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.

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