(The supervision courses are a continuation of the courses that prepared students for their final media projects. Students should by now have returned from fieldwork and discuss their findings with their supervisors and the class. Supervision courses in this final semester thus closely accompany the analysis of the fieldwork findings and the adequate means of their representation.)
Also in visual anthropology, writing is a crucial part of the production and presentation of scientific knowledge. Drawing on your projects and the problems you face in research and writing, we discuss different ways to turn ethnography into a text and thereby also a theory: a way to see something.
Aesthetics and Ethics of (Re-)representing Fieldwork (Dr. Mark Curran)
In the context of your ongoing practice-led MA theses, this course will present multi-modal field research framing a discussion addressing research methodology informed by visual ethnography and its central relationship in the construction of the re-narration and re-versioning of that research. This can include public exhibition/installation, publication and/or web-based dissemination. While outlining and addressing the theoretical rationale regarding such possible research formulations, the course is further grounded by presentations from members of the group.
This course targets adequate (re-)presentation of your findings during field research and the writing-up of your dissertation. We will look at various approaches of giving shape to your final media project, trying out different ways of arranging image/sound/drawing/objects and accompanying text in a way that best fits your ethnographic material. Text is hereby not only as a complementary element that helps “explaining” or “contextualizing” the art work, but a crucial and integral component that helps thinking through and giving shape to the emergent pieces.
We will pursue this approach by focusing on the programming language. It is as invisible as it is crucial in all the process of writing and conceiving of a multimedia production. We all have been trained to express and publish our research by demonstrating our point of view in accordance with the surrounding scientific background and with appropriate examples from our respective fields. The conceptual abstraction, at the core of the demonstration process, the distance from our subject, is necessary in order to convey a reasoning recognized as such by the scientific sphere. Each step is cautiously taken to convince the reader to pursue the progression and the deployment of concepts along the logical path.
From a selection of film archives and of projects conceived with a creative approach we will further discuss the consequences and implications of such a methodology.
The second part of the workshop is an introduction to the methodology and practice of data analysis. Special attention will be paid to methodological considerations as they pertain to the practice of visual anthropology.
Please note: As in our last meeting, the workshop requires advance preparation in order to make the most of the short time we have together. You will need to dedicate considerable amounts of time in preparing adequately for the two meetings, and you should plan your time accordingly. All readings and assignments need to be completed.
Dr Andy Lawrence (Filmmaker in residence and lecturer in visual anthropology at The Granada Centre, University of Manchester, UK) will use examples from his own documentary film work (see www.allritesreversed.co.uk ) to lead a practical discussion in how to construct film narratives around research ideas. Of central importance to this discussion will be a consideration of how filmmakers might use the material that they have to evoke the experience of others in order to represent them in a film and to generate a new and related experience for an audience of the work. He will discuss
how such empirical art can extend the boundaries of social science research beyond the written and conceptual.
Any anthropological research implies the difficulty that any researcher is influenced by her or his own emotions, fears, principles, pre-conceptions, ideologies and so on. In this workshop we will collectively try to identify and question the blind spots in our own research practice and analyse how we can introduce a self-reflexive perspective in our writing. Georges Devereux' famous „ From Anxiety to Method in the Behavioral Sciences“ (1967) analysed in detail the complexity of our own hindering in any kind of researches, not only but specifically in social behaviour. The last applies to any visual anthropological context as well. Blind spots being per definition hidden to ourself, they require a specific analytical attention to overcome them, allowing us to deepen the subjects of our interest in a differentiated way and express it beyond our own limits. Blind sports are specifically tricky when we make a study in our own culture where we feel quite confident. In addition, besides the advantages of working in one's own culture, we may more easily miss a helpful distance allowing to question what may appear so evident for each participant to this culture, what ever it is.The seminar intends to collect and analyse our own experiences, adding some theoretical inputs to support the work of the participants.
During regular meetings, we will follow your progressions in editing your graduation projects and discuss your rough cuts in class. We want to establish a forum in which the whole class serves as a test audience and in which you can learn from your fellow students’ input and opinions.