Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Diary for 12th July to 18th July 2007

THURSDAY 12TH JULY - Last chance to go to Parliament

Today is your final opportunity to apply to attend anthropologist Dr Scarlett Epstein's film screening at Portcullis House that I mentioned last week. Back to the Village is a thought-provoking look at the dangerous emphasis in parts of India on economic growth at all costs - and what that means for the rural poor who migrate to the cities in search of financial improvement. There's a discussion afterwards and to enquire about attending, you need to email Dr Epstein at scarlett@epstein.net before the end of today,detailing your interest in the event, which starts at 17.00pm on 16th July.

FRIDAY 13TH JULY - A watery home

First up today, I'm going to watch Indian director Deepa Mehta's latest 'elemental' film, Water. It tells the story of a 7-year old girl who is widowed and therefore abandoned, according to tradition, at a prison-like hostel for other women who are no longer wanted by mainstream society. The film has caused controversy in India, when the first shoot of the film was attacked by Hindu fundamentalists, for its challenging look at this custom and the injustice it inflicts upon many young women. You can watch a trailer of the film online here, and it is showing in London at the Odeon Panton Street and also at the Phoenix Picturehouse in Oxford and the Harbour Lights Picturehouse in Southampton.

Then tonight there's another fascinating looking film showing at the British Museum as part of their Caribbean Film Season. No Place Like Home is the fictional account of a New Yorker who travels for work to Jamaica and the way in which she finds her life affected by the cultural difference she finds there. The film will be introduced by the late director's daughter, Justine Henzell, and touches on issues of globalisation, political corruption and interracial relationships. It is showing at 18.30 in the Stevenson Theatre and entry costs only £3.

SATURDAY 14TH JULY - Thawing out the Cold War

On Saturday I'm heading up to the Baltic in Gateshead, Newcastle again for its summer exhibition of the work of Serhiy Bratkov, the Ukrainian photographer. For the last twenty years, his work has looked to capture people caught in the transition generation between the old Soviet Union and the opening up of Eastern Europe to western-style market economies. He aims to offer many perspectives on the same subject and, similar to an anthropologist, is never happy with a single point of view. His work is showing until 2nd September and entrance to the Baltic is FREE.

SUNDAY 15TH JULY - Art on the Curry Mile

On Sunday, I'm heading over to an exhibition of sculptures at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester that I've wanted to check out for a while. Subodh Gupta has used everyday objects used by South Asian communities to create monuments reflective at once of his Indian homeland but also the famous curry mile.

It is part of the Shisha project, which aims to overcome exoticising stereotypes of Asian artists that are not true to the realities of the Asian diaspora in Britain today. Gupta's work is accompanied by a complementary photographic exhibition at the Rusholme Job Centre by Rashid Rana that celebrates local heroes and the diversity of the local area. The Whitworth is open from 14.00 until 17.00 on Sundays and entrance is FREE. Then it's time for a Chicken Jalfrezi methinks...

MONDAY 16TH JULY - How do you push yours?

A chance to watch some anthropology-of-sorts in action today. Current TV is a new factual film channel set up by Al Gore to try and foster more diverse voices on television. They recently had a launch contest and one of the runners-up was 'Pushit', a film that takes an in-depth look at the gender differences in how the residents of Cambridge push their bikes around. It features some intrepid fieldwork by the film-maker, as well as insightful analysis from a lecturer in social anthropology at Cambridge university, Dr Matei Candea. The film will be on Current's satellite channel in a few weeks time, but you can still watch it on the web at the moment. If you have any ideas for a mini-ethnography film why not try uploading your own version and spread the word about the joys of anthropology!

TUESDAY 17TH JULY - Mixing it up musically

On Tuesday I'm hoping to attend one of the concerts being put on at the Southbank Centre as part of the World London season. It is a series of collaborative music events showcasing the cultural and linguistic diversity of the capital. Tonight sees an Irish folk band, Kila, link up with Oki, from North Japan's folk scene, and they will be performing songs in a mixture of Irish, Japanese and English. The event starts at 19.45, costs £15 (50% off for students) and you can book online here.

WEDNESDAY 18TH JULY - Friendship in the Amazon

Today I'm going to listen again to Radio 4's Thinking Allowed from last week which featured Peruvian anthropologist Fernando Granero. He was talking about his new study of friendship amongst the Yanesha people from the Amazonas region in Peru. Interestingly, Dr Granero explains how friendship amongst the Yanesha is much more similar to western relationships that anthropologists have previously thought. He argues that friendships are not just formed through formal social situations such as ritual - that anthropologists frequently emphasise - but also in everyday, human situations that are often passed over.

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