David Borish

As his body of work illustrates, David is an exceptional storyteller and researcher, able to communicate the complexities of environmental and social issues to a variety of audiences. Through his leadership, the HERD: Inuit Voices on Caribou study was able to document over 80 perspectives about caribou across Labrador, analyse this knowledge through both a qualitative and multimedia approach, and engage community members in an equitable and transparent research process that centred community voices. A variety of outputs, including a feature and short-length documentary film, an interactive website, and a photobook were produced. Six peer-reviewed articles that advance knowledge about caribou and Inuit identity, social connections, food security, emotional wellbeing, cultural continuity, and other dimensions of Inuit life were also co-created.

David is a clear leader in using visual strategies to explore and communicate underrepresented knowledges and lived experiences, and his unique position as a social and health researcher and a filmmaker has helped him advance video for collaborative inquiry.

David’s recent article for the International Journal of Qualitative Methods grounds documentary film in community-based and Indigenous-led research, while also outlining the practical influence of film for supporting project collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, the strength of conducting filmed interviews for place-based understandings, and a co-analysis approach that emphasizes the embodied dimensions of Indigenous knowledge.

David has also developed and piloted a new highly transferable analytical strategy he calls video-based qualitative analysis. This new analytical technique repurposes video-editing software for investigating qualitative data, which helps to integrate the non-text dimensions of knowledge into the analysis, such as body language, gaze, and tone of voice.

David’s short but powerful trajectory is coherent and committed to advancing the use of creative, visual methodologies for understanding social, health, and environmental issues.


Andrea Andersen And Her Daughter In Makkovik, Nunatsiavut
Ight Henry Lyall, An Inuk Knowledge Holder From Nain, Eldred Allen, An Inuk Drone Pilot From Rigolet, And David Borish Filming Caribou Outside Of Nain, Nunatsiavut
The Land
Eva   Paul Nochosak In Their Home In Nain, Nunatsiavut
Derrick Pottle Of Rigolet, Nunatsiavut
Caribou Outside Of Cartwright, NunatuKavut
Borish The 8 Steps Of A Video Based Qualitative Analysis



    One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.

    Lisa Kristine


    Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

    William S. Burroughs

  • You try your hardest to give people their space, but at moments you know you’re capturing their image in ways they may or may not be okay with. It’s that rocking back and forth between respect and betrayal that I feel like is at the heart of the film.

    Kirsten Johnson


    For any picture, ask yourself what question or questions it might be answering. Since the picture could answer many, questions, we can decide what question we are interested in.

    Howard Becker


    Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.

    Bertolt Brecht

  • Photographers learn to interpret photographs in that technical way because they want to understand and use that ‘language’ themselves (just as musicians learn a more technical musical language than the layman needs). Social scientists who want to work with visual materials will have to learn to approach them in this more studious and time-consuming way

    Howard Becker

  • We never really know what’s around the corner when we’re filming – what turn a story will take, what a character will do or say to surprise us, how the events in the world will impact our story.

    Barbara Kopple

  • Before I became a film major, I was very heavily into social science, I had done a lot of sociology, anthropology, and I was playing in what I call social psychology, which is sort of an offshoot of anthropology/sociology – looking at a culture as a living organism, why it does what it does.

    George Lucas

  • If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you’ve got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you’re dumb and blind.

    Salman Rushdie


    Visual culture is now the study of how to understand change in a world too enormous to see but vital to imagine.

    Nicholas Mirzoeff


    There are dignified stupidities, and there are heroic stupidities, and there is such a thing as stupid stupidities, and that would be a stupid stupidity not to have a camera on board.

    Werner Herzog


    If it’s far away, it’s news, but if it’s close at home, it’s sociology.

    James Reston


    The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.

    Pierre Bourdieu

  • So it is my firm belief, that if you want nowadays, to have a clear and distinct communication of your concepts, you have to use synthetic images, no longer words.

    Vilém Flusser


    Every photograph promises more than it delivers and delivers more than it intended.

    Steve Harp

  • Give us adequate images. We lack adequate images. Our civilization does not have adequate images. And I think a civilization is doomed or is going to die out like dinosaurs if it doesn’t develop an adequate language for adequate images.

    Werner Herzog

  • I believe that we face incredible obstacles in our attempts to see the world. Everything in our nature tries to deny the world around us; to refabricate it in our own image; to reinvent it for our own benefit. And so, it becomes something of a challenge, a task, to recover (or at least attempt to recover) the real world despite all the impediments to that end.

    Errol Morris


    The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.

    Zygmunt Bauman

  • Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.

    Henry Rollins


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