Thursday, September 20, 2007

Diary for 20th September - 26th September 2007


Tonight I'm tuning into ITV1 to watch a film directed by Chris Terrill, who spent eight months training as a Royal Marine alongside a group of soldiers half his age. He says he uses his anthropological training to inform his style of filming, ensuring that he becomes immersed in an environment, spending much of the time as a participant-observer. You can read an interview with Chris about his technique from The Times here, as well as watch a preview clip from the first episode (screening at 21.00) here.

FRIDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER - Talking pots

Today I'm heading up to Loughborough University for a research symposium about 'Objects and narratives'. Although it sounds grand, the event is open to any interested visitors, and should be a fascinating look at the many roles that objects can play in our lives and the society around us. Speakers include Geoffrey Gowland, who will be talking about his recent anthropology PhD research on Chinese pot makers, and the cultural importance they place on talking to the objects during their crafting. To find out more about the event, you can contact Jane Tormey on or on (0)1509 22 8966.

SATURDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER - MAVIS on the big screen

This Saturday sees the screening of the latest batch of films from students on the Goldsmiths MA in Visual Anthropology at the Roxy Bar & Screen in Borough. As usual, there's an amazing range of films on show - from a Peckham barbershop via post-conflict development in South Sudan to an experimental investigation into the subculture of computer gaming. If you can't make it down on the day, there are also more films from previous years' students that you can view on the website. If you're interested in the course at Goldsmiths, then they are now interviewing for next year's course - get in touch with Professor Stephen Nugent to find out more on or 0207 919 7805. The screenings last from 10.00 until 14.00 on Saturday and entry is FREE.

SUNDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER - Rushing around in the Docklands

On Sunday, I'm off to the Museum in Docklands in East London to have a look at the video installation 'Rush Hour', which uses real-time video and still photography, together with sounds from a local radio phone-in to depict rush hour in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The two men behind the work, an artist and a journalist, wanted to show a non-stereotypical side of life in the African capital - you can read more about their reasons for doing the project here. The exhibition precedes the November opening of Britain's first permanent exhibition on London's role in the transatlantic slave trade. Rush Hour is open from 10.00 to 18.00 and admission is FREE for students.

MONDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER - Prayers for a martyr

I'm back down to the Roxy Bar and Screen tonight for the Pocketvisions' screening of The Tears of Imam Hussain. Filmed in South Lebanon, it is about the Shiite Ashura Festival that commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. Like other Pocketvisions films, it relies mostly on observational material, and also includes reflections from participants on the ten-day long ceremony and its political and religious significance. The film starts at 19.00, entrance is FREE, and there is a Q&A with the director immediately after the showing (plus probably lots of anthropologists to chat to).

TUESDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER - Smoke signals from London

This evening sees a screening of the first feature film written, directed, and acted by Native Americans. Smoke Signals is being shown in conjunction with the New Dreaming exhibition mentioned previously on the blog, and it tells the story of the journey of two men to collect the ashes of one of a recently deceased family member. For more on the importance of the film to the Native American community, you can read an interview with the scriptwriter here. The film starts at 19.00 and tickets can be purchased on the door at the October Gallery for £6 (£4 for students).

WEDNESDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER - Behaving yourself at the British Museum

On Wednesday it's the annual get-together of the Royal Anthropological Institute, being held in the Clore Education Centre at the British Museum from 17.00. It is followed by refreshments, and then at 18.00 the 2007 Curl lecture by Dr Daniel Nettle from Newcastle University. He will be attempting to answer the question, ‘Nature versus culture, or how is human behaviour to be explained?’. Both events are FREE to attend and open to all-comers - the Curl lecture should be a great introduction to a debate at the heart of much of anthropology.