Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Diary for 13th December - 19th December 2007

THURSDAY 13TH DECEMBER - Punishing artworks

On Thursday I want to attend a talk being given by the famous visual anthropologist Christopher Pinney at Goldsmiths University. He will be talking about the use of Karni Bharni images of salvation - or 'soteriology' - in Indian governance, and the power such depictions of punishment can have in society. It is a good example of the ways in which politics, religion and culture overlap to affect social imaginings and customs. The talk begins at 17.00 in the Small Hall Cinema and everyone is welcome.

FRIDAY 14TH DECEMBER - What is anthropology all about?

This Friday evening I'm going along to the annual Huxley lecture held at the British Museum. Anthropologists are asked to give the lecture in recognition of their achievements in the field, and this year the speaker is Professor Adam Kuper, from Brunel University, talking on 'Changing the Subject'. It promises to look at the role of anthropology today, and the challenges it needs to address in order to continue being an important part of society. The event begins at 18.00 in the Stevenson Lecture Theatre and entrance is FREE.

SATURDAY 15H DECEMBER - Pocketvisions wraps up for Christmas

This afternoon it's time to bid farewell to Pocketvisions for the year down at the Roxy Bar & Screen. At 15.30, they will be showing 'Avenge but One of my Two Eyes' by Avi Mograbi about the cycles of violence in Israel and Palestine. The film has one several awards across the world for its unflinching portrayal of events, and you can read an interview with the director here. It will be followed by the Pocketvisions Christmas get-together at 17.00 for the chance to mingle with all those involved in the organisation.

SUNDAY 16H DECEMBER - The Art of Fishing

This Sunday I'm settling in to listen again to a programme from Radio 4's Women's Hour that was broadcast recently about a project that is documenting women's role in fishing communities in north England. There is a more than a touch of ethnography about the project, and it's a great insight to a little-known corner of society. As it happens, one of the first ethnographic films was also made about fishing - this time mainly about men - and you can watch it online. It's called The Drifters by John Grierson, the so-called godfather of documentary in the UK.

MONDAY 17TH DECEMBER - How to film...

On Monday I'm going to check out a film that has been posted on Google Video about ethnographic film-making. It contains many contributions from anthropologists about the ethics and challenges posed for anyone trying to combine anthropology and film, including figures such as Robert Gardner, Lucien Taylor, and Paul Henley who runs the MA in Visual Anthropology in Manchester. The documentary covers such issues as whether the film-maker should observe or participate, and is a useful introduction for getting to grips with the issues at stake. For more information, you could also have a look at this website, which has newsletters about the latest developments and publications related to visual anthropology.

TUESDAY 18TH DECEMBER - Feeling sleepy

Christmas is coming, and that, according to my traditions and customs, means a lot of sleeping. To get in the mood, today I'm off to the Wellcome Collection's current exhibition about that very subject. Sleeping and Dreaming includes contributions from artists, scientists, film-makers and historians, and takes an in-depth look at sleeping across cultures. One of the sections that looks particularly interesting is the about how economic and social change are affecting our sleep patterns, for example resulting in the invention of the 'power nap'. The exhibition runs until March 8th 2008, is open daily (except Monday) until 18.00 and entrance is FREE.

WEDNESDAY 19TH DECEMBER - Inside the mind of a shopper...

I'm signing off for a bit of a break today, so there'll be no blog for a couple of weeks, but I've heard talk that there will be more activities than ever for an Anthropologist about Town come 2008.

In the meantime, if you're struggling with the retail overload that always occurs at this time of year, why not have a look at some anthropological analysis of shopping and what it means. Danny Miller has written a Theory of Shopping that sees it as a ritual process, or a 'technology of love' - think of it that way and it might help the endless queues and emptying wallet seem more bearable!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Diary for 6th December - 12th December 2007

THURSDAY 6TH DECEMBER - The end of the Voyage

Today I want to attend the final day of the Voyages European documentary festival that has featured on the blog for the last couple of weeks. The season ends with a couple of films at the Goethe Institute in West London. At 19.00, the Danish film 'In a soldier's footsteps' is showing, about a Ugandan exile seeking to stop his long lost son from repeating his father's past as a paramilitary fighter. It is followed by 'The First Day' from Poland which follows the first day at school for a group of people from rural Siberia. The children have to travel to the city by boat or plane to receive their education, so it should often an unusual an fascinating new perspective on issues of migration. Tickets for the double bill are £7, or £5 for students.

