Symposium 2012 - Saturday, May 12th to Tuesday, May 15th
at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen
Abstracts and Biographies
From Methodological Asceticism to Methodological Ecstasis - The Participatory Cinema of David and Judith MacDougall
By Prof. Dr. Andreas Ackermann - Keynote speaker
My paper discusses the MacDougalls’ approach to ethnographic documentary within the conceptual framework of methodological asceticism and ecstasis. It is
going to show that their exploration of the visual has made an important contribution not only to visual anthropology in particular, but to an adequate
anthropological understanding of culture in general. In an article from 1975, David MacDougall called for a “participatory cinema” that would go Beyond
Observational Cinema. His main point of critique regarding the then prevailing observational approach was its “methodological asceticism”, limiting itself to
that which supposedly occurs naturally and spontaneously in front of the camera. For MacDougall, this positivistic approach leads not only to the exclusion
of the filmmaker from the world of his subjects, but also excludes the subjects from the world of the film. As a result, observational cinema becomes a form,
in which the observer and the observed exist in separate worlds, producing films that are monologues. MacDougall instead opts for a documentary form that is
able to produce dialogues or address conflicting views of reality, dealing with the situation of a representative of one culture holding a camera
encountering another. Although MacDougall has since moved from a participatory to an intertextual cinema, his films more than ever bear witness to the event
of the film, reveal the role of the filmmaker and bring the viewer into the social experience of his subjects. Thus, film can be more than just an aesthetic
or scientific performance: it can become the arena of an inquiry.
Johannes Fabian has made a similar critique with regard to anthropological writing. With “Time and the other” (1983) he argued that anthropology has been
constructing its object by negating its coeval existence, while in “Out of our minds” (2000) he criticized the institutionalized elimination of the
ethnographer’s bodily presence – a move that he terms an “ascetic withdrawal” from the world of sensory experience. Fabian contrasts this with the “ecstatic”
or ecstasis, referring to an approach that transcends the rationalized frames of positivistic science and is interested in sensory dimensions of human
experience – for example music, dance, art, material culture – that mediate encounters and make it possible for the participants to transcend their
psychological and social boundaries.
From this perspective it is interesting to note that with his latest filming and writing David MacDougall similarly tries to revaluate the status of
experience by focusing on the “aesthetics of the social”. His concept of social aesthetics refers to the sensory and aesthetic environment – the tempo of
life, the dominant patterns of color, texture, movement, and behavior – characteristics that make the world familiar or strange. Social aesthetics is
therefore less concerned with artistic expression and the exercise of taste than with the more mundane and pervasive forms of sensory patterning to be found
in society, and the ways in which human beings experience and respond to them. The MacDougall’s visual inquiry into the aesthetic of the social thus leads to
new forms of participation – and thus understanding – for the filmmaker, his or her subjects, and the audience.
Andreas Ackermann is Professor for Cultural Anthropology at the University of Koblenz-Landau. His research focuses on identity and migration, particularly
diaspora and multiculturalism, as well as visual anthropology. His main regions of research are Germany, the Kurdish areas of the Middle East and Singapore.
Currently he is preparing a project on social aesthetics, studying the physical manifestation of actions and objects of largely internalized social
orders. His publications in English include:
„Cultural Hybridity – between Metaphor and Empiricism“. In: Stockhammer, Philipp (ed.), 2011: Conceptualizing Cultural Hybridization: A Transdisciplinary
Approach. (Transcultural Research. Heidelberg Studies on Asia and Europe in a Global Context) Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer, 5-25.
„Travelling Cultures? On the Concept of Diaspora in Cultural Studies, Illustrated on the Example of the Yezidis“. In: Karentzos, Alexandra / Kittner,
Alma-Elisa / Reuter, Julia (Hg.), 2010: Topologies of Travel. Trier: Universitätsbibliothek, 218-228.
„Diaspora, Cyberspace and Yezidism: The Use of the Internet Among Yezidis in Germany”. In: Journal of Kurdish Studies 6, 2008: 54-83.
”The Social Engineering of Culture and Religion in Singapore.” In: Diskus, the On-line Journal of International Religious Studies, Vol. 5, 1999: Special
Issue ”Multiculturalism and the Recognition of Religion”.
Ethnic Identity by Design or by Default? A Comparative Study of Multiculturalism in Singapore and Frankfurt am Main. Frankfurt am Main: IKO Verlag für
Interkulturelle Kommunikation, 1997.
Jean Rouch, 'ciné-trance' and 'anthropologiepartagée' (Shared Anthropology)
By Prof. Dr. Dirk J. Njiland - Keynote speaker
Jean Rouch developed during the practice of ethnographic filming several working methods. Mostly later he labeled these concepts, or took over labels
invented by others. An orienting study seems to indicate that these respectively are: "participant camera" (practice 1949-1957-/article 1968; 1962 De
Heusch), "analyse and synthese" (1949-1951-/1968), "feedback" (1953-/1968), "analyse à posteriori" (1953-/1968), "sharing anthropology" (1953-/1975),
"audiovisual countergift" (1953-/1975), "cine-pleasure" (1946-1953-/1981), "psycho- or sociodrame" (1957-1959-/1968; Moreno 1922, De Heusch 1962), "film de
fiction" (1953-/1980), "filmed autobiography" (1957-/1980), "direct cinema" (1961-/1975; Drew and Leacock 1960?), "cine-truth" (1961-/1971; in relation with
cinémavérité, see also Morin and Vertov), "walking camera" (1961-1971-/1962; plan séquence, sequence shot, editing-in-the-camera, see also Michel Brault),
and "cine-trance" (1971/1973).
