Workshop – Research Techniques, 28th March 2020


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What is it?
Investigative journalism is a well-established and respected field, but by contrast ‘investigative photography’ or ‘investigative photojournalism’ is an idea which is only slowly gaining recognition. This workshop shows how investigative approaches might be usefully applied to photographic projects, drawing on my own use of these techniques in projects such as Shadows of the State and Metropole.

What is covered?
This workshop will introduce participants to key ideas, techniques and tools useful for development of an investigative project, from idea generation, to research and planning, to identifying methods of visualising a potentially abstract story. It primarily draws on the field of open source research, an investigative methodology which emphasises using public data sources. It combines this with methods developed for planning investigative stories, and an overview of some of the risks involved and how to mitigate them. Please see below for a detailed outline of the day’s schedule.

Who should do it?
Anyone interested in starting to undertaken projects with an investigative angle, or who simply wants to broaden and develop their open source research skills.

What do I need to bring?
Participants should bring a laptop and come with a few ideas for topics or stories which they wish to apply an investigative approach to.


9.50Participants arrive ready for a 10.00 start.

10.00 to 11.30What are investigations good for, developing a rough idea or hunch into a clear story, structuring your investigation, risk assessment and precautions.

11.30 to 11.40Coffee break

11.40 to 13.00Advanced search techniques and different strategies and tools for social media exploitation

13.00 to 14.00Lunch (included in workshop fee)

14.00 to 15.30 Image analysis, mapping platforms, and geolocation techniques.

15.30 to 15.40Tea break

15.40 to 17.00Open data sources, research workflow and organising what you find. Legal issues, making investigative stories visual. Final questions and discussion about the day’s topics.

17.00Workshop ends

Where is it?

The workshop takes place at my studio in south London, meaning that participants have access to a wide range of materials and resources from my numerous projects and teaching. Lunch is served in my home and there are also local shops and eateries for anyone who prefers to go out for lunch. By foot the studio is five minutes from Selhurst station, and 15 minutes from Norwood Junction station, and is also on the 468, X68 and 50 bus routes.


‘It was a really informative day.  The form doesn’t give me enough space to say how helpful the experience was. … On top of all the great teaching, the day was friendly and fun. The food was excellent, which is very important to me.  Your room works exceptionally well and it is easy to see how much thought you have given to the layout of the space, with clever hidden gems like the magnetic walls.’
– Nicola, Visual Storytelling participant

‘There really wasn’t any weak point during the day. As a busy working photographer predominantly delivering picture stories to clients, I found exploring the ‘science’ (for lack of a better word) behind much of what I instinctively do was absolutely fascinating.’
– Marcus, Visual Storytelling participant

‘I found the visual storytelling techniques followed by practical exercises with pictures very useful. I also really appreciated the studio set up, your non-hierarchical relation with us and the down to earth environment of your house. ‘
– Visual Storytelling participant

The fine print:

I believe workshops should be small and intimate, and for that reason numbers are capped at 7 participants per workshop. However this small number also means I need at least 6 participants in order for them to run. In the unlikely event of a workshop having to be cancelled participants will have their full fee returned to them. Participants needing to cancel up to two weeks before the workshop will have their fee returned less a 20% charge. Cancellations made less than two weeks before the day of the workshop are non-refundable.

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