FRIDAY 7TH DECEMBER - Museum by night

Tonight I'm heading to the Pitt Rivers Museum for their annual 'Winter Warmer' which allows visitors the opportunity to spend a few hours exploring their vast range of anthropological exhibits by torchlight. The night runs from 19.00 until 23.00, includes a complimentary glass of mulled wine and is a rare opportunity to explore the venue outside daytime hours. And if going out into the gloom's all too much for you, then why not explore the collections online, courtesy of a great 360° photographic feature on their website. You will need to provide the warm drink, of course.

Otherwise, if you're in London then there is a film showing at 18.00 at the Khalili Lecture Theatre in SOAS called 'Jashn-e-Azadi' (or 'How we celebrate freedom') looking at issues of freedom and resistance in Kashmir. The director will be present to answer questions and you can find out more on the organisers' website here. Entrance is FREE.

SATURDAY 8TH DECEMBER - Getting up to speed with Nigeria

On Saturday I'm really looking forward to attending a one-off event in the Khalili Lecture Theatre at SOAS showcasing the ethnographic films of Frank Speed, whose work was principally based in Nigeria between 1956 and 1983. The day begins at 9.30 and includes a combination of screenings and discussion by anthropologists, ranging from sickle cell anaemia via Kingship rituals to traditional theatre. The event, which is FREE, ends at 18.00 with a drinks reception. It is already booking up fast, so you must reserve a place beforehand at the British Academy's website, or by contacting the organisers on 020 7969 5238 or at

SUNDAY 9TH DECEMBER - Rouch remembered

I missed the chance yesterday to attend a day of screenings and discussion about the ethno-fiction of Jean Rouch at Birkbeck University (if you're reading this before Saturday you can email for more details or to book a place), so today I'm making sure to go along to the Institut Francais for a double bill of his films. At 16.00 on Sunday La Pyramide Humaine is showing, and then at 18.00 it's the famous Les Maitres Fous. A ticket to watch both films costs £9, or £7 for students - and admission is FREE. The events are being held in connection with the release of a new book called Building Bridges: the cinema of Jean Rouch and his very influential style of ethnographic film-making.

MONDAY 10TH DECEMBER - Travel into the world of anthropology

On Monday I'm going to listen again to the Radio 4 programme Excess Baggage that was broadcast on Saturday, and featured anthropologists Joy Hendry. She will be talking about anthropology and travel, which is a topic that comes up in her work at Oxford Brookes University on representations and cultural display. If this is a subject that particularly interests you, then you might want to consider ordering this collection of essays on the subject. Incidentally, Excess Baggage is presented by Sandi Toksvig, who studied anthropology at university.

TUESDAY 11TH DECEMBER - A life of devotion

This Tuesday I'm off to a screening of 'Kings with Straw Mats' by Ira Cohen, a portrait of sadhus at the enormous Hindu celebration, Kumbh Mela, which occurs every 12 years. Sadhus devote their lives to meditation in pursuit of spiritual liberation, often leaving behind all material concerns. This film was made over twenty years ago, and follows the sadhus' journeys towards enlightenment and solitude. They have been the subject of much anthropological thought over the years, not least in the films of Michael Yorke, and you can view a clip of his 'Holy Men & Fools' here. The film begins at 19.30 at the October Gallery in central London and tickets cost £6, or £4 for students. There is also an accompanying exhibition of Ira Cohen's artwork that should be well worth checking out beforehand.