With this frame of reference, and thus a historical approach, we will look how Jean Rouch tried to bridge the gap between people with another culture and
himself. And also how he, with the resulting films and texts, bridged gaps between the public and the way of life of these people. One of Rouch's specific
forms of participation as a filmmaker was his 'ciné-trance' which one can see splendidly in his film "TourouetBitti: les tambours d'avant" (1971, 12 min.)
and is described clearly by him in an article. Important is also Rouch's notion about 'anthropologiepartagée' (shared anthropologie). In 1953, he projected
his film 'Bataillesur le grand fleuve' (1952, 33 min.) to the Sorko, the subjects of the film. It became clear to him that the Sorko could understand his
vision (in images but also sounds) on their activities, and could reflect and correct on it. With a written text such feedback is impossible.
Mostly Rouch participated and collaborated with his subjects, giving them sometimes real initiative, but didn't exchange his camera with them. However, when
he became director in 1961 of the Institut de Recherche en Sciences Humaines in Niamey, he started there a cinematographic centre where also Africans had
opportunities to make films (see later VARAN).
Finally, we will try to contextualiseRouch, also with Griaule and Claudine de France. Especially De France has worked out an outstanding analysis of
activities and ethnographic filmmaking in space and time.
Dirk Njiland was born in 1938, The Hague, The Netherlands. Studied Cultural Anthropology and Film at the National University of Utrecht (1961-1967).
Followed in 1967/68 one year of special training in Ethnographic Film Making in Paris, École des HautesÉtudes, Ve Section, under the supervision of Jean
Rouch. From 1971 till 1999 he held a position as Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Cultural and Social Studies, National University of Leiden, The
Netherlands, on research and education in the utilization and functioning of audio-visual media in anthropological research and documentation (nonverbal
communication, visual anthropology). His main interest is in the representation of ritual and the relation between acting, emotional experience and visual
perception. In 1989 he did his PhD. On the use of the feed-back interview technique to elicit the point of view of the participants of ritual performance as
represented in the award winning film “Tobelo Marriage” (1985, in co-operation with Joe D.M. Platenkamp). In 1990-1991 he co-directed a documentary about
Jean Rouch and his friends (Rouch’s gang 1993) on the making of Madame l’Eauch together with Philo Bregstein and SteffMeyknecht. In 1994 he made a video
production on the yeatlyNewar festival of Indrayani in Kathmandu. 1998 'Sacrifice of Serpents, The festival of Indrayani' (108 min., Nepal, with Bert van den
Hoek and BalGopalShrestha).2007 Multimedia DVD ' Ashes of life; the annual rituals of Laboya, Sumba, Indonesia' (with Daniel Geirnaerts and Erik de
Participatory Demythologization and the Ethnographic Legacy of John Marshall
By Adrian Strong - Discussant
Adrian Strong completed his PhD studies on filmic representation of the Ju/hoansi of NyaeNyae (in Namibia) focusing on 50 years of filmmaking by John
Marshall. In 2007 Strong returned to the Kalahari to make a film about the current problems facing the Ju/’hoansi, whom he had got to know in the late 1980s
when working on a grass-roots development project established by Marshall. Over the past several years, Adrian has also been involved working in indigenous
communities in Australia, teaching filmmaking in Far North Queensland, making a documentary about Fantome Island, a former leprosarium for indigenous people,
and making films about ‘Contact period’ Rock Art for Griffith University with Australian archeologists and Aboriginal traditional owners. Adrian also holds
Masters degrees in Physics and Mythology and has worked in international aid, international business and in academia.
Creative Engagement: Performance Based Participatory Cinema
By Paul Wolffram - Discussant
This paper explores the potential of a performance based ethnographic cinema and suggests a methodological practice, defined here as, “creative
engagement”. Following David MacDougall, I seek to examine ethnographic film as capable of creating a different kind of knowledge to that which academics
produce through writing (2006: 5-6). In particular, this chapter examines the ways in which cinema is capable of soliciting an emotional engagement in an
audience through the combination of images, sound and narrative. I then seek to examine how this emotional engagement can be effectively employed in
ethnographic film. Emotion has traditionally been seen as counter to an objectified scientific approach, which seeks to strip away the personal, embodied and
experiential elements of the ethnographic encounter. However, the more recent anthropological enquiry of radically empiricism has begun to investigate the
realms of sensory and embodied forms of knowledge. These new sites of enquiry present an opportunity for ethnographic film to not only consider new things
but also explore new ways of knowing. Using examples from my own film “StoriTumbuna: Ancestors’ Tales” I endeavour to show how “creative engagement” and the
use of a performance based methodology can generate narratives and structures that communicate through images and sound. This communication uses techniques
that privilege embodied and emotional ways of knowing and being. While MacDougall’s films seek to address the potential of ethnographic film and its promise
of “new ways of knowing” by providing viewers with a shared experience of being, the performance based ethnographic cinema that I advocate for here, invites
viewers to share a narrative and emotional experience.
Paul Wolffram teaches film production at Victoria University of Wellington. His work as an ethnographic filmmaker focuses on Maori and Pacific communities
in Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. Paul also works and publishes as an ethnomusicologist and has conducted extensive fieldwork in Papua New Guinea. His
recent films “Rubber’s Kastom” (2011) and “StoriTumbuna: Ancestors’ Tales” explore ethnographic narrative forms and community engagement.
Participatory Cinema: Exploring Forms of Anthropological Knowledge
By Mihai Andrei Leaha - Speaker
Starting from Dai Vaughn’s statement “Film is always about something whereas reality is not” (Vaughn, 1999. p.21) the paper tries to understand the
relationship between ethnographic film and participatory methodology from its reference to “reality”.
Since “the invention of anthropological realities” the term participatory appeared in anthropology’s discourse as an extensible used term in various contexts
(written or filmic) but not sufficiently critically theorized. The explanation might be that, most of the times, the term was associated either with
experimentalism either used as a mark of authenticity and consequently to stances of legitimization for being in the field. Following this usage of
participatory, as a fluctuation between experimentalism and quests for authenticity the paper tries to evaluate the ways in which participatory – in film and
visual anthropology’s literature – functioned as a vehicle for different explorations of forms of anthropological knowledge.
