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2012CONCEPTCONCEPTCONCEPT ___________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________ GUIDELINES FOR THE EVALUATION OF NON-LITERARY FORMS OF REPRESENTATION (ALAN GROSSMAN: ETHNOGRAPHIC MEDIA ARTEFACTS () IN ANTHROPOLOGY & RECOGNITION AS PUBLICATIONS
with contributions by:
P.I.Crawford, M. Postma, H. Prins, K. Oesther, F. Hughes Freeland, A. Grossmann, R. Ragazzi, B. Engelbrecht, A. Torresan, I.Kawase, B. Jiang, K.Hanson, A. Lawrence et all. “[movies] directly present to us that special way of being in the world, of dealing with things and other people, which we can see in the sign language of gesture and gaze and which clearly defines each person we know.”6 Merleau-Ponty FNP, p.58. In 2001 the AAA published a Report called: Guidelines for the Evaluation of Ethnographic Visual Media in which they stated: Committees tasked with appraising the significance of visual media as academic contributions to the discipline—to teaching, scholarly research, and applied anthropology—can benefit from evaluative criteria. Accordingly, the American Anthropological Association, under the advisement of the Society for Visual Anthropology, offers these guidelines for the evaluation of ethnographic visual media. Following up on different initiatives that have been undertaken in different academic environments, since 2001 (AAA) to develop guidelines for the evaluation of non-literary forms of representation media artefacts) in anthropology, we offer a summary of the points addressed in previous studies, in order to offer a framework for the discussion on the establishment of guidelines for the evaluation of non-literary forms visual and audio media in academia. Existing texts on this topic that have been published previously, have been combined and some new insights are added from recent discussions and the papers presented at the panel. These texts were generated by: Peter Crawford (2010, Denmark/Norway) Harold Prins (2001, AAA USA), Tommi Mendel and Katrin Oester ( 2010, Audiovisual Committee of the Swiss Ethnological Society), Felicia Hughes Freeland (2003, Swansea University), Niksa Svilicic (2011, Zagreb University, Croatia). We thank them for their efforts to delineate the guidelines that will be discussed today. In 2009, Peter Crawford performed his personal world-wide ‘survey’ into how
centres of Visual Anthropology deal with academic standards and what experiences they have developing criteria or guidelines for the evaluation of nonliterary forms visual and audio media. In his report, he cites some of the responses of the respondents to his survey: Howard Morphy ANU: Not only in the humanities but in social sciences film and digital media are considered essential contemporary media for academic publication and for the wider dissemination of research results. At the Australian National University in a number of disciplines film and digital media are considered acceptable formats for doctoral theses. In most cases a written component is also required but reduced in proportion to the substance of the alternative format In the UK a national project was developed between 2005 and 2008 to support PhD students who were integrating the use of media in their fieldwork methodology and the rapportage of their findings. Joram ten Brink and Zemirah Moffat …. AVPhD was an AHRC funded training and support network for all those doing, supervising and examining audio-visual practice based doctorates. The practice research projects covered focused on audio-visual time based media, inclusive but not restricted to documentary, fiction, narrative/nonnarrative film, and non-linear/new media. Following symposiums in Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Newport, Sunderland and Sussex, the steering group curated Viva Viva, the first UK exhibition of AVPhDs. (quoted from website: http://www.avphd.ac.uk) It is precisely because non-literary audio and visual forms of representation are increasingly being used and acknowledged within anthropology that the need to find a common ‘language’ to discuss the process and products of such practice becomes more and more crucial. The intention of the discussion in the forum, is to work towards the development of a ‘jargon’ that can be used to discuss such productions, and a set of guidelines , that may then be used by all those anthropologists within academic institutions who are confronted with the task of evaluating ethnographic nonliterary audio and visual forms of representation in anthropology and feel they need standards to evaluate and discuss such work with non-visual anthropologists. It offers points of attention that such supervisors could use to establish the anthropological quality of a work; its intentionality, ethics, the positionality of the author and methodological approach to the subject-matter; its relation to theory and its cinematographic and/or photographic features and relations to other cinematic or pictorial genres and styles. The paper also asks in what ways non-literary forms of representation ethnographic media artefacts could and should be (and are, more and more) acknowledged as academic publications. Anthropological epistemologies are based on literary forms of representation. In Peter Crawford’s Report (2011), Ann Marie Barry speaks of the ‘ verbal hegemony’ that exists within academia. Margaret Mead spoke of Anthropology as a ‘ discipline of words’ ((in: Hockings 1976:5). The tradition in academia of implicitly equalizing academic knowledge to the content of discursive texts, seems incompatible with the ideal of ‘knowing and understanding culture(s) and social worlds’ that is the aim of anthropology and ethnography, and the predicament of culture that it is expressed in so many forms of representation. This ‘translation’ (Talal Asad 1986 in Clifford & Marcus 1986) of social realities into an academic text’, not only changes the ontological