WEDNESDAY 12TH DECEMBER - Art across cultures

On Wednesday, I'm going along to the last of the SOAS 'Migration & Diaspora' screenings for the term. Showing today at 13.00 is 'In and Out of Africa' made by anthropologists Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Taylor about a Nigerian African art trader and his travels across the world from Ivory Coast to the USA. It looks at the way in which we value art objects across different cultures, something which is especially important to students of visual anthropology. The screening is, as usual, in the Khalili Lecture Theatre at 13.00 and admission is FREE. You can also now read Cross-cultural Filmmaking - Barbash and Taylor's important study of the process - online

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Diary for 29th November - 5th December 2007

THURSDAY 29TH NOVEMBER - Shamanic science

Tonight I'm off to a talk at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, South London all about some recent collaboration between shamans from the Amazon and European scientists. An anthropologist, Jeremy Narby, will be describing his recent work in this field, and the productive relationship that can be formed when indigenous knowledge of plants is combined with western understandings of molecular structure. In particular, Jeremy will talk about a team of shamans and scientists trying to find a cure for tuberculosis, by combining "microscopes and modified consciousness'. The talk, 'Shamans, scientists and plants: exploring the bio-cultural diversity of the Amazon' starts at 18.00 in the Jodrell Lecture Theatre (enter on Kew Road), and is open to all.

FRIDAY 30TH NOVEMBER - Baltic belonging

On Friday I'm going to the Baltic in Gateshead to check out the new exhibition by Kader Attia, called Square Dreams. Attia is their current artist in residence and was brought up in an Algerian family on the outskirts of Paris. His work explores issues of identity and belonging as they are caught up in the complications of globalisation - pretty spot on for anthropology then! The Baltic is open every day from 10.00 until 18.00 and entrance is FREE.

SATURDAY 1ST DECEMBER - China comes to town

Today I'm going to an all-day event at the British Museum, showcasing a selection of films from the Chinese film sessions at the RAI Film Festival earlier this year. The films are all based around family and community, and include an oral history of the Chinese communities in London as well as a film about a family living in one of China's great courtyard houses. The day is divided into two sittings, from 10.00 until 13.30 and 14.30 - 17.00, with two films being shown in each period. They will be on in the Stevenson Lecture Theatre, and admission costs £5 for either one (£3 for students), but you must book in advance, either in person or by telephoning the box office on 0207 3238181.

SUNDAY 2ND DECEMBER - Voyages in Eastern Europe

This Sunday, I'm returning to the Voyages documentary festival that I mentioned on the blog last week. There's a couple of fascinating films showing today. At 16.15 in the Cine Lumiere, you can see Wounds of Afghanistan, a film that follows two Estonian veterans back to the site of Afghanistan's war with the Soviet Union in 1979 - tickets costs £5. Then, at 18.30 there's a film from Bulgaria called Georgi and the Butterflies which follows the director of a Home for Mentally Challenged Men, and his quest to set up a working farm for his patients - again tickets are £5. As with all the films at the Voyages Festival, they offer glimpses of corners of the world most people probably know very little about...

MONDAY 3RD DECEMBER - Investigating murder in Mexico

On Monday night, I'm back at Pocketvisions at the Roxy Bar & Screen for the screening of A Massacre Foretold. It looks at the murder of a group of pacifist indigenous peoples by paramilitary forces because of their support for Zapatista movement in Chiapas, and the reasons why an investigation into the atrocity was never adequately completed. You can watch a trailer of the film and find out more about it here, as well as viewing an interview with the director, Nick Higgins, here. The screening begins at 20.00, admission is FREE, and it will be followed by a Q&A with Nick himself.

TUESDAY 4TH DECEMBER - Seeing beyond sight

Come Tuesday I thought I might go along to an exhibition being held at The Association of Photographers, in East London. On show will be the work of a group of blind and partially sighted photographers, in a collection called Sight of Emotion, which aims to portray the photographers' own needs and experiences. It has been organised by PhotoVoice, who provide an opportunity for groups who are frequently the subjects of photographs to have the opportunity to express their own perspective on life, through images. The exhibition is open from 10.00 until 18.00 and runs until 7th December - admission is FREE. You can also view a film about similar photographic work online.

WEDNESDAY 5TH DECEMBER - China comes to town 2!

