2 | Exploring Spaces (Individual Project #1) | 30%

Exploring Spaces in Hong Kong: Labour, Leisure, and Politics 30%

Purpose: To develop reading, synthesizing, and analytical skills.

In class 4, we will visit a neighbourhood in Hong Kong, and you will choose a space to observe. Think about the ways in which space was used before, and how it is used now (in terms of labour/work, leisure/recreation and protest/politics). For example, you might choose to sit outside of City Hall, or the Admiralty MTR where the protestors gathered last year, or an art gallery, a fancy hotel, the walkways where the domestic workers gather, etc. This assignment should be completed individually.

This assignment is made up of three parts: 1) field notes with 5-10 documentary photographs; 2) a 60 second non-fictional cellphilm; and 3) a 15 minute presentation (in class 6). Each part is weighted equally (10% x 3 = 30%). A rubric for each part of the assignment is on our course Moodle page.

Part 1: Fieldnotes

Observation is an extremely important skill, and it is something that we need to practice in order to teach. In this first part of your assignment, you must explore a space of your choosing in Hong Kong, and take detailed fieldnotes for a minimum of 30 minutes. You may use a pen and paper, or you may use a computer/tablet. You must find a place to sit, observe what you are seeing, and write what you have observed. Do not worry about grammar or spelling. Your goal is to write what you see. Later, you must type up & clean up these observations (about 500-1000 words), and hand them in.

Chiseri-Strater and Sunstein (1997) have developed a list of what should be included in all fieldnotes. Your fieldnotes must include all of the following:

  1. Date, time, and place of observation
  2. Specific facts, numbers, details of what happens at the site
  3. Sensory impressions: sights, sounds, textures, smells, taste
  4. Personal responses to the fact of recording fieldnotes
  5. Specific words, phrases, summaries of conversations, and insider language
  6. Questions about people or behaviors at the site for future investigation
  7. Page numbers to help keep observations in order

(as cited in http://www.gpgrieve.org/PDF/How_to_write_Field_Notes.pdf).

You must also take 5-10 photographs during your observation. These photographs must explore the way that labour/leisure/politics are being expressed in the space that you are viewing.

Part 2: Cellphilms

Filmmaking with cellphone video technology is a growing participatory research trend, where participants are asked to be the creators of knowledge. Jonathan Dockney (2009) writes, “Cellphilms, through engaging unheard voices, can establish a collaborative working relationship between ordinary citizens and those in power. Social partnerships can be established through the generation and maintenance of micro public spheres, where democratic attitudes can be fostered” (http://africanscreens.com/commentary/jonathan/). With Dockney’s words in mind, we will be making 60 second cellphilms to address the theme, Exploring Spaces in Hong Kong: Labour, Leisure, and Politics. You should work individually. Your cellphilms must fit the theme, and be linked to a particular space in Hong Kong. You are expected to upload your cellphilms to your blog through a link on Youtube or Vimeo, e-mail the link to Shannon (swalsh@cityu.edu.hk), and provide a 100-200-word description of the cellphilm. This description must link your film to the concepts of labour/leisure/politics. You must make the video on a cellphone, but you may edit on a computer if you choose to. However, editing is not required. You may also add music, but again, it is not required. We will be watching all of the cellphilms in class during the in-class presentations (see part 3).
The following may be used as prompts to guide your cellphilms, however you are not bound to these suggestions:

  • Present an aspect of the space that interests you, and show how you see this aspect explored in the space that you have experienced. (Ex: the role of migrant labour and remittances in Hong Kong’s economy as seen at World Wide House)
  • Illuminate questions, issues, or gaps that arise regarding the use of space (by different actors for different purposes).
  • Interrogate your role as a citizen within the spaces that you visit.


  • Your film must be shot on a cellphone, but it can be edited on a computer. You can shoot the whole thing in one shot (using a pause button), or you can use multiple takes, or make stop motion animation, etc. There are some free apps that can help with in-phone editing, such as Cameo; Magisto; Stop Motion, etc.
  • Your cellphilm must be at least 60 seconds long, and can be no longer than 120 seconds in length.

Part 3: In-Class Presentation

Your 10-minute in-class presentation is meant to give you an opportunity to show your work to your colleagues, and to present your ideas in a professional manner. Your in-class presentation must include:

  • An introduction to the space that you explored (Where was it? Why did you choose this space? How does it connect to the concept of labour/leisure/politics?)
  • Reflections on the fieldnotes process (What was it like? What did you see? How did you feel?)
  • Showing and explaining your 5-10 documentary images (from the fieldnotes experience).
  • A brief explanation of your cellphilm, followed by a screening of your cellphilm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s