Thursday, February 21, 2008

Diary for 21st February to 27th February 2008

THURSDAY 21ST FEBRUARY - Stories from the streets

This afternoon I'm back down at Pocketvisions at the British Museum for the screening of 'Flowers don't grow here anymore' which tells the stories of a few of the one million children that live on the streets of Kiev, Ukraine. The film uses their experiences to examine the transformation from communism to capitalism in the country after the fall of the Soviet Union. Filmed over 4 months, it is a good example of a film-maker taking time to form a relationship with the contributors, and presenting a society from a bottom-up perspective. The director waited a long time before filming anything, and in that sense her approach borrowed from anthropology. The film is followed by a Q&A and you can view a trailer of the film here. It begins at 16.00 in the Stevenson Theatre and entrance is FREE.

FRIDAY 22ND FEBRUARY - Women on screen

On Friday I'm going along to another film showing, this time part of a new mini festival - 'Women's Cinema from Tangiers to Tehran', which runs until 2nd March. This evening Sama - The Trace, tells the story of a young Tunisian woman's attempts to escape the male-dominated society that she has been brought up in, despite her love for the country and her culture. The film begins at 18.15 at the Cine Lumiere, or it is showing again at the Cambridge Picturehouse on 1st March at 14.30. The festival is showing a mixture of fictional films and documentaries in London and Cambridge, all exploring the role and representation of women from Morocco to Iran - you can see the full programme here.

SATURDAY 23RD FEBRUARY - Urban anthropology

Today I'm going to have a look at at a magazine that's relatively new to the (online) shelves - it's called Stimulus Respond, and aims to look at everyday life from a fresh, unusual perspective. Anthropology has always been central to the magazine's ethos, and indeed it's strapline is "for the urban anthropologist". It contains written and photographic features on a different theme each issue, normally really broad topics such as 'man/woman' or 'animals', but approached in lots of interesting, very specific ways. The magazine is published online every two months, and occasionally in the shops - all the back issues are viewable on the website.

SUNDAY 24TH FEBRUARY - Getting down on the dance floor

Something completely random today - I'm planning to make myself feel a bit better about my own dancefloor moves by watching the first ever 'Dance your PhD' contest which was recently held in Vienna. The link to anthropology is that one of the judges was none other than an Austrian anthropologist and expert in the origins of dance, whilst the winning dance, which you can view online here, was about the fieldwork of an Oxford-based archaeologist and was based around the capture of an antelope in hunter-gatherer society. If the displays of academic action get you inspired, then you might be pleased to know you can study for an MA in Dance Anthropology at the University of Roehampton, or try reading an introductory text on the subject, 'Anthropology of Dance'.

MONDAY 25TH FEBRUARY - Uniting against boredom

On Monday I'm down at the Bath Literature Festival for a morning talk and workshop involving Jenna Bailey, author of 'Can Any Mother Help Me?', a book based on an archive of letters written by women from the Cooperative Correspondence Club. The club began in 1935 when a young woman wrote to a popular magazine about her boredom and loneliness and received hundreds of replies - these written relationships endured for several decades, so the event and book should be an interesting insight into women's everyday experiences of society. You can book online here. Interestingly, the book was published in collaboration with Massobs, the 'everyday anthropology' organisation that I have mentioned before on the blog.

- Getting the look

This Tuesday I'm planning to check out a funky little website run by an anthropology PhD student in London, Philomena Keet. Her research examines street fashion in Tokyo, and she has just published a book on the subject which is informed by some of her anthropological thinkings - 'The Tokyo Look Book'. Also on the website is a blog about her research and related events - sometimes there are late notice seminars she will be talking at for those of you who are interested in the subject. Another interview with Philomena is available online here.

WEDNESDAY 27TH FEBRUARY - The buildings of Kazakhstan

On Wednesday I'll be heading down to SOAS in London for a talk being given by Catherine Alexander, an anthropologist based at Goldsmiths University. Dr Alexander's work generally focuses on the relationship between citizens and the state, and today she will be speaking on the 'Changing Urban aesthetics in Almaty, Kazakhstan'. Kazakhstan is particularly interesting from this perspective, because of the enormous changes to its economy since the end of the Soviet Union. Be aware that the talk may not be suitable for absolute newcomers to anthropology, and you should email Dr. Adam Chau beforehand on if you wish to attend.

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