This afternoon I'm back off to SOAS for another screening from their migration and diaspora series. Today they are showing Going to Town, about a Chinese man torn between working in the city to provide for his children and his rural community roots. Situations such as this are common subject matter for ethnographic film which often seeks to portray the tensions between different social environments. The director is a postgraduate anthropology student at Cambridge University. As usual, the film begins at 13.00 in the Khalili Lecture Theatre and all are welcome.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Diary for 22nd November - 28th November 2007

THURSDAY 22ND NOVEMBER - Location, location, location

This evening I'm going down to Rivington Place to the London is the Place for me exhibition that I mentioned on the blog a few weeks ago. It looks at issues of migration through photography and the moving image and how the 'cultural landscape' shapes our understanding of 'home'. You can view photographs from the collection here. This evening artist Alfredo Jaar and academic Paul Gilroy will be in conversation discussing the idea of a sense of place. Gilroy pops up on many undergraduate anthropology reading lists for his work on racism, nationalism and ethnicity. Places are running out fast, so to reserve a place you will need to email - the event begins at 19.00.

FRIDAY 23RD NOVEMBER - Talk on the Tyne

On Friday I'm attending a conference in Newcastle reflecting on the events held over the past year to commemorate the ending of slavery (see here for more information on these events). It is being run over two days by the university's Institute for Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities, and several anthropologists will be amongst the speakers. Also, on Friday night there's a reception at the Laing Art Gallery, including the exhibition of Benin artist Romauld Hazoume's Bouche du Roi, which has featured on this blog in the past. You can register online here - a single day ticket for students costs £15, and the full programme is viewable on their website if you want to check which session you are most interested in.

SATURDAY 24TH NOVEMBER - Voices from the Valleys

This afternoon I'm going to tune into BBC Radio Wales on the internet to listen to the first episode of Wales Observed, a four part series drawing on the archives of the Mass Observations team, who have been documenting daily life in Britain for seventy years. The founders of Mass Observation aimed to provide an 'anthropology of ourselves' - and this programme kicks off with one woman's memories of life in West Cross in 1937. Also this week, Massobs researcher Tanya Evans will be speaking about her research into lone motherhood on Radio 4's Woman's Hour. Again, you can listen into the programme here.

SUNDAY 25TH NOVEMBER - Drums & spears in Oxford

Today I'm heading up to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford for a celebration weekend, in recognition of the new extension that the museum has just opened. Starting at 13.00, there's a series of interactive activities to enjoy, including a session on weapons from around the world and the opportunity to play the Javanese Gamelan. There's also several fascinating talks on Sunday afternoon, details of which you can view here. The events last until about 16.00 each day, and admission is FREE.

MONDAY 26TH NOVEMBER - Moses comes to Margate

To start the week, I'm going straight out to buy a DVD released today called Exodus, directed by Penny Woolcock. It was screened on Channel 4 last week, and features the local population of Margate portraying a modern version of the Old Testament story of Moses and Israel. The new version concentrates on issues of migration and segregation, as Moses ultimately leads a group of immigrants out of their walled enclave and back into mainstream society. Penny Woolcock is renowned for her documentaries made with people at the margins of society, and has often said that anthropology is very influential in the ways she makes films. In fact, she gave the 2004 Forman Lecture at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology on that very topic.

TUESDAY 27TH NOVEMBER - Voyages into the Unknown

Today I'm heading along to the latest documentary festival to come to these fine shores - Voyages - ten days of European films ranging from Hungary to Wales to Cyprus. The films will be showing at various venues in London, principally the Cine Lumiere, and the directors will be present at the majority of screenings to answer questions. Tonight, I'm going to watch Back to Normandy, a French documentary about the making of a fictional film by local people 30 years ago, that was in turn about a murder over 100 years ago. The film starts at 19.00 at the Cine Lumiere. You can read more about the whole programme, which aims to promote cultural understanding and diversity, on the Pocketvisions website.

