message through Moving By Design Press.


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