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Accepted Paper:

‘‘Not only the product but also the people’’: How can immersive art link the voices of upstream and downstream actors of the artisanal gold supply chain?  
Kamundala Byemba (University of Zurich)

Paper short abstract:

This paper emphasizes the value of immersive art in giving raw material producers and consumers a voice about the main benefits and challenges of artisanal gold labour. Zooming into the global gold supply chain framework, this paper uses a cutting-edge multidisciplinary approach.

Paper long abstract:

We are living in the digital age, an age when our lives are becoming more and more dependent on devices like (laptop) computers, cameras, and smartphones to lead our technological lives. These devices cannot function without rare minerals. While the quality, price, and origin of these rare minerals are given attention, less attention is paid to those who produce them, particularly artisanal miners. Artisanal miners, who are seen as the most vulnerable actors in the global gold supply chain, lack the means to communicate their concerns and gain a voice in this buyer-driven global value chain. This paper combines data gathered in Kamituga through ethnographic filmmaking and 3D scans of gold shafts that helped in the creation of an immersive art space. Moreover, the immersive art pushed the global audience to think concretely about more sustainable and transparent gold value chains. Specifically, it offered participants from the downstream of the gold supply chain the chance to not only experience the living and working conditions upstream of the gold chain but also to leave their voices and perspectives. In this sense, the paper concludes by advocating for a rethinking of ongoing initiatives that aim to formalize the artisanal gold supply chain. It argues that the improvement of working conditions of artisanal miners should be considered as part of the key component of the artisanal gold formalization process in the Eastern DR Congo. It does this by reflecting on the views of both upstream and downstream actors as well as local realities.

Panel Anth63
Visualizing mining worlds, envisioning mining futures [CRG- Resource Extraction in Africa]
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -