Accepted Paper:

The new generation of visual anthropologists  

Authors:

Elhum Shakerifar (Goldsmiths)
Ed Owles

Paper short abstract:

Our paper will focus on the ‘new generation' of visual anthropologists and the methods we need to develop in order to engage young people in anthropology's concerns. How does this new media-savvy but media saturated generation deal with the relationship between responsibility and representation?

Paper long abstract:

In our paper we will focus on the 'new generation' of visual anthropologists and the methods we need to develop in order to engage young people in anthropology's concerns.

We will also explore the empowerment offered by digital media to this generation, as well as its proliferation (through the internet for instance) and how this can impact upon the production of visual anthropology.

Participatory methods have continued to develop steadily since the Kayapo started employing their cameras as political tools - today, cameras are ubiquitous and lie in the hands of an already media-savvy group. How does this impact upon a new generation of filmmakers' assumptions? And what is the understanding amongst young people of auto-ethnography in an urban environment?

Indeed, ours is also a media saturated generation where the relationship between responsibility and representation is increasingly fractured, with a concomitant widespread failure to grasp that visual media is a representation of reality, rather than reality itself.

We will use our recent 'South East Ethnography' project, a six week-long series of theoretical and practical visual anthropology workshops (conducted with 15-19 year olds from Greenwich Community College, in association with the Royal Anthropological Institute) to explore these issues, including a screening of the films to motivate discussion.

Finally, we will discuss the effects and outcomes of the project on the community they were centred around, and how the relationship between the participants, filmmakers and audience conspired around the films to create an enduring expression of cultural collision.

Panel W038
Twenty years of teaching visual anthropology: where are we and how did we get there?