Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Diary for 6th March to 12th March 2008

THURSDAY MARCH 6TH - South Asian Sussex

On Thursday I'm heading straight down to Sussex to catch some of the Traveling Film South Asia '08 festival that is currently being hosted by the University of Sussex Anthropology department. The festival lasts until 8th March and is showing various new documentary films made in and about the region. These include films about arranged marriage, post-tsunami state corruption and primary school education in Pakistan - read about the full list of films here. For more information on the exact times and venues of the screenings, you need to contact Jamie Cross on 07758 078090 or

FRIDAY MARCH 7TH - Lost and Foundling

Tonight sees the first event in the ESRC Festival of Social Science that I posted on the blog a couple of weeks ago. Hosted at the Foundling Museum, there are three films showing, under the overall theme of 'Street Fictions'. The films, all made by visual anthropologists, are based in India, Malawi and Ethiopia and follow the stories of different sets of abandoned street children. The evening starts at 18.30, and you can also take the chance to check out the rest of the museum, London's first home for abandoned street children. You can also view the website of the director of the film set in Ethiopia - 'Room 11: Ethiopian Hotel', which includes an interesting debate on the film. If all that's not enticing enough, the evening is not only free, but a complimentary glass of wine is thrown in too. To book a place, please contact the Royal Anthropological Institute by calling 0207 387 0455 or emailing

SATURDAY MARCH 8TH - Power in Pakistan

On Saturday I'm planning a visit to a Green Cardamom exhibition, an arts organisation that exhibits work by Asian artists across the country. One such exhibition at the moment is 'Standing still standing still standing' by Bani Abidi, which examines issues of power and how it impacts upon people. The photos and film are from Pakistan but should be universally relevant, and their themes are ones often studied on anthropology courses - sometimes in relation to the writing of big thinkers such as Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu. Abidi's work is on show until the 12th April at the Green Cardomom head office in London, and entrance is FREE.

SUNDAY MARCH 9TH - More fantastic films!

On Sunday I'm continuing with the glut of films this week by going along to the Birds Eye View Festival - an annual showcase of some of the most important work by female directors in recent years. Not only do the films screened explore issues of gender, but also themes that cut across all aspects of society from identity to race to disability. Of particular interest today is Three Times Divorced (showing at the ICA in London at 18.30), which tells the story of a Palestinian woman struggling to retain her right to live in Israel following separation from her abusive husband. Themes of cross-cultural tension as well as the relationship between individuals and 'the system' are very important to anthropologists so this should be a fascinating watch. You can view the whole programme for Birds Eye View here - another film not to miss is observational film-maker Kim Longinotto's acclaimed Hold Me Tight, Let me Go showing on Wednesday 12th March.

MONDAY MARCH 10TH - Perspectives on childhood

Monday sees the continuation of the ESRC Festival of Social Science at the Royal Anthropological Institute. It is the beginning of three evenings of film screenings about childhood experiences, kicking off tonight with Pride of Place - another Longinotto film from early on in her career about a boarding school. It's preceded by the showing of a short documentary made by A-Level students from South East London who took part in an ethnographic film workshop. Check out the details for the other films showing later in the week (and also other events happening around the country) here. ON Tuesday and Wednesday at the RAI there will be more A-level shorts, as well as documentaries by anthropological film-making legend David Macdougall. All the events are free, and start at 18.30 - but you need to book beforehand on 0207 3870455 or at

TUESDAY MARCH 11TH - What does it mean to be illegal?

There's yet another great looking film festival starting today at the Goldsmiths College Centre for Cultural Studies. Called 'Cinema Division - Todos somos illegales' (We are all illegal) - it is a series of films about the Mexican-US border that explore issues of nationality, legality and labour. Today, the film on show is Touch of Evil, a 1958 Orson Welles film about police corruption in a Mexican border town, which touches on the construction of national and cultural difference. Over the weeks there will be a mixture of fictional films and documentaries (see the flyer here) all beginning at 18.00 in the Small Hall Cinema at Goldsmiths - entrance is FREE.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 12TH - Where there's a woman, there's a way

On Wednesday I'm going to head up to the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford for a talk entitled 'Extraordinary Journeys - Women Collectors of the Pitt Rivers'. The lecture will encompass some of the impressive trips undertaken by contributors to the museum's ethnographic collections, and is combined with a tour round the galleries to see what kind of objects they have brought back. The talk begins at 11.00, entrance is FREE, but you must book ahead on 01865 613 004 to ensure a place.