WEDNESDAY 28TH NOVEMBER - Suicide and society

On Wednesday I'm going to tune back into Radio 4 and listen again to Thinking Allowed from last week, which featured academic James Dingley discussing a paper he has just written for a conference on suicide bombers in the Middle East. He argues that the writings of Emile Durkheim, a French academic pivotal in the formation of anthropology around the beginning of the 20th century, can be useful for understanding the mindset of suicide bombers. Drawing on Durkheim's Suicide, Dingley describes how suicide bombing perhaps occurs because of social forces, not just as a result of individual psychological breakdown.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Diary for 15th November - 21st November 2007

THURSDAY 15TH NOVEMBER - Talking about statues

Another chance to listen to anthropologically-inspired artist Anthony Gormley at the Institut Francais in London tonight. He'll be in conversation with Sarah Kent, talking about his acclaimed recent exhibition at the Hayward Gallery and his approach to work in general. For example, you can read more about his human figures standing on Crosby beach, near Liverpool, here. The evening begins at 18.00 with complementary refreshments, but make sure you phone ahead to confirm availability on 0870 503 688.

FRIDAY 16TH NOVEMBER - The Importance of Air

Today I'm heading along to the second day of a three day symposium about the culture of breathing, called 'Take a Deep Breath'. It's being held at the Tate Modern and is made up of films, lectures, installations, music and discussion forums. The aim is to understand breathing in its cultural context, ranging from an environmental (think pollution) to a religious (think Buddhist consciousness) point of view. The sessions last all day until 20.30 - a full programme is available here, and a ticket for the whole event costs £30 for students. Booking is recommended on 020 2887 8888 or online here.


On Saturday I'm going to a seminar on 'Anthropology and Animals' organised by Middlesex University as part of their series of talks with The British Animal Studies Network. Three anthropologists will be appearing on the panel: Rebecca Cassidy who has worked on horse-racing, Garry Marvin who has researched bullfighting and fox-hunting, and Piers Vitebsky who has conducted fieldwork amongst reindeer herders in Siberia. The session lasts for most of the afternoon, and you need to email Sally Borrell on to register. It's probably not suitable for complete newcomers to anthropology, but should be a fascinating discussion.

SUNDAY 18TH NOVEMBER - Guilty pleasures

There was an interesting article I spotted last week about the work of a group of anthropologists in America who have discovered more about the true origins of chocolate. The team at Cornell University have traced chocolate residues on pots that date back to 1150 BC, and suggest that that chocolate beverages were drunk from then onwards in Central America, probably to celebrate births and weddings. They also think the creators were actually aiming for beer when they came up with the recipe - if you want to read more about the subject then in 2000 an anthropology of chocolate in culture was written! Before reading, I think I'll pop down to the newsagent to do a bit of my own research...

MONDAY 19TH NOVEMBER - The buzz of the Balkans

Tonight I'm back at the Roxy Bar & Screen for another cracking film from Pocketvisions - Beekeeping after War. It evokes the narratives of violence and recovery in post-conflict Balkans, but from the unexpected perspective of beekeepers. The region is renowned for its honey, and the keepers continued working throughout the war, despite the dangers. The film is as much about the war, however, as about the cultural importance of bees - a good example of how societies never change completely, they are continually adapting to and with circumstances. The screening is followed by a Q&A with the director, Tomas Leach, and begins at 20.00 as usual - admission is FREE.


Undergraduate anthropology students often come across a bit of psychology in their studies, so today I though I would listen again to Radio 3's Night Waves programme from yesterday that featured the neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks. Sacks often refers to techniques of medical anthropology in his work - in the past he has lived amongst a community of colourblind people in Micronesia, and also published the intriguingly entitled An Anthropologist on Mars. In this programme, he was talking about his new book which analyses people's responses to music, both psychologically and socially.

WEDNESDAY 21ST NOVEMBER - Moving from old to new

This afternoon I'm going to watch A Town in Migration, that is showing as part of the Ethnographic Film Series at SOAS university in London this winter. The films are all about migration and diaspora in some way, and have been selected from the many submissions to the RAI film festival held earlier this year in Manchester. A Town in Migration is about the residents of a Chinese town that are being forcibly moved to a reconstructed version of their home by the Chinese Government. It depicts their resistance to the imposition of 'new China' on their lives, and is one of only a few observational films made by Chinese directors. It is showing at 13.00 in the Khalili lecture theatre and entrance is FREE and open to all.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Diary for 8th November - 14th November 2007

THURSDAY 8TH NOVEMBER - Reliving the Day of the Dead

Today I'm going to listen again to the episode of Thinking Allowed from last week that featured American anthropologist Stanley Brandes talking about preparations for the Mexican ritual, The Day of the Dead. Then, you can listen to his contribution to the show from yesterday reflecting on the events. The ceremonies that take place celebrate the deceased through a series of presentations at cemeteries, and often also involve processions in costume. You can read more about the festival here, and also see some fantastic photographs here. Finally, you can also view a photographic project done by a visual anthropology student at Goldsmiths here.

