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The Program

The Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media brings together existing traditions of documentary practice with emerging approaches to create a unique multidisciplinary program. Innovative in structure and approach, the program is the first to is to offer an MFA degree in documentary media in Canada and is one of a very limited number of such programs offered worldwide.

The program is uniquely multidisciplinary, as it brings together students working in film, photography and new media to explore documentary forms and strategies in the making of new documentary work. Students in the program produce thesis projects exploring compelling subject matter that may take the form of documentary narrative films, print based and interactive photographic books, multi-platform documentaries and gallery-based installations.

Rather than providing a static definition of what documentary is, the program combines studies in documentary production and ideas with explorations in documentary history, the humanities and visual culture to open up possibilities for documentary work created from political, cultural or personal points of view. Students in the program have investigated topics that range from robotics and the limits of human experience to micro-histories of neighbourhoods, investigations of First Nations issues, migration and displacement, environmental issues and contemporary art. Student projects have been undertaken throughout the Americas, as well as in Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The program situates itself in the professional documentary community and is connected to media makers who are shaping the language of documentary media today.  Students in the program connect to the wider community through the annual Doc Now festival, a multimedia festival that showcases the work of the graduating class.

The graduates of the program can be found in diverse occupations including film and television production companies, positions within the creative industries, freelance careers as filmmakers, photographers and new media producers. Other graduates have gone on to further study at the PhD level and careers in the educational field.

The Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media is a full-time, two-year/six-term program that strives to maintain a connection to documentary traditions while encouraging innovative approaches to the making of new documentary works. The program is based in Ryerson University's School of Image Arts. The School is renowned for it’s outstanding programs, faculty and facilities and is an educational leader in the study and production of visual media.


Join us for the next INFORMATION SESSION:

Tuesday November 4th, 2014 - 7:00 pm - 122 Bond St, Room 307


Faculty Showcase: 

Documentaries, children's series win Canadian Screen Awards

School of Image Arts Professors Min Sook Lee and Barry Stevens each took home Canadian Screen Awards for their productions. Documentary Media professor Lee won in the Best History Documentary category for The Real Inglorious Bastards and Stevens received Best Directing in a Documentary Series for War Story - Ortona: The War Inside.

Alumni Showcase: Zanele Muholi

The Ryerson Image Centre Features Alumni in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival: Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases

Toronto, March 11, 2014 --- The Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) celebrates the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival this May with four new exhibitions and an international photography symposium.

Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases addresses the representation of black lesbian and queer identity, focusing largely on post-apartheid South Africa. A social and political activist as well as an artist, Muholi endeavours to bring radical change to conventional perceptions of lesbian and transgender communities who suffer from continuous attacks in South Africa. Curated by Dr. Gaëlle Morel, this exhibition will be featured as a Primary Exhibition during the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and will be on view at the Ryerson Image Centre, May 1 – June 1, and again June 18 – August 24, as part of WorldPride Toronto 2014  

Student Showcase: Anna Maclean

Anna Maclean: 2nd Prize winner in the YSGS VIDEO COMPETITION AWARDS

Graduate students were asked to submit videos that were 1-2 minutes in length, and would incorporate the three words or themes: creative, connected, and entrepreneurial. Submissions were welcome from currently registered Ryerson graduate students. First year Doc Media student Anna MacLean was the 2nd prize winner of Ryerson's first graduate experience video competition. Anna's video is featured on the Ryerson website as a means to promote graduate studies at Ryerson. Maclean was awarded a $5000 prize by Dr. Jennifer MacTavish, Dean, School of Graduate Studies, in the presence of President Sheldon Levy and Provost Mohamed Lachemi.

Photo Credits:

Header: Larisa Kurzemnieks '13, This Way to the Beach
About: Ben Lenzner '11, This Is Just Batting Practice , A Tale About G.I. Joes, Tomato Boxes, Rivers & Reincarnation, video still
Admissions: Ruth Kaplan '10, Some Kind of Divine 
Doc Now: Ken Woroner's exhibition at the RIC, 2013
Alumi: Zenele Muholi '08, Faces and Phases
Student Projects: Saman Aghvami '14, Home

Watch the Doc Media Video