Visual Cultural Studies (VCS) is a Master’s programme in visual anthropology at UiT Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø. It was founded in 1997, from an initiative of Lisbet Holtedahl and thanks to the finances provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
VCS is a practice-oriented programme with a unique philosophy that distinguishes it from ordinary social anthropology curricula, media programmes, and documentary film schools. It draws on the principles of shared anthropology developed by Jean Rouch, with the intent to develop students’ recognition of the importance of learning from each other as well as from their protagonists in the field.
Since its creation, over 140 students from all over the world have had a chance to conduct research with a camera and to make their first film. Most of those students had no practical experience with filming and editing before enrolling in the programme. Many of the VCS-produced films have been screened at international festivals and on the Norwegian public television (NRK).