Besides this hermeneutical, historical approach of the participatory mode in visual anthropology, the paper will try to evaluate the inner crafting of a
participatory methodology by referring to different degrees of fictionalizing of the film process. Instead of asking what participatory cinema is, will be
preferred: how does participatory cinema, as a mode of ethnographic film, creates a believable world for the viewer and how does the viewer cope with the
narrative pact that a participatory film proposes? Moreover, it is important to ask how the participatory mode relates to notions like truth, reality,
authenticity and how does this create a “possible world” of the film.
As a practical reference to the questions addressed before, I’ll try to draw from my own work by referring to two of my participatory projects. The first
ethnographic film, Broscatu, The Storyteller, explores the relationship between man and stories – the ways in which the camera provokes and provides a medium
for the stories to be told and also the consequences of this kind of participation. The study will explore the connection of the truth statements regarding
thy storytelling performance of Broscatu and how the participatory mode builds trust and mistrust in the viewer’s mind. In Looking at themselves: Babaluda
Luda the participatory mode crates a narrative pact with the viewer by creating the illusion of watching the film together with the performers, in a way
becoming performers themselves.
By actively exploring “reality” with a camera, the participatory mode of ethnographic film does not only propose a formal mean of anthropological inquiry but
rather proposes – for the anthropologists involved in the transcultural communication act and the viewer involved in the decoding of that message – a shared
participation or experience of an altered/culturally mediated view of “reality”. Being participatory in ethnographic film means not only a form of authentic
presence in the field but assuming a subjective worldview that we make/believe as our shared experience with the others (them, us and the viewers).
PhD Student in Philology. European Studies Faculty, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Cluj, România. Thesis: Visual Ethnography. Restructuring
Anthropological Knowledge.Video Researching Romanian Traditional Customs. Founding Member of the Orma Sodalitas Anthropologica. Director of Orma Films,
Independent Production Company.
Broscatu. The Storyteller anthropological video documentary, 75 minutes. Orma Films Romania 2009 (MA graduation film).
Antropologiavizualacamodalitatediferita de comunicare a cunoa?terii de tip anthropologic (Visual Anthropology a different way of communicating knowledge) in
the collective volume Teze?iantiteze ale actualita?ii, coordinated by GraaianCormoș, EdituraInfoData, ClujNapoca, 2009, ISBN 978-973-1803-21-0, CNCSIS.
The Curse of the Hedgehog 2004. An Anthropological Film by DumitruBudrală. In StudiaDramatica LIV 2009, ClujNapoca, 2009, ISSN:1842-2799.
By Christos Varvantakis - Discussant
Christos Varvantakis is an anthropologist, currently living in Berlin and writing his doctoral thesis. He has conducted research in North Germany, South
Greece and South India and he has been honored with scholarships from DFG and DAAD. He has published on memory and imagination, emotion and corporeality, as
well as on the theory and practice of visual anthropology. He is the director of several ethnographic films and he has co-curated ethnographic film
Shooting Freetown: Shared Anthropology & Collaborative Media in Urban Sierra Leone
By Kieran Hanson - Speaker
This paper reflects upon the author’s ethnographic film project 'Shooting Freetown', carried out amongst musicians and film-makers of Sierra Leone’s
capital city in the rainy season of 2011. The project’s primary inspirations, the ‘ethno-fiction’ films of Jean Rouch, were also shot in coastal West African
cities more than 50 years prior. To pick up the mantle of his ‘shared anthropology’ to explore interior creative worlds presented alongside the observed
exterior, entails something different in 21st Century urban West Africa. Media technology is no longer out of reach here, attested by the region’s booming
film-industries. In Sierra Leone, a small country still recovering from the mass destruction of a decade long war, from the scorched earth sprouts green
shoots of creativity. The invitation is there for the visiting film-maker to adopt an open, negotiated methodology at every stage, engaging participants in
mutual creation, entering into the existing media-dialogues. Reflexivity, reciprocity and collaboration can push one far beyond observational cinema. Recent
technological and economic developments suggest a further levelling of the playing-field, new possibilities for Sierra Leonean images and narratives to
compete with those imposed from outside.
Kieran Hanson is a film-maker and Visual Anthropology graduate from Preston, UK. He recently attained his MA Visual Anthropology from the Granada Centre,
University of Manchester. His thesis was an ethnographic film project carried out over the summer and autumn of 2011 in Sierra Leone, West Africa. This
produced the short documentary Shooting Freetown, plus a number of collaborative video pieces.
Shooting Freetown recently won Best Film in the Student Short Documentary category at the Manchester Film Festival, has been nominated for the One World
Media Awards 2012 and is currently showing at festivals around the world.
Kieran is currently in Manchester working on his next film project, looking at the experiences the Sierra Leonean diaspora in the UK against the backdrop of
the Sierra Leone general election.
By Arjang Omrani - Discussant
I was born in 1972 in Iran. Holding master degree in Visual and Media Anthropology from FU Berlin. My main interest and concentration is on developing the
concept of Sharing the anthropology and authorship and the use of Audio-Visual medium as a strong mode of representation and knowledge creation.
Shared Vision and Creativity: the Participatory Ontology of Christmas Birrimbirr
By Jennifer Deger - Speaker
Miyarrka Media formed in 2009 to create a new kind of shared art practice. In the beginning we were four: two senior Yolngu performers, a video artist and
an anthropologist (Paul Gurrumuruwuy, Fiona Yangathu, David Mackenzie and Jennifer Deger). Drawing on contemporary Aboriginal aesthetic and social values, we
experimented in the spaces between ritual, visual art and ethnography. Our guiding principle was that our art and film had to work for Yolngu audiences.
Even though we explicitly created work for exhibiting beyond Arnhem Land, it had to be structured and make sense on Yolngu terms. Even as it opened up new
forms of cultural expression, the work had to be produced, assembled and curated in ways that accorded with local priorities.
