Film/video presentations 
Peter Burns (University of Bedfordshire)
Henry Thomas Room
Start time:
11 April, 2007 at 18:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

The overall purpose of this panel is to provide a platform for the critical discussion of moving images as anthropological data. We are looking for work rooted in ethnographic methods and cultural representation.

Long Abstract

In anthropology, critiques of ethnography and fieldwork have raised fundamental questions about how events, experiences, and lives are represented. The panel hopes to explore ways in which ‘hosts’ ‘guests’ and tourism enterprise are represented in visual media, how visual media can be used in tourism research, and some of the practical, theoretical, and ethical questions raised by these activities. We invite scholars to propose papers and presentations for the symposium, which may include the use of film, video, artwork, and still photography.

Submissions are invited that address the following or related topics:

1. The visual representation of tourists and host communities in art, cinema, still photography, television, journalism and advertising, historically and in the present;

2. Uses of film, video, and still photography in tourism/ tourist studies social research, historically and in the present;

3. Studies of the uses of visual media in advocacy on behalf of host groups marginalized or excluded by tourism development.

Accepted papers:


Pocket Visions

Paper short abstract:

A short collection of documentary films about tourism by Joram ten Brink (Univ. of Westminster) 'Trans-Siberian Express'; Adam C. Snow (Univ. of Westminster) 'Scouting Quartzsite Arizona'; and Ruth Somalo (Horns&Tails Productions) 'When I travel: Attempting an international mobility biography'.

Paper long abstract:

Joram ten Brink (Univ. of Westminster)

Trans-Siberian Express

(2006, 18mins.)

This film about a journey between Moscow and Beijing is an experimental essay mirroring the journey's changes through space and time. Memory, real time and dreams all find their own space during a train journey. The film also includes scenes from the places the train was travelling through and the cities of Moscow, Novosibirsk, Akademgorodok and Beijing. The main 'themes' are city and the countryside; the changing nature of economics, politics and history; the medium of film itself as a reflection of our experiences as tourists and travellers. The film features the Australian performance artist Alan Schacher and the electronic sound score is produced by the band BARBED.

Adam Christopher Snow (Univ. of Westminster)

Scouting Quartzsite Arizona

(2007, 12mins)

This film is an essay about methods and methodology in visual anthropology as well as in the ethnographic process. Essentially it is about failed attempts and how one should not go about mapping the field too tightly. Autobiographically, it explores the issue of the subject as both tourist and potential ethnographic filmmaker.

Ruth Somalo (Horns&Tails Productions)

When I travel: Attempting an international mobility biography

(2007, approx. 10mins)

The burgeoning interest in matters of reflexivity has grown out of a critique of the detached and distant writings which resulted from what has been termed the 'disembodied intellect'. Reflexivity can be regarded as the act of making oneself the object of one's own observation, in an attempt to bring to the fore the assumptions embedded in our perspectives and descriptions of the world. This film is a biographical approach to the people, places and processes I met on recent trips. Some of the issues explored are: Motivation, travelling as a part of life, as a part of my identity; Tourism as a journey; Am I a traveller or a tourist? Social impacts, the tensions between my impact on the places I visit and their impact on me; Contact with locals, learning and hospitality.


Lia Philcox (Goldsmiths College, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

An audio-visual critique of the visual representation of anthropological knowledge, its status as objective expertise, and the context of its viewing in museums and on film.

Paper long abstract:

Made for the MA Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths. Cut from ethnographic films, Mine Eyes demonstrates how documentary filmmakers subjectively shape representations of the Other, how the camera's presence provokes performance and alters the field of study. Thus the film raises questions of authenticity and truth, as well as offering glimpses of a multitude of cultures. The film was originally part of an interactive installation.