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Carving fertile futures in the French periphery
Mariana Rios Sandoval
Paper short abstract:
Through the participatory making of a film, a group of neighbours, anthropologist included, tell the story of how a suburban town of industrial past has decided to turn a brownfield into a haven for many species, including humans.
Paper long abstract:
How can we create conditions to sustain life in heavily polluted places? This is the question asked by the inhabitants of a small town of the French banlieue that has decided to turn a brownfield into a haven for plants, animals, humans and hope. Through the participatory making of a film, a heterogeneous group of neighbours, including myself, piece together a story of the brownfield's repurposing. Amidst concrete and ring roads, and the precarity of life in the poorest department of continental France, this piece of land emerges as a space torn between its industrial past and its uncertain future, but also as a space of possibility, for those on both sides of the camera. By making this film we learn along the way: about our city, the audiovisual language, and the power of collective storytelling. The participatory filming process is fertile ground. Reflections about nature and society and the fiction of their separation are contagious, and happen as well on both sides of the camera. Other divides are unsettled too: those between disciplines, expert and lay knowledge, artists and non-artists, the researcher and the ones being researched, participant observation and co-creation. By the time I give this presentation the making of this film will still be ongoing. I would like to use this opportunity to share bits of our film and our process, with its challenges and breakthroughs, with the aim of cross-pollinating conversations between different ends of the research endeavor, thus unsettling yet another divide.
Collaborative Futures in Practice: Methods and pedagogies for imagining and doing anthropology together [PechaKucha]