Our willingness to work with the back-and-forth processes of collaboration has resulted in an exhibition that not only coheres on its own terms, but far
exceeds what we might have envisaged individually. Together we created a work that we each find moving, beautiful and resonant.
Nonetheless, the production and exhibition of our first show, Christmas Birrimbirr (Christmas Spirit) meant different things to each of us. This is surely
both inevitable and entirely apt. It speaks to the unruly truths of images; to the ways art can encompass contradiction and ambiguity, even as it engenders
connection and identification. It speaks also to the creative process as a potentially exhilarating and revealing mode of intercultural engagement. This
presentation will explore the different understandings of creative process within the Miyarrka Media collective. It will explore the participatory dynamics
of Yolngu ontology as the key to the project’s success from an indigenous point of view. It will gesture, more broadly, towards the participatory dynamics
engendered by images, to claim the generative (rather than strictly documentary) potential of these new intercultural forms of co-creation.
Jennifer Deger is an ARC Future Fellow at the Australian National University. An anthropologist, filmmaker, and founding member of Miyarrka Media,
Jennifer has worked with Yolngu in Australia's northeast Arnhem Land on collaborative media and arts projects for almost twenty years. She has published
widely on experimental ethnographic methods and indigenous media including Shimmering Screens: Making Media in an Aboriginal Community (University of
Minnesota Press, 2006). Jennifer's practice-based research into the perceptual, aesthetic and ontological dimensions of Yolngu media focuses the primacy of
the senses in contemporary Yolngu lives and cultural politics. Her work explores potential of new media to mediate, and refigure, the spaces of the
intercultural. In 2009 Jennifer curated the exhibition interventions: experiments between art and ethnography at the Macquarie University Art Gallery.
By Simone Pfeifer - Discussant
Simone Pfeifer is a Visual and Media Anthropologist currently working on her PhD on translocal media spaces of Senegalese in Germany and Senegal (part of
the DFG funded project on “Media-related Configurations of translocal social spaces by West African Migrants in Europe” at the University of Cologne). As a
member of the research and teaching network “Media, Culture, and Society” at the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology in Cologne she has been
teaching courses on audiovisual anthropology, media and mobility and is also co-teaching the course “Indigenous Media” at the Master of Visual and Media
Anthropology at the FU Berlin. Simone holds a Master of Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester and a Master (MagistraArtium) in Cultural and
Social Anthropology from the University of Cologne. Her academic research focuses on media practices, audiovisual and media anthropology, migration, mobility
and translocality in Europe and West Africa.
Peter I. Crawford (Chair) - Biography
Peter I. Crawford (born Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, 1955) holds a Danish mag.art. degree (old system, i.e. Ph.d equivalent) in social anthropology from
Aarhus University (1985). He has been an active member of the board of the Nordic Anthropological Film Association (NAFA) since the late 1970s. He has
written extensively on visual anthropology and ethnographic film-making. He is a former lecturer of the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology (University of
Manchester) and has wide experience in teaching the subject both theoretically and practically. He is currently Associate Professor II at the Visual
Anthropology Programme at the University of Tromsø, Norway. Together with Dr. Jens Pinholt of Aarhus University he has led the Reef Islands Ethnographic Film
Project (Solomon Islands) since 1994 and is now, together with co-director and editor, Rolf Scott (SOT Film, Bergen), producing a number of ethnographic
films based on material recorded in 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2005. Otherwise Peter I. Crawford mainly works as a publisher/editor and as a socio-economic
consultant on development issues. His publishing company, Intervention Press, has published numerous books on anthropology and visual anthropology, the most
recent being Reflecting Visual Ethnography (2006, edited together with Metje Postma).
Participatory Video and Empowerment: The Role of Participatory Video in Enhancing the Political Capability of Grass-roots Communities
in Participatory Development
By Anna Colom - Keynote speaker
This paper explores the potential of Participatory Video (PV) in enhancing the political capabilities of oppressed communities. PV works as a catalyst for
groups to develop the power to interact and influence those bodies and institutions with power over. PV does so by supporting the creation of a Freirean
dialogical process within the community, which leads to collective action. Video breaks the illiteracy barrier and facilitates the access to the
institutional and political framework.
For this process to happen, though, PV activities need to take into account the power relations (both between stakeholders and within the community) and need
to be catalysed by a facilitator that is ready to be a co-learner of the process and aware of the local dynamics. This paper concludes that PV has indeed a
great potential but that, as a one-time activity, the political spaces cannot be maintained over long term. Instead, it is analysed whether permanent models
of PV are able to maintain these outcomes. By analysing the case study of the Community Video Unit Samvad, in India, it is argued that, when made permanent,
PV has a strong capacity to empower communities. The paper nevertheless highlights that any long-term implementation strategies for PV need to consider three
main challenges: sustainability, ownership and the definition of community.
Formerly a journalist, Anna Colom holds an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS. She has been trained by the European Social Documentary (ESODOC) on
Participatory Video (PV) facilitation and conducted research on PV and Community Video in Ahmedabad (India). Anna has been working as an independent
consultant both with international NGOs and academic institutions as a documentary filmmaker, video facilitator and researcher. She currently works as a
Research Officer at BBC Media Action.
Mistakes Are Great! Experiential Learning and Reflection with Participatory Video
By Sara Asadullah - Keynote speaker
As practiced by InsightShare, participatory Video (PV) is a set of techniques to involve a group or community in shaping and creating their own film. The
idea behind this is that making a video can be easy and accessible, and is a powerful way of bringing people together to explore issues, voice concerns or
simply to be creative and tell stories.
This process can be very empowering, enabling a group or community to take action to solve their own problems and also to communicate their needs and ideas
to decision-makers and/or other groups and communities. As such, PV can be a highly effective tool to engage and mobilisemarginalised people and to help them
implement their own forms of sustainable development based on local needs.
