Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Diary for 19th June to 25th June 2008

THURSDAY 19TH JUNE - Painting Hull

We're half way through the annual Refugee Week at the moment, and since anthropology is often concerned with issues of migration, identity and cross-cultural difference there are a few events I'm going to highlight that should be worth attending. Starting today in Hull is 'The Land of Green Ginger', a participatory art project that aims to link refugees in the area with their 'host communities'. Over the course of three days, participants will collaborate to produce an artwork for the city, with the aim of also increasing their mutual understanding, and making plans for the future. As well as being an interesting exercise from the cross-cultural point of view, it is also notable for anthropologists because art is being used as a 'tool' for this communication. The event begins at 9.00 at the Paragon Station and the Central Library. You can find out more about Refugee Week and all the events taking place nationwide on their website.

FRIDAY 20TH JUNE - Imagining Iran

I'm afraid I'm a bit late on this one, but I thought the event worth mentioning anyway as there's still some related resources available online. The event in question was put on by the Iran Heritage Foundation at the University of St Andrews last week and comprised a conference, series of film screenings and a photographic exhibition looking at the Visual Representations of Iran. Although unfortunately the exhibition finished on the 18th June, several of the films are still available to view on the website, where you can also find out about upcoming events being organised by the IHF. Additionally, the photography exhibition that was on at the conference also exists as a book, and is a collection of images by Kaveh Golestan entitled 'Recording the Truth in Iran'. You can also read interesting academic abstracts on the website looking at issues of Persian identity. So whilst it's a shame I did not spot this event earlier, hopefully there is plenty of interesting stuff still online anyway.

SATURDAY 21ST JUNE - Refuge in film

Another Refugee Week installment today as I'll be checking out what this year's Refuge in Film film festival in London has to offer. A selection of films exploring issues of migration and refugees will be showing until Sunday, selected and presented by young people interested in and affected by those issues, in collaboration with the grassroots organisation Nueva Generacion. According to the current events page, on Saturday at the BFI there will be a combination of films and visual workshops, as well as a 16.30 screening of 'The Sahara is not for sale' at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn (tickets are £5), about the repression of the Saharawi people in Morocco.

SUNDAY 22ND JUNE - A day in Wales

Another reminder for the Wales Anthropology Day, which is now just under a week away. Places are still available for the day, being held at the University of Wales in Lampeter, which is made up of a series of workshops, talks and film screenings all designed to give an introduction to anthropology. Whether it's facial reconstruction, life in the army or Jamie's School Dinners - the topics covered are many and varied and should provide a great overview of the breadth of subject matter studied by anthropologists. The event is free to attend - for more information you need to email, or otherwise just fill in the booking form online.

MONDAY 23RD JUNE - Getting in touch

As I mentioned on the blog a couple of week's ago, the relationship indigenous people have with the world at large has been in the news a lot recently, with an at times heated exchange raging between anthropologists, non-governmental organisations and just about everybody else about how these encounters should be viewed and represented. I came across an interesting article the other day which suggested that instead of emphasising the fact that these communities are 'uncontacted', we should rather try to understand their frequent struggles to retain control of their land and way of living from outside influences. At first such specific arguments may come across as a bit pedantic, but they are in fact vital to consider, especially given the current wave of questionable reality programmes in the media about indigenous peoples. It's an important debate, and a difficult one.

TUESDAY 24TH JUNE - Sharing out sameness

This evening I'll be heading down to the ICA in Central London for a talk by the French philosopher Luce Irigaray. She will be discussing some of the topics raised in her latest book, Sharing the World, many of which are highly relevant to anthropology. For example, she examines the idea of 'sameness' in western culture, and suggests that learning to co-exist with 'the other' as 'another' might be a more helpful way forward. The 'Other' is a concept commonly referred to in anthropology, and is a catch-all term used to describe how we represent those outside our society or direct community. The talk begins at 18.45 and tickets cost £9 for students. You may have trouble getting tickets, in which case returns are normally available - otherwise look out for another talk by Irigaray in September.

WEDNESDAY 25TH JUNE - No Man is an Island

I'm off to the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology today to look at a new exhibition of photographs by Australian artist Brook Andrew. 'The Island' is a collection of ethnographic photographs taken by early anthropologists, which Andrew has reinterpreted in the light of contemporary political and social concerns about the exploitation of indigenous peoples. The collection is made up of portraits and landscapes from the archives of several anthropological institutions. Moving away from discussions of how the images sterotype indigenous peoples, this collection aims to understand them at a different level, in terms of cultural identity, history and racial discrimination that lies therein. You can read an introduction to the photographs by anthropologist Nick Thomas as well as the artist here. The exhibition runs until 27th September, and entrance to the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology is FREE.