Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Diary for 19th July - 25th July 2007

Thursday 19th July - Reading the Signs

On Thursday I want to listen in to Colin McEwan’s short lunchtime talk - ‘Life, land and water in the Andes: Deciphering Nasca Iconography’ down at the British Museum. Colin, Head of the Museum’s American Section, recently appeared on the BBC series ‘ The Museum’ talking about his work and this should be a chance to learn more about his attempts to crack the ‘silent language’ of this South American people. The Nasca Lines are in Peru, and comprise a series of enormous etchings in the ground - mainly of animals - that can only truly be seen from the air and their meaning has been the subject for academic speculation for many years. The talk is in Room 24, begins at 13.00 and entrance is FREE.

Friday 20th July - Sightseeing in

Friday is the second day of the ‘Things that move: The material worlds of tourism and travel’ conference at the Leeds Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change. Anthropologists will be among the assembled panel of experts speaking at the conference, and will be discussing how everyday objects are given meaning and gain emotional connections when they travel, or come into contact with a tourist. The organisers have decided to hold the conference because tourism is such a rapidly expanding industry and it is a good example of a subject that is at the cutting edge of anthropology. You can read more about the theory of tourism on the Centre's weblog here. For more information on attending the conference itself, which is primarily for academics, you can email

Saturday 21st July – Living on the Edge

Today I’m heading down to the awe-inspiring Eden Project in Cornwall for a look at their summer exhibition, Towards the Edge. It forms part of a major new building at the Eden Project aiming to document how people and civilisations have reacted to climate change in the past, and what we can learn from these experiences in the present day. There are a broad range of individuals and communities featured from across the world, including a collaboration with Survival International about the Kalahari Bushmen and the Enawene Nawe of the Brazilian rainforest, as examples of tribal peoples living in places with limited resources. There is also an UN-Habitat section that showcases photographs of women entrepreneurs from the slums from Mumbai, who will also be coming to Eden in August to give a workshop on how they make their handicrafts. You can even create your own artistic impression of an ‘Earthling’ at another interactive unit. Entrance to Eden is £14, or £7 for students and Towards the Edge is running all summer.

Sunday 22nd July – Get on down to Kpanlogo

On Sunday, there’s a dance event at the Horniman Musuem in South London that sounds tempting for all budding dancing anthropologists out there. As part of the Museum’s summer season of events and activities, the Ghanaian Dance Intensive Study Day has been organised to celebrate 50 years of Ghanaian independence. Starting at 11.00 in the Education Centre you can learn Kpanlogo – traditional drum and dance from the Ga Nation - for only £6. And if you’re not just a beginner (in any form of dance), in the afternoon there’s a chance to have a go at the spiritual Sohu dance, created to energise and guide a mythical lost & exhausted huntsman. The second session starts at 13.30 – same place, same price. To book either event, contact Nzinga Dance on 020 8314 5328, e-mail or post to PO Box 36992, London SE6 4WH.

Monday 23rd July –Death and radicalism at Pocketvisions

Tonight is the latest in the summer series of documentaries from Pocketvisions, when Starbuck Holger Meins will be screened. The film is a biography of Holger, a young anti-Vietnam activist and campaigner against big business, who died following a hunger strike in 1974. Directed by a friend of his, it attempts to understand how and why Holger Meins was driven to become so ‘radical’. The film is showing, as usual, at 20.00 in the Roxy Bar & Screen in Borough, and entrance is FREE.

Tuesday 24th July – The Proms Uzbekistan-style

I’m back down to the Horniman tonight to enjoy a spot of traditional music from Uzbekistan, which is being put on in the gardens of the Museum. It starts at 19.30 in the bandstand and entrance is free. To whet your appetite, you can read more information about the music of Uzbekistan here. I wonder if my newly-acquired Kpanlogo dancing skills will be useful…

Wednesday 25th July – Another Documentary Festival!

The annual Britdoc film festival starts today, hosted by Keble College, part of Oxford University. It runs for 3 days and its probably out of the price range of anyone not getting paid to be there! However, the good news is that every evening there are public screenings which you are free just to pitch up and attend. Films showing on tonight have not yet been announced, so keep checking the schedules, but anthropologically-inspired ’37 Uses for a Dead Sheep’ is showing on Thursday at 20.15. To find out more about the event as a whole and the people involved, you can check here.

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