At the heart of InsightShare's praxis is a belief in experiential learning and reflection as key ingredients for transformation and growth in
self-confidence, for individuals as well as groups.
In this presentation Sara Asadullah will explore InsightShare's methodology, with examples from recent projects.
Sara Asadullah has been involved with InsightShare since she first took the training course in 2006, after which she joined the team as an intern, then
co-facilitator and finally lead facilitator. Now an InsightShare Associate, Sara is one of a team of facilitators working to deliver a 10 month project of 4
stages: capacity building for BRAC Uganda in using Participatory Video for Monitoring and Evaluation.
Further current work includes projects around Indigenous Food Sovereignty with a capacity building training in Meghalaya, North-Eastern India; and a
partnership with the ‘Welcome to the UK’ project that supports women newly arrived in the UK, and prepares women in Bangladesh waiting to emigrate. Past work
ranges from short projects, conferences, UK training courses, to trainings abroad, and capacity building phases (e.g. Mexico hub, Transparency International,
Balkans, Nigeria, Namibia, and Kyrgyzstan). In 2008 she took a sabbatical to complete a Masters in Visual Anthropology and Ethnographic Film in Manchester,
where her final film was an observational documentary about different generations of Bengalis living in London.
Sara studied Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Oxford, and worked for Survival International before joining InsightShare. She was attracted
by Participatory Video by its potential for giving people a means to self-representation, but remains most excited when people realise their unknown
potential during the process, discovering a new understanding of themselves and others.
Who is Telling Whose Story How and Why - Participatory Video Between Fiction and Documentary
By Lisa Glahn and Mirjam Leuze, myView - Discussants
We, Lisa Glahn and Mirjam Leuze, are both filmmakers. For ten years we have been working with disadvantaged young people and adults in Germany and
Switzerland creating films in a collaborative and participatory manner.
The underlying assumption of our work with socially marginalised groups is: A film made by people as storytellers and as protagonists at the same time gives
a different perspective of and a much more intimate insight into a topic or issue. Developing the story together with the group, we have found it helpful not
only to rely on the format of documentary, but also to consider fictional and experimental forms of storytelling. Fictional forms very often enable the group
to be more open. The fictional form creates a distance between the participants and the story which enables them to tell the ?whole truth? without
necessarily revealing too many personal facts. This protects the group members from unwanted exposure of personal information. In the following article we
will outline the process of storytelling between fiction and documentary in our Participatory Video approach on based on practical examples.
Lisa Glahn is a Filmmaker, radio journalist, actress and video artist; many features and reportage for radio stations; long documentary for public
TV-station and digital TV and also collaboration with NGOs and social institutions.Since 1992 educational work in theatre and film with young and adult
people, e.g. with social workers and students. In the context of EsoDoc (European Social Documentary) developing a concept of Participatory Video for film
educational film work. Since 2007 advanced training in Nonviolent Communication (NVC) from Marshall Rosenberg.
Mirjam Leuze is a documentary filmmaker and journalist based in Cologne/Germany . She studied Cultural Anthropology and Theatre-Television and Film
Science in Cologne/Germany and Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan and did a one year field research on transforming Medical Systems in Rural Kyrgyzstan. She focuses in her
work on ecological and human rights topics in Europe, Latin America, Central Asia and Africa and has realized several documentaries for European television
channels. With her colleague Lisa Glahn she founded myView, a Participatory Video initiative based in Cologne/Germany. Lisa Glahn and Mirjam Leuze realize
films in a collaborative process with disadvantaged young people mainly in Germany and Switzerland.
Prof.Dr. Michael Schönhuth, University of Trier (Discussant) - Biography
Michale Schönhuth is a full Professor for Cultural Anthropology at the University of Trier, Germany. He is also an acting director at the Cluster of
Excellence „Societal dependencies and social networks“ and project leader in the Collaborative Research Centre CRC 600 “Strangers and Poor People” (SFB
600), “. He graduated 1989 with a doctoral thesis on witchcraft in Europe and Africa. He is co-founder of the journal Entwicklungsethnologie, the only
German speaking journal on the anthropology of development, and co-inventor-of the unique participatory network software
Michael‘s scientific work focuses on participatory methods, migration, social networks, diversity, culture & development and intercultural issues, and since
the 1990s he is consulting governmental and non-governmental agencies and foundations in these fields.
Next Step for Participatory Video: Taking the Message to Broader Ranging Exchange Platforms (Indonesia)
By Prof. Sang Putu Kaler Surata and Prof. Kevin Thompson - Speaker
Ten years ago, an American landscape architect entered into a Balinese territory that, for hundreds of years, the locals have believed is sacred. Deep
inside the volcano’s crater and high up on the caldera’s rim, ceremonies are held in temples built to the Goddess of Water, Dewi Danu, whom, according to
ancient lore, lives deep inside the crater lake.
But something is amiss. The image of this landscape is not what this foreigner has imagined: it is not the edenic landscape of great beauty and of abundant
harvest: it is a harsh, industrial landscape ravaged by mining, denuded by illegal timber harvesting and plowed-under to accommodate the steadily-increasing
demands of urbanization and modern development.
What human perspectives decide the fate of this sacred landscape and do the locals even remember that their ancestors declared these lands sacred domains?
When the landscape architect returns with a video camera and a local biologist, something quite astonishing happens. Set up to begin filming along the side
of the road next to rice padis, farmers appear from across the landscape, crowding-around and lining-up to take their turn in front of the camera, waiting
patiently to tell their stories, eager to participate in the sharing of knowledge about this place.
This paper discusses the evolution of a participatory video project that began in Bali a decade ago and shares insights gained through ist evolution and
adaptations in form from strategies of engagement to the launch of a co-generated, information-exchange platform that may very well represent the future of
participatory video today.
