Slow Praxis, Film-making and Academe : lessons and legacies from "Cottonopolis".
Cathy Greenhalgh (Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores reflexivity and constraint in making an ethnographic essay / documentary feature film within the higher education practice-as-research environment, developing praxis by drawing on the politics of resistance and slowing down.
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores reflexivity and constraint in ethnographic documentary film-making within the higher education practice-as-research environment, developing praxis by drawing on the politics of resistance and slowing down. Drawing on anthropology (de Certeau, 1984), sociology (Giroux, 2016; de Sousa Santos, 2016); film philosophy (Bozak, 2012); and feminism (Basu et al, For Slow Scholarship: A Feminist Politics of Resistance through Collective Action in the Neoliberal University, 2015); I consider practices which counter overriding methods and infiltrating beliefs in the academy and industry which currently undermine collegiality and research sharing. The impetus to collaboration, diversity, mindfulness, sustainability and well-being at work sought by employability and marketing initiatives are driven by management, rather than educational objectives, and may create stress and potential paralysis. Slowing down can be productive to learning, teaching and research activity, but is a reflexive art that requires attention, choice, consciousness, craft, energy, stealth, rhythm, tactics, vigilance etc. It requires time, space and adaptability (especially if funding is slim); a polytheistic, rather than dominant singular subject approach and synthesis of ideas, discovery and experiment. The paper analyses production conditions for the author's ethnographic documentary essay feature film Cottonopolis (2018), made whilst working in academia, and the lessons and legacies it engages with. Made over several years; reflexive flow and interruption is contrasted with temporal narratives of historical Manchester, contemporary Indian handloom production, 'business instrumental logic' in higher education (Giroux, 2016), cotton industry entrepreneurial capitalism, and the fieldwork experience.
Creative Art/Anthropology Praxis as Revelation and Resistance