basis of knowing culture(s), and the social worlds of individuals and groups, but further equates anthropological knowledge to reason, a view of knowledge which should be seen as rooted in Western Culture. Another issue that keeps being unresolved within our discipline is the relation between ethnography and anthropology. While most of us would agree on the rough definition of ethnography as prolonged field-research into and representation of the social and cultural features of specific social groups, and anthropology as the theoretical reflection on these common and differing features and phenomena, no-one will deny that the two practices are deeply interwoven. The common critique Visual Anthropological production usually endures is that it cannot generate theory and/or make it explicit. However what we have in common with most artists is that what is implicit in terms of analytical interconnections in a non-literary production is not unconscious. It is the implicit character of theoretical analysis and approaches that are applied in the practice of doing visual ethnography which generates most opposition in academic circles. Remarkably enough, the fact that an audience or reader must use his or her imagination to visualize and imagine other realities, when reading ethnography, which is in fact nothing more than transferred experience from one to another cultural setting, is not seen as highly un-scientific. As the specific is exactly situated in the sensorial experiential field of a social setting, this is all the more surprising. Therefore including audio-visual knowledge as essential part of reporting about the ‘human condition’ in other communities, is essential to transfer cultural specific sensorial experiences. Akin to the raise of feminist anthropology, post-colonial studies and antidiscrimination discourses led to a shift towards a realisation of the political, social and cultural positionality of the researcher and its inherent biases, which marked the shift from modernism to post-modernism in anthropology; redefining a ‘hybrid-mediated’ anthropology requires rethinking the epistemological basis of forms of representation, that may enable other ways of knowing and engagement with the world for both the researcher and the audiences of such representations. The introduction of other media in social studies, may require an acknowledgement of the long academic tradition of thinking about knowledge as culturally defined, limited and insufficient in order to understand the important object of ethnography and anthropology : to make generating knowledge
about who we are, into a global project, rather than a continuation of the hegemonic order. Anthropologists should seek to
develop a commonly accessible language and mediation, to ‘speak’ about our shared human conditions and to describe and understand our differences. As Andy Lawrence 2013 puts it in his paper …anthropology is a collection of
methods, scientific, artistic and philosophical grounded in the craft of ethnography with a common aim to understand ‘the human condition’.
Dr. Bao Jiang, member of the CVA in reaction to this text, sketches his view of the framework in which we need to place the discussion: ‘The theme of the congress Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds set light to the
horizon of what the recent evolution of socio-cultural anthropology is. There are three explicit lines: 1. The shift of fieldwork from observation to collaboration. 2. The shift of ethnography from representation of the other to representation of the encounter between subjectivities. 3. The shift of knowledge embodiment of social-cultural anthropology from literary work to literary and non-literary work. In the horizon visual anthropology is the evolving form of socio-cultural anthropology, but not a bough of the tree of social-cultural anthropology. He observes that the separation between writing anthropology and visual anthropology is not so clearly defined in China, and speaks of a tradition of close collaboration between literary scholars and filmmakers. He proposes two points for the discussion: 1. The discussion of representation forms demands the discussion of what social-cultural anthropology is as the foundation (although the big issue as to what social-cultural anthropology is, of course, is beyond the time and opportunity of our gathering for the IUAES congress.) 2. What might be more practical and productive is to discuss the possibility of making a publication series of multi-media work collection of anthropology, with the authority of leading visual anthropologists on multimedia work as committee. Multi-media work refers to the work of sociocultural anthropology with literary and non-literary media. (Actually the non-literary film pure as Forest of Bliss is also literary, in the form of title and subtitles of the film & in the book form of Reading Forest of Bliss.) Proposition 1: Anthropological discourse needs to develop an understanding of the aims and methods of anthropology that includes and acknowledge all forms of representation that serve those aims and the use of which can be accounted for. The approach to the discussion: The document presents different propositions to which the attendants of the discussion are asked to present their opinion. Propositions will be discussed in small groups for 15 minutes and then brought back to the general meeting. Questions on how different formats require new epistemologies, enable other methodologies and forms of collaboration, positioning and authorship, and perhaps a whole different anthropology , should be brought up, but should perhaps still be seen as too much emergent as trends, which makes it hard to include them in this text. However this is also debatable.