Sang Putu Kaler Surata is Professor of Ecology in the departments of Biology Education, Environmental Management and Regional Planning at Mahasaraswati
University. His research focuses on social ecology, experiential learning and sustainability. He holds degrees in Natural and Environmental Management and
Biology from Mahasaraswati University and the Institute Pertanian Bogor. Mr. Surata has held a long-working research partnership with John Stephen Lansing
(University of Arizona, USA) and his students in the area of social-ecology and particularly the Balinese subak system. He has also collaborated with Ian
Falk (Charles Darwin University, Australia) in community management of biosecurity and with Kevin Thompson (University of Florida, USA) in community heritage
landscape conservation and citizen engagement in community development.
Kevin Thompson is Assistant Professor and Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Florida. His research
explores participatory practice and the integration of contemporary media in projects that empower marginalized populations through skills development and
the co-production of shared community knowledgebase platforms. Kevin holds degrees in Landscape Architecture from Penn State and has spent more than a
decade in international private practice. He is also co-Director of the Center for International Design and Planning and Director of Landscape Field Schools
which offers community development-oriented study abroad programs based Indonesia.
By Monika Sorensen - Discussant
Currently studying an MA in Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths University of London.She is Working on a participative film project with some marginalized
women on their resources and societal contribution. MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen 2004. Did research on identification
processes among ethnic minority youngsters in a secondary school. Since then I have finished two film courses: 2010 at the Open University Copenhagen,
2004-2005 at the Short and Documentary Filmschool in Copenhagen. Since graduation worked in different temporary social projects e.g. in areas of social
housing. Work aiming to support people and motivate them to activities. Worked with ethnic minorities and mentally ill people especially women.
E.g. did a life story project in a drop-in centre for socially and mentally vulnerable women within a recovery framework. Qualitative surveys among residents
on their housing situation. Studied theatre and worked practically with theatre on a semi professional level.
Have also done several art classes and worked with layout. Doing an MA in Visual Anthropology is for me an attempt to integrate my visual and creative
interests with my anthropological interests.
Participatory Video in Cambodia: The case of WE WANT (U) TO KNOW? Justice, remembrance and healing through film in the times of the Khmer
By Ella Pugliese and Nou Va - Speaker
Envisioned, filmed, acted and co-directed by Cambodian survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide and their grandchildren, We Want (U) To Know is a striking
illustration of a Cambodian community struggling to confront, acknowledge, and heal from the brutalities and trauma they experienced. Using art as a tool for
communication and healing across generations, participants explored issues of legacy, forgiveness, culturally sensitive, reconciliation, responsibility,
peace building, and the consequences of silence.
In ist original 90min version, and since last year in the more sharpen and focused 54min version, We Want (U) To Know has been shown many times all over
Cambodia in cities, at universities and in villages. Originally conceived as an instrument of work for the local civil society, this little film seemed to
act as a catalyst for inspiration to action and change in the life of the Cambodians looking for new ways to cope with the past.
But what happened after the project concluded in the village community? What echo did the film really have between the protagonists, their families, the
other community members and eventually former Khmer Rouge cadre???
And in general: What impact did We Want (U) To Know have and continue to have after three years from the realization of the film and is first release
regarding the Cambodian discussion about the past and future? Is participation a valid instrument to help civil society individuate and solve Cambodian
problems? If the film and the project were so successful, why has no further participatory video work followed?
In April 2012 directors Ella Pugliese and NouVa will work together with the NGOs, psychologists and consultants who took part at the film project to finally
go back together to ThnolLok, the village in the south of Cambodia where the stunning participatory process took place in 2008-2009.This will be the follow
up three years later.
Our appearance at the Göttingen Symposium will focus on the answers to these questions, and the new questions that our trip back to ThnolLok will give
Born in Rome in 1974, Ella Pugliese holds a degree in Languages and a MA in Anthropology of Migration, lives and works in Berlin as a freelance Author and
Filmmaker. In the past years she has collected field experiences in refugee and roma camps from Naples to Algeria, she has worked for international research
institutes dealing with migration issues and she has collaborated with the Department of Performing Arts of the University Roma Tre, as well as with RAI-Sat
tv. She has co-directed photographed and edited several documentary projects with an anthropological focus, like The Puppetmasters, her first feature length
documentary, about local tradition, art and memory in Southern Italy s countryside.
Born in Pursat, 1979, Nou Va holds a Bachelor of Arts of Law and one of Education, has been working since years for NGOs dealing with Human Rights in
Phnom Penh. Nou Va is the co-director of We Want (u) to Know As and the lead facilitator of the community dialogues featured in the film. Additionally, he was
responsible for organizing the trips to the target communities and managing relations with stakeholders such as NGO partners, community members and local
authorities throughout the film making process. He also assisted with translation efforts.
Va currently works at Youth for Peace (YFP) and The Peace Institute of Cambodia (PIC). His work focuses on reconciliation, peacebuilding and cultures of
memory culture in the context of post-war Cambodia. The nature of his work is based on using community participatory approach and "bottom up"
By Caroline Bennett - Discussant
Caroline Bennett is a PhD student in social and visual anthropology at the University of Kent, UK. Her research centres on the position of excluded people,
using participatory visual research methods in an attempt to explore how different people's ideas converge and create new knowledge, and how this can be
presented in research. The filmed thesis for her recently completed MA in Visual Anthropology, Living Together, made collaboratively with the community of
L'Arche Kent - a community of people with and without learning disabilities - explored, through the use of participatory filming, the construction of
competence and ideas of normality within the community. It was screened at the Intimate Lens film festival in Italy, December 2011. The research for her
current PhD explores the lived space of mass graves in Cambodia, and uses video and photography in collaborative participatory research to investigate the
interactions of internal and external discourses on the subject.
Mediating Cultures: Participatory Ethnographic Filmmaking in Applied Contexts
By Dr. Martin Gruber - Speaker
In my doctoral research I examine the role participatory ethnographic filmmaking plays in the context of a large multidisciplinary research project on
environmental issues in Angola, Botswana and Namibia. Drawing on ethnographic filmmaking and “Participatory Video” (PV), I implement film workshops with
representatives of rural communities as a means of including them in the project.
