Monday, December 01, 2008

Diary for 27th November to 3rd December 2008

THURSDAY 27TH NOVEMBER - Not a Waste of Time

Tonight I'll be back down at the Horniman Museum for an event linked to the India Recycled exhibition that I've mentioned previously on the blog. It's a collection of images that illustrate the journey of clothes donated to UK charity shops, which are recycled and re-sold in the markets of Northern India, and which on the flip side also looks at Indian saris and textiles that are recycled as western fashion items. From 19.00 exhibition organisers - anthropologist Lucy Norris and photographer Tim Mitchell - will be discussing photographs from the collection with photo historian Helen James. It all takes place in the Music Gallery Performance Space and admission is FREE.

SATURDAY 29TH NOVEMBER - Musical interludes

On Saturday I'll be spending a tuneful day in the company of those present at 'Musical Anthropologies' Study Day run by the Royal Musical Association. The event is in honour of Georgina Born, an anthropologist and musician, who has just been awarded the Dent Medal for academic achievement. The day is made up of a series of workshops, kicking off for example with a session on "Musical Publics And Spaces: Views From An Urban Ethnomusicology" - you can view a full programme with abstracts here. It lasts from 10.30 until 17.00 in Room N336 at the Institute of Musical Research, Senate House - directions available here. Admission is £10 (plus another tenner if you require lunch) and it might be a good idea to reserve a place by emailing Valerie James at

SUNDAY 30TH NOVEMBER - Sizing up the competition

In the history of obscure awards, the announcement last week of the best anthropology blogs in the world might just mark a milestone. Sadly, the travels of yours truly did not make the running, but I did find out about a few more anthropologists in cyberspace through the list, and their thoughts are well worth checking out. The 'Most excellent blog', according to the ceremony at the American Anthropology Association's annual shindig, is 'Culture Matters' - an Australian site that looks at the practical application of anthropology to the world around us. You an view the full list of nominees here, as well as entrants for the even more prestigious 'Most Excellent Uncategorizable Digital Thing-a-ma-job for Anthropology...

MONDAY 1ST DECEMBER - Childish debates

Today I thought I'd ponder the thoughts of an evolutionary anthropologist who appeared on the radio last week. Dr Justin Barrett from Oxford University was arguing that it is the natural tendency of children to believe in God, i.e. that they do not learn about a higher power from social or familial indoctrination, rather instinctually. Dr.Barrett was appearing in preparation for a lecture delivered at a Cambridge University Symposium on whether it is religion or atheism that is learned as we grow up. You can read an article about the
discussion here, or listen again to their debate here.

TUESDAY 2ND DECEMBER - The wheels on the bus go round and round

Next time you're stuck in a queue you might want to consider the findings of American researchers that “The queue is a social system". Apparently, the academics behind the study, who have a background in anthropology and social psychology, have conducted a thorough survey of U2 concert queues and come to the conclusion that the fact most fans keep their position in the line is because "Any threat to the established queue might create chaos to the whole system and threaten one’s own position". Their work sounds remarkably like a group of fans finding an excuse to go to lots of gigs, but is an entertaining piece more here...

WEDNESDAY 3RD DECEMBER - Photos with a Voice

On Wednesday I'll be flicking through a recently released book called 'New Londoners'. It's a collection of photography that's been put together, with all the images taken by a young people who have recently arrived in the UK from countries like Congo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The photos are a fascinating insight into their different views of their new place of residence in the UK as they await decisions about their future from the authorities. A few of the images are available to view on the web, and you can learn more about the project on c0-organisers DOST or Photovoice's website. Many of the themes are common to visual anthropology, in their focus on representation and perspective of place and people. If you require more information, or want to get hold of a copy of the book (selling at £19.99) then you can contact:

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