FRIDAY 9TH NOVEMBER - Giving life to objects

Today I'm off to spend the day with Antony Gormley, the famous sculptor, who studied anthropology at university and says that the subject is often a source of inspiration in his work. You can read an article about his work by anthropologist Hugh Brody here. Today, Tate Britain have organised a studio visit to his place of work lasting from 11.00 until 19.00. It's a little pricey (£65 for students) but hopefully should be well worth it - you can book by phoning 020 7887 8888.

If the can't make that visit, another event worth considering is the two day symposium starting today at the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas in Norwich. Experts in anthropology and art history from all over the world will be discussing the 'embodiment' of objects - answering questions such as 'Once made, what is it that objects do?' and exploring the way different societies give meaning and life to things. Entrance to the symposium is only £10 for students and you can download an application form here. IF you do go, make sure to look around the impressive collection of art and artefacts from across the world in the centre's exhibitions.

SATURDAY 10TH NOVEMBER - Seventies on celluloid

On Saturday I'm going to the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford to look at the new exhibition there, 'Studio Cameroon', which comprises some of the first studio photographs taken in a Cameroonian town in the 1970s. The pictures are meant to show the changing identity and activities of the town's residents in a period of rapid urbanisation. The anthropology of photography is a wide subject of study, and discussions are often about the different way that images can represent 'reality', and how they can be of benefit (or not!) alongside more traditional forms of written research.

SUNDAY 11TH NOVEMBER - Slavery remembered

This Sunday I'm checking out the permanent exhibition that has just opened at London's Museum in Docklands, called London, Sugar and Slavery. Housed in a former sugar house, the collection uses films, objects and installations to uncover the hidden narratives of London's slave trade, and wants to encourage visitors to question the usual understandings of 'freedom' and 'slavery' 9such analytical skills are vital in any anthropologist's repertoire!) There are also a series of events in connection with the exhibition, including talks and film screenings. The Museum normally charges to get in, but if you go this weekend, admission is FREE.

MONDAY 12TH NOVEMBER - Resistance & occupation

Tonight I'm back at Pocketvisions for another film from their politics, violence and resistance season. 'The Resistance and the Test of Time' is about how the memory of events under the wartime occupation has affected subsequent French society and its Government's decisions. As I mentioned last week, resistance is an important topic in anthropology, and many academics have researched how communities attempt to create a different, bottom-up perspective from the ruling ideology of the day. The film starts at 20.00 in the Roxy Bar & Screen and entrance is FREE.

TUESDAY 13TH NOVEMBER - Playing the dutur

On Tuesday I'll be attending the launch of a new film by Goldsmiths University's Professor of Ethnomusicology, John Baily. For three decades he has been researching Afghan music, and Scenes of Afghan Music is about his most recent work in London's Afghan community and their musical communications with their homeland and global diaspora. The anthropology of music is a fascinating sub-topic in anthropology and can be studied at Masters level, for example the MMus in Ethnomusicology at Goldsmiths. The screening is at 17.30 in the Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre at Goldsmiths and is followed by a reception - admission is open to all and is FREE.

