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This joint FAN and VANEASA panel will bring together scholars interested in ethnographic film methods engaging with research on futures and future-making. We invite participants to show ethnographic film clips of their own and others' as part of their papers, to spark critical discussion.
Futures has become a central topic in anthropological research, sparking questions related to aspirations (Appadurai 2013), sustainability, risk, uncertainty and hope (Cook 2018). Future-making with the aim to improve one's life is an important asset in the study of migration, mobility and the anthropology of labour (Pine 2014). Media anthropologists approach new technologies including smart futures and AI. Environmental anthropologists study transformations associated with climate change and other environmental threats. Ethnographic film methods offer opportunities to conduct research through sensory and co-creative involvement with the participants. They can provide unique insights on how individual strategies are forged to meet futures through imagination, planning and action. We invite the panel participants to present their own and others' film clips as part of their papers to open up for a cinematic bartering and a critical debate on film and future-making in anthropology. How should we film futures and future-making practices? Which futures might we evoke through our ethnographic practices? Which ethical considerations do we have to make? How should we interact with participants and audiences when filming aspirations, sustainability, risk, uncertainty and hope? The combined papers and screenings will inspire discussions on critical aspects surrounding the study of futures and future-making in anthropology. The conceptual toolbox has to be scrutinised. Pasts and presents are intrinsically linked with futures and impossible to deal with separately. Concepts surrounding time are often ethnocentric and based on Western linear perceptions of time. Different approaches pose both challenges and possibilities for future collaborations between distinct disciplines.