Participatory and collaborative approaches date back to “early” ethnographic filmmakers such as Robert Flaherty and Jean Rouch. Until today, a number of
filmmakers have applied such approaches for ethical and political reasons and/or to enhance their work. However, many anthropologists and filmmakers have
labelled their own or other people’s activities as participatory or collaborative without giving important background information. Questions of who exactly
participates, in which ways, and with which intentions and benefits are often ignored, which makes their evaluation difficult. In my presentation, I propose
different criteria for the assessment of participatory or collaborative films on the basis of a review of anthropological literature. I will further describe
my own experience of implementing a participatory film-workshop with a group of villagers in the Kavango Region of Namibia and develop guidelines for the
facilitation of such films in applied contexts.
Martin Gruber studied Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, London and Social Anthropology at Hamburg University. He has been working as a freelance
researcher and filmmaker for various research and development projects. Currently Martin Gruber is producing films on environmental issues in Angola, Namibia
and Botswana together with local farmers for “The Future Okavango” research project. He is doing a PhD about participatory ethnographic filmmaking in applied
contexts at the Department of Anthropology and Cultural Studies at the University of Bremen.
Gruber, Martin (2010): Film making as an instrument of research communication and capacity development. – In: Schmiedel, U., Jürgens, N. [Eds.]:
Biodiversity in southern Africa. Volume 2: Patterns and processes at regional scale: pp. 326–331, Klaus Hess Publishers, Göttingen & Windhoek.
Gruber, Martin (2008): Aufklärungsfilme als Beispiel angewandter Ethnologie? Ethnoscripts 10 (2): 184-190.
Bata Diallo - Discussant
I was born the 10th January 1986 in Bamako (Mali). I studied Visual Anthropology in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Bamako, Mali.
In 2008 I took part in a special ethnographic film workshop conducted by the Visual Cultural Studies program at the University of Tromsø, Norway.
On the basis of the short film I made in this workshop I was selected to travel to Tromsø under a NORAD scholarship to enter the 2 years Masters program at
VCS. The hour long film “Djeneba”, completed in mid 2011, is my final graduation film.
Filming the Real in Myanmar (Yangon Film School)
By Lindsey Merrison and Hnin Ei Hlaing - Speaker
Since 2005, the Berlin-based non-profit organisation Yangon Film School has brought together international practitioners with budding young Myanmar
filmmakers for regular workshops on all aspects of filmmaking but with a particular emphasis on documentary. In the past seven years the school has succeeded
in navigating the considerable constraints that until very recently prevailed in Myanmar in order to provide training for over fifty Burmese students. During
this time YFS has produced over fifty short films, many of which have screened at international film festivals and some of which have even won awards.
In this talk, the school’s initiator, Anglo-Burmese filmmaker Lindsey Merrison and one of the school’s students, HninEiHlaing (whose film Burmese Butterfly
is screening at the Göttingen festival) will examine the challenges of filming the real in an autocratic culture, describe the school’s mentorship programme
and outline its current transition to becoming a Myanmar-run media resource.
Born in Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State in 1985, Hnin Ei Hlaing entered the film industry with a diploma in computer art with the Forever Group and
subsequently worked as an editor for MRTV4. Since joining YFS in 2006 she has worked as a regular sound recordist and/or editor on a number of YFS
productions (including An Untitled Life, The Change Maker and A Bright Future). She says she knew nothing about Myanmar s gay scene before deciding to make
this portrait of her hairdresser. Burmese Butterfly marks her first film as a director.
Lindesy Merrison, Director and Producer, was born in Britain in 1959. She studied English and film studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury, graduating with a first
class honours degree in 1981. Moving to Berlin at the end of the same year, she began her career as a film curator, during which time she devised film events for venues all over Germany, such as a festival of British experimental film and a major retrospective of the work of Derek Jarman. A regular translator (for Helma Sanders-Brahms, Rudolf Thome and Heinz Emigholz among others) and an occasional writer, Lindsey also has a number of publications to her credit, including a study of the British film industry and a short book, The Complete Derek Jarman.
Lindsey Merrison joined the film industry in 1985, working as Ken Loach's assistant on the Channel Four/ZDF co-production, Fatherland. She was subsequently awarded a bursary from the German government's Filmförderungsanstalt to train in film production, and worked on a variety of German-produced features and documentaries by Roland Klick, Helga Reidemeister and Jeanine Meerapfel among others. Her linguistic abilities and her knowledge of both German and English
cultures was an invaluable asset when working as assistant director to Australian filmmaker Ian Pringle and British director Stewart Mackinnon.
Lindsey Merrison's producing career began in 1989. Perceiving her role as a creative one long before the term 'Creative Producer' became common currency,
Lindsey has always made a strong artistic contribution to all her projects from co-writing the treatment to fleshing out a structure for the final film,
writing commentary and inter-titles. Lindsey's documentary credits as producer include Frances Calvert's Talking Broken, a witty portrait of the Torres
Strait Islanders, Australia's 'other' indigenous minority; Last Year in Germany, a major cinema documentary by four German directors for Channel Four and
BayerischeRundfunk chronicling the year from the fall of the Berlin wall to the reunification of Germany; Two Men, about two brothers who meet after a
lifetime spent on opposite sides of the Berlin wall, and Frances Calvert's multi-award-winning Cracks in the Mask, about the repatriation of artefacts from
the world's greatest museums to their original owners in the Torres Strait.
Founding her own production company in 1993, Lindsey made her debut as a director in her own right in 1996: Our Burmese Days, which she also produced,
documents the filmmaker's journey with her Anglo-Burmese mother and uncle back to the country of their birth, where a tragicomic drama on the meaning of the
past and cultural identity ensues. Lindsey returned to Burma (now Myanmar) for her award-winning documentary Friends in High Places (also producer), about a
lively cult peopled by talented mediums, many of them homosexual, that makes life under one of the world's harshest regimes more bearable. In the wake of
both her Burma films, Lindsey has taken part in discussions and seminars in Germany and abroad on topics such as the filming of personal histories, gender
and the post-colonial approach to filming other cultures.
