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Keynote: Design Anthropological Filmmaking (Sarah Pink) 
Sarah Pink (Monash University)
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Judith Aston (University of the West of England)
Start time:
7 March, 2023 at
Time zone: Europe/London
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

Design anthropological filmmaking complicates the predictive future imaginaries that dominate industry and policy visions, by making visible possible everyday futures. In this talk I argue for new filmmaking practices which by preempting the preclosure of futures in an uncertain world can create new, ethical and responsible visions of life in uncertain futures.

Long Abstract:

There is a mounting ethical onus on anthropological filmmakers to go further in their engagements with futures; to develop interventional and accessible films which, beyond the film festival circuit and the lecture theatre, can reach government and industry organisations with critical and convincing future visions.

Design anthropological filmmaking advances this agenda. It complicates the quantified and predictive future imaginaries that dominate industry and policy visions, by making visible possible everyday futures. In this talk I present design anthropological filmmaking as a scholarly and interventional practice. Rather than merely critiquing dominant narratives, or simply aiming to inform better design, it seeks to pre-empt these limited modes of engagement by generating alternative narratives, which can be at once provocative and optimistic and chart ways to hopeful and trusted futures. In doing so I will draw on my recent filmmaking practice investigating possible everyday futures with emerging technologies with seniors, to envision everyday energy futures and air futures, and in revisioning pathways to net zero carbon emissions.

I call on all anthropological filmmakers to interrogate your own practice and consider how anthropological film as a collective project might better address, intervene and collaborate with other stakeholders in the crucial challenges that we face as we stand at the edge of the future.

Sarah Pink (PhD, FASSA) is a design and futures anthropologist and documentary filmmaker. She is currently Professor and Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab at Monash University. She originally trained in ethnographic filmmaking in the second cohort of the MA Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology students at Manchester University in 1989-90. In the last 30 years she has become internationally known for her methodological work with visual and digital technologies and more recently she has directed three new design anthropological documentaries: Laundry Lives (2015, with Nadia Astari), Smart Homes for Seniors (2021) and Digital Energy Futures (2022). Sarah is currently working on two new film projects, about the future or air, and transition to net zero carbon emissions respectively. Her most recent books include: Emerging Technologies / Life at the Edge of the Future (2023), Anthropology of Futures and Technologies (2023), Energy Futures (2022), Everyday Automation (2022) and Design Ethnography (2022).

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