Cork Boxing Research Project


About the Study

As part of the requirements for PhD in Film & Screen Media (Creative Practice) at UCC, I (Dan O’Connell) will be making a documentary film about amateur boxing in Cork city. The purpose of my study is to evaluate the development of a new form of documentary filmmaking called “Sensory Ethnography”, which places emphasis on capturing sensory aspects of the subject being documented. In this case, I will make a documentary in the usual way but will place a particular emphasis on the environments, textures, sights and sounds of the sport of boxing.

What does the study involve?

For this study, I will be filming and recording sound at various Boxing Clubs in Cork City and conducting interviews in collaboration with the Cork Ex-Boxers Association. I will also document other club activities such as sporting, social, fundraising events, etc. Over time the recordings will be compiled into a documentary film, which will be shown to participating contributors (club members and associates). The right to remove oneself from the process can be requested at that point. Upon completion of the documentary film, participants will be invited to a private screening, where they will be given a final opportunity to request reasonable changes to the final cut.

For the most part, no considerable time commitment will be necessary by any individual, only the willingness to allow me to record video and/or sound. I may interact with participants or ask questions about the actions being undertaken while the camera is rolling. 

On occasion, I may request to interview participants to provide more personal insights related to boxing and the boxing community. This is completely optional and will require a minimal time commitment. A suitable time, date and venue can be arranged on a case-by-case basis, where parents/guardians will be consulted and notified and invited to attend. These interviews will be captured on video, and recordings may, but will not always, make their way into the final cut of the film. You/Parent/Guardian will be notified and invited to review any interview footage before it is screened at any group gatherings. 

As part of this study, I will also be constructing a 40,000-word document that will discuss and evaluate the documentary film and the process of making it. For this, transcripts of any interviews, whether they are included in the final cut (edited version of the film) or not, may also be used or quoted in the written research paper accompanying the documentary film.

The filmmaking style and approach of ‘Sensory Ethnography’ is based on ‘Ethnographic Filmmaking’, a form of filmmaking with roots in anthropology. Ethnographic filmmaking usually involves spending a long period of time in contact with a community or cultural group, recording video and sound, which becomes a record of the group and a means to study how the group functions socially. My method combines ethnographic and sensory filmmaking techniques, where an artist (me) will collaborate with a community or group (you) on a creative project (the film) that will emphasise the sensory aspects of the group’s environments (the clubhouse), tools (equipment) and activities (training and boxing) to provide a richer and more immersive representation to the spectator (the audience).

Why have you been asked to take part?

You have been asked because your contribution will be valuable to the outcome of the film and to the overall study.

Do you have to take part?

No. If you do agree to take part, you/your parent/guardian may withdraw your involvement in the project at any point. If there is a video or audio recording of you, you/your parent/guardian may request to have them removed from the study or the Documentary film. At any point, you/your parent/guardian may request to withdraw from the project by emailing me at: Requests to withdraw from the project will be kept confidential.

Will your participation in the study be kept confidential?

Video recordings are not confidential in nature; any video or sound recordings of you can remain confidential if you so wish and will be excluded from the edited (public) version of the documentary film. At any point, you may request to anonymise or remove your contribution to the project by emailing me at:

What will happen to the information that you provide?

Any data that will not be used in the final film, such as video and sound recordings, interviews, personal contact information and consent forms, will be kept confidential for the duration of the study, available only to my research supervisor and me and my external examiner. It will be securely stored on encrypted hard drives and the UCC Research Store. On completion of the project, they will be retained for a minimum of ten years and then destroyed. When the documentary film is nearing the final stage (during the editing process), a private ‘preview’ screening will be provided for all participants, who will be given a further opportunity to preview the final work before signing a final disclaimer allowing the edited version of the film to be screened at other venues, such as film festivals. 

What are the possible disadvantages of taking part?

I don’t envisage any negative consequences for you in taking part. It is possible that you will be unhappy with how you have been represented in the video, but your feedback and comments will become an important part of the final film.

What if there is a problem?

If there is a problem, you may contact me in confidence, Dan O’Connell (, to air your concerns.

Who has reviewed this study?

Approval has been given by the Social Research Ethics Committee of UCC before the study began.

Any further queries?

If you need any further information, you can contact me: Dan O’Connell.