In 2005 Lindsey and seven other experienced filmmakers mounted the first Art of Documentary Filmmaking workshop in Myanmar, during which they trained 12
young Burmese men and women to develop their own skills as documentarians. Lindsey has since mounted a second workshop, The Art of Documentary Editing
(2006), and founded the non-profit organization, Yangon Film School - Association for the Promotion of Young Burmese Film and Video Artists, with the aim of
setting up a permanent school in Yangon with a regular curriculum. This series was expanded in 2009 with the release of Stories from Myanmar, which showcases
the work of participants of the 2007 Yangon Film School workshops in Myanmar.
By Melanie Langpap - Discussant
Having ten years of practice in fiction-, documentary films and news (e.g. author NDR, production manager “space sailors”, 1st AD “Tailor made dreams”)
Melanie Langpap joined “Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit” (GIZ) as a consultant in 2011. She made five documentaries about the „German
contribution to the peace process in Nepal“ (eponymous title, DVD). Her audiovisual work afterwards focuses on the “Nepal Peace Trust Fund” (NPTF) with its
contribution on the peace building process (e.g. support to former Maoist Army combatants, Conflict Affected Persons, Elections). The idea is to make best of
audiovisual media in the ongoing process of democratization and in close cooperation with the Nepal government, civil society and international donor
Video in the Villages: An Intercultural Cinema
By Vincent Carelli - Speaker
Vincent Carelli is a documentary film director and editor and the founder and director of VídeonasAldeias/Video in the Villages (VNA) in Olinda, Brazil. VNA
works closely with indigenous communities to provide video production training, annual workshops for Native videomakers in regional locations, equipment
access and post-production support, and international distribution of the work. VNA productions, numbering more than 70, have been screened widely,
representing videomakers from more than 15 indigenous communities in Brazil. In 2008 the showcase “Video AmazôniaIndígena: A View from the Villages” was
organized by the NMAI Film and Video Center. Carelli, VNA’s then-codirector Mari Corrêa, and five indigenous directors traveled to the U.S. to present their
works at NMAI and other venues in New York and Washington, D.C. A major retrospective of VNA works, “Um OlharIndígena/Through Indian Eyes,” was held in Rio
de Janeiro in 2004 and in Brasilia in 2006. For its work, in 1999 VNA received the UNESCO Prize at the 6th Mostra Internacional do Filme Etnográfico in Rio
By MarleenFolkerts - Discussant
Marleen Folkerts studied Religious Studies, European Studies and Anthropology at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands), of Göttingen (Germany) and
the UNAM (Mexico). Her main areas of interest are cultural heritage and tradition and urban space, especially the way film can play a role in the
preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage for local communities. She wrote her MA thesis on the debate on the repatriation of human remains of
indigenous communities that are located in museums’ collections.
Terror, Territory and Ethnic Television - KankuamaTV in Colombia
Matthias Kopp - Speaker
Kankuama Television was founded in the „ResguardoIndígenaKankuamo“ in 2008, only a few years after the violent confrontation between guerrillas and
paramilitaries in the region had climaxed, resulting in the death of over 300 Kankuamos – a murder rate three times that of Colombia at the peak of its
internal conflict. It is the manifest mission of the indigenous community channel to reinforce the ethnic identity of the Kankuama people, one of four
indigenous groups who inhabit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. As opposed to their Arhuaco, Kogi and Wiwa neighbors, the Kankuamos no longer speak their
original language and they use the dress of the lowland mestizos. But ethnic identity is strongly linked to the control of the territory. The ethnic media
project, half-heartedly supported by the state, sets a group of young local video-makers right in the middle of a mesh of political and economic interests,
cultural symbolism, community values and the struggle for individual freedom and development. Can the electronic media help to heal the social wounds of war
and reconstruct the lost identity of a people?
Matthias Kopp studied anthropology at FreieUniversität Berlin. In the late 1980’s he carried out fieldwork among indigenous migrants from Mexico to the
USA, using video as an instrument for taking fieldnotes and receiving feedback. In the course of his investigation, the confrontation with violations of the
basic human rights of migrant workers impulsed the urge to write and publish journalistic texts. During the following two decades, Matthias Kopp worked as a
newsdesk editor and video reporter for german public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, covering news and background stories worldwide. Since 2009,he coordinates
media development projects at DW Akademie, Deutsche Welle´s training institute. He is currently engaged in a training and consultancy programme for community
media in Colombia.
By Sonja Schenkel - Discussant
Sonja Schenkel is a trained filmmaker and doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology at the Graduate Institute of International Relations and Development
Studies, Geneva. Her previous engagement has involved a series of participatory film projects in Latin America. Current interest lays in the role of
audio-visual media in conflict and post-conflict reconciliation with a particular focus on gender issues.
Specializing in the use of creative methods and media empowerment, she attempts to bridge art and research while relying on the premises of collaborative
research. Her current research project focuses on women’s self-assessed role in explaining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to their children. Being
affiliated with the French Research Center in Jerusalem, she will continue her work at NYU Wagner Research Center for Leadership in Action evaluating her
research through the broader spectrum of social change.
Florian Walter (Chair) - Biography
Former Teaching Coordinator at the MA program Visual and Media Anthropology, FreieUniversität - Free University, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology (MA Visual and Media Anthropology) Berlin, Germany. Since 2011 research associate at the FreieUniversität - Free University, Latin American
Institute. Research field: Social Sciences - Anthropology, Social and cultural anthropology, visual and media anthropology, media and the senses,
experimental modes of audiovisual representations, collaborative filmmaking, transcultural montage, media/communication, indigenous media/subject-generated