WEDNESDAY 14 TH NOVEMBER - Uncovering history

Today I want to do a bit of research into the important branch of anthropology that is forensic anthropology. Last week I saw a short photo-essay on the subject from Guatemala, which underlined how important the work of forensic anthropologists can be. The photos depict scientists investigating human remains from the murder of indigenous people in Guatemala - their findings help influence policy and judicial process as well as providing information for families about their loved ones. You can study forensic anthropology at several places across the UK - for example at Liverpool John Moores University and Dundee University, and it has a very rewarding and interesting career path to follow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Diary for 1st November - 7th November 2007

THURSDAY 1ST NOVEMBER - Mongolian marriage

Today I'll be attending my final FREE educational screening at the London Film Festival. Tuya's Marriage follows the life of a young Mongolian woman who is forced to look for a new husband, and claims to be a romantic comedy with a difference - in that it is set in a community we hardly ever hear about. The film is showing at 10.15 in the Odeon West End 2 followed by a discussion of Chinese cinema, and is of direct interest to students studying anthropology. If you can't make the morning showing, then the film is also on later in the day at 13.30 and 18.30 at the same venue, with tickets priced at £8.50 and £11 respectively, though there should be a student discount available.

FRIDAY 2ND NOVEMBER - Eyes on East London

Today I'm off down to Shoreditch Town Hall in East London for the London leg of Global Eyes - an exhibition of the work of Manchester Visual Anthropology students that I featured on the blog a couple of weeks ago. The event lasts until Saturday evening and incorporates ethnographic work from seven countries ranging from a drop-in centre in Zambia to a food bank in Rotterdam. Admission is FREE and the event is open from 10.00 until 18.00 on Friday and 12.00 until 17.00 on Saturday. Well worth a look.


On Saturday I'm planning to attend an event taking place at SOAS in London called 'Imagining Bali through Film'. A panel of anthropologists will be joining the audience to watch a series of films about Bali, and discuss the different ways Bali has been presented on film, by and to Europeans. It will be a rare opportunity to see some early anthropological films by the likes of Mead & Bateson as well as more contemporary pieces. The event lasts from 10.30 until 16.00 and admission is FREE to all. For more information, you can contact the Film Officer at the Royal Anthropological Institute ( - otherwise just get along to the Khalili Lecture Theatre and check it out.

SUNDAY 4TH NOVEMBER - An important debate

At the moment, there is a pretty heated discussion at large in anthropology circles about the use of anthropologists by the American military. Today I'm going to try and do a bit of background reading on the subject, because it seems important for anyone interested in anthropology to have an opinion on where this is all going. The BBC published a good summary of the debate on its website last week, which essentially centres around whether using anthropologists in places like Iraq - with the aim of better communicating with the local population - is a good or a bad thing. Some say it compromises academic independence, others that it could help bring about peace. For more information, you could also have look at the recent copies of Anthropology Today, which has printed contributions from both sides.

MONDAY 5TH NOVEMBER - Freedom fighters in South London

A new season of films has started at Pocketvisions to keep documentary fans going through the long winter months. Based around violence, politics and resistance they aim to show the voices not otherwise heard and new perspectives on more well-known situations. Tonight I'm going to watch David the Tolhildan, about a Swiss man who joined the Kurdish freedom movement, the PKK. Resistance and ideology are subjects often studied by anthropology students, examining the 'realities' that lie behind all the talk. The screening will be followed by a discussion, and begins at 20.00 at the Roxy Bar & Screen - entrance is FREE.

TUESDAY 6TH NOVEMBER - The space between here and there

Come Tuesday, I'm off to the Tate Britain to have a look at their current exhibition 'Imagine Art After' which includes the work of six different experiences of migration. Using pairs of artists - one who stayed in their home country, and one who came to London - it focuses on the fragile differences between local cultural and social understandings - something anthropology often tries to do in its comparison of different people and places. The work comes from places as far afield as Afghanistan and Serbia, and is a fascinating study of the impact and experience of people's movement. Tate Britain is open daily from 10.00 until 17.50 and entrance is FREE.

WEDNESDAY 7TH NOVEMBER - Going into a trance

On Wednesday I'm heading along to the opening of a new exhibition called 'The Switch'. Held at The Camden Arts Centre, it uses footage of psychic trance mediums to examine the boundary between faith and reality. That boundary, or how people perceive it in relation to their social behaviour, is often discussed by anthropologists, and so it's no surprise to know that the artist involved in this exhibition, Michelle Williams, studied the MA in Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths University. Entrance to The Switch is FREE and the exhibition runs until 11th November. On the final day there is also a talk with the artist at 15.00 if you want to join in the discussion.