Filmmaking for Fieldwork
Andy Lawrence (University of Manchester)
Paper short abstract:
This paper will address the need for non-literary forms of representation in anthropology and develop some ideas about how we may assess the quality of work that responds to such a need.
Paper long abstract:
I am a practice-based teacher working at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, UK. I teach ethnographic documentary filmmaking practice to MA, MPhil and PhD students and to more established researchers, across the Humanities, on an intensive two-week international summer school. As a filmmaker, I make documentary films distributed by publishers of academic related films and other work by commission. This paper will address the need for non-literary forms of representation in anthropology and develop some ideas about how we may assess the quality of work that responds to such a need. I hope to show how VA methods can open up new avenues of inquiry that may lead to a greater understanding of the experience of our subjects and thus also contribute to a theoretical anthropology. Some have argued that filmmaking is a non-academic pursuit that is best conducted outside of the University, I will contest this by examining why we use a non-literary approach and suggest ways to evaluate both student and research academic contributions to this burgeoning area of social research. Key to this argument is an evaluation of the aspects of anthropological enquiry that are well addressed by a VA approach and a look at how we teach our students to approach these areas. I am not arguing against written anthropology but for the variety of media available to us in 2013 to be used in a fluid and symbiotic way to produce interesting, appropriate and relevant ethnography.Download the full paper
Establishing academic standards of evaluation for non-literary forms of representation in anthropology