CATEGORISATIONS AUDIO AND VISUAL ARTEFACTS AS PRODUCTS OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL/ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH Paragraph 1: Categorisations, propose to define the different ‘forms and styles of representation’ that have till now been used and acknowledged within Visual Anthropology, and defines them into categories and their relation to written text for the purpose of this text and for discussion. These categories, if we agree we should hold on to these or others, will also need to be defined as sharp as possible, to get clear what we are talking about. First and for all however we should agree on the term to be used to refer to the type of anthropological representations (non-literary/media/multimedia, etc) that we could use to indicate the type of productions that we are discussing here. Is ‘non-literary Forms of Representation’ an adequate term to use? (Alan Grossman comments: (NO I DON’T THINK IT IS – WOULD SUGGEST AUDIO AND VISUAL MEDIA)) We have distinguished different forms (media: written text, photography, video etc.) and genres (traditionally defined formats that are known to have been used within anthropology) of representation. To what extend we may also want to discuss other ‘modes (styles) of representation that traditionally are not used in anthropology as they do not facilitate explicit discursive textuality (novels, poetry, mathematics etc.) could also be discussed at the meeting, but may reach to far beyond the scope of the discussion. Proposition 2: Different Forms of representation need to be categorised and defined in order to be able to define guidelines for evaluation. What needs to be developed is a generally accepted categorisation of different forms and modes of representation that will help to refer to the same products of anthropological research and that may request diversification of criteria of evaluation. What forms are we talking about? Photographic approaches 1. Social Documentary 2. Artistic Photography 3. Participatory/Collaborative Photography Cinematic Genres 1. Descriptive Observational Cinema (visual ethnographic process) 2. Narrative Documentary Observational Cinema 3. Enquiring/Analytical Observational Cinema 4. Poetic Assemblage (recording and editing follow different intentionalities and cinematic strategies) 5. Non linear forms of organising visual material (websites, CD-Roms, Video -Installations)
6. Applied/strategic forms, based on ethnographic knowledge (educational, awareness raising etc)
(AAA, 2001) 1) research footage and documentation that adds to the historical and/or ethnographic record, or is used for further analysis (such as linguistics, dance and art); 2) ethnographic media that contributes to theoretical debate and development; 3) innovations in new media forms; 4) media designed to enhance teaching; 5) media produced for television broadcast and other forms of mass communication; 6) applied media made with and/or for the benefit of a particular community, government or business. ` Non-linear multimedia forms of representation 1. By the Anthropologist Constructed Multimedia Website 2. Interactive website that invites participation and dialogue with the viewer 3. Website designed for maximum input by participant Proposition 3: Modes of representation (Styles & genres) that are used in anthropology, need to be acknowledged and their features listed in order for supervisors to understand the ‘codification’ (features and methodological approach of content of the form, types of engagement, intentionality, positioning of the researcher etc.) of such approaches. Type Cultural Record Definition Any sequence of images recorded from an ethnographic perspective that documents cultural behaviour and/or social events in chronological order, but that cannot stand alone as a filmproduction, photo-essay or other media-production. Usually the product of ethnographic research, made either by local knowledgeable filmmaker or by ethnographer or well informed filmmaker. Textual Component Textual contextualisation and or analysis on paper or in digital form is needed. Records need to be embedded in another representational context. Anthropological reflection and methodological reflexivity are needed to account for selection process and ethical considerations as well as ethnographic contextualisation. An Atlas Ti or other program that allows for synchronously scrolling transcript and/or translation, is highly recommended for documentation purposes.
Any composed video production that can