Thursday, February 28, 2008

Diary for 28th February to 5th March 2008

THURSDAY 28TH FEBRUARY - A pocketful of Papua

This Thursday I'm back down at the British Museum for a Pocketvisions special. Screening this afternoon will be two films made by a film-maker, Wendy Zakiewcz, who graduated from the Goldsmiths MA in Visual Anthropology in 2006. The first film - 'Sam Laguna at the British Museum' - looks at the work of a Papua New Guinea artist who recently produced some pieces for the British Museum. The second is 'Paper and Stone' - in which the film-maker returns to a school she used to teach in. The films, which are followed by a Q&A with the director, are also interesting to compare with Wendy's earlier film, 'Badsickness' - also filmed in Papua New Guinea for her MA. The screenings begin at 16.00 in the Stevenson Theatre and entrance is FREE.

FRIDAY 29TH FEBRUARY - From Abba to Dana International

Is there a finer spectacle on these European shores than the Eurovision song contest? You may argue that the local karaoke isn't too bad in comparison, but that hasn't stopped a group of academics' strong interest in the subject. 'Singing Europe: Spectacle & Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest' is a conference being held in Greece that begins today. Those present will be discussing the performance and representation of imagined national and 'European' identities. Unfortunately the dulcet tones of Terry Wogan won't be on hand to guide you through, but the event does include the contributions of several British ethnomusicologists. I'm not planning to go to Greece though - you can catch the whole event on live internet broadcast here. Should be interesting anyhow, if only for the talk entitled 'Sounds of Monstrosity'...

SATURDAY 1ST MARCH - Olympic anthropology

Today I'm going to read an interview last week with an American anthropologist about the Olympics and China. Sarah Brownell is a sports anthropologist, currently living in Beiing and looking at the ways the Olympic Games have impacted upon the wider society there. For instance, she asks whether sport is in fact seen by the Chinese Government as an example of how they wish the country to be run - in a non-corrupt, fair way! There has been some interesting reaction to her thoughts in the press, and if anthropology and sport interest you as a subject you could look into the BA Sport at Durham University, which includes anthropology modules. There are also a couple of good introductory texts on the subject, looking at how sport impacts upon culture, politics, economics and identity, to name but a few...

SUNDAY 2ND MARCH - Happy birthday to an angel

This year is the tenth anniversary of the Angel of the North sculpture, designed by British artist and former student of anthropology Anthony Gormley. So today I'm going to have more of a read about Gormley and how he brings anthropology into his work. He is especially concerned with the impact of the human body on our social environment and landscape, as shown by the fact much of his work takes on the human form. Often by collaborating with local people he looks to understand how we can understand places through people. See if you can untangle this reasoning behind his work: "the insider is opposite of sense from self, from appearance"(!)
Watch out for more Angel-related events as the year goes on...

MONDAY 3RD MARCH - Hebrew happenings

Today I want to have a look into the Jewish community based in Britain. Last week there was an interesting discussion on Radio 3's Nightwaves programme about the social and cultural issues currently affecting that community. It looked at the ways in which Jewish customs and religion are declining in numbers, whilst their community are often drawn into wider geopolitical arguments related to Israel. After listening to that I'm going to head down to the ICA in Central London for the screening of 'Jellyfish' at 20.45, which tells the story of inter-connecting lives in Tel Aviv. Then there's also the Jewish Book Week happening at the moment to check out. All should be worthwhile opportunities to learn more about the Jewish way of life - right up my anthropological street.

TUESDAY 4TH MARCH - Poking anthropology

It seems high time I mentioned the all-pervading Facebook on the blog. While it may not be everyone's cup of social networking tea, it does lay claim to several hundred anthropology-related groups. Today, I thought I would have a look around and see if there was anything to learn. The groups range quite a bit in content, from one linked to the organisation '' which aims to create a "cohesive online community of individuals interested in anthropology", via one that claims anthropologists are "Interesting but Unemployable" (nonsense I hear you cry...) to, perhaps most pleasingly, "Anthropology + Good Looks = A Deadly Combination". Couldn't agree more...

WEDNESDAY 5TH MARCH - Solidarity cinema

Tonight I'm heading along to the Roxy Bar & Screen in London Bridge for an evening of film, talk and music, courtesy of Solidarity not Charity - a organisation that partners with groups in the 'Global South' with the aim of giving voice to their causes and projects. Solidarity not Charity hosts several events each year, often screening documentaries made by anthropologists. Their approach seems closely aligned with anthropology in that they try to offer a fresh perspective on well-worn themes. Tonight's event is centred around issues of women's rights and includes a screening of Moolaade, one of the most influential films made in Africa in recent years. The event starts at 18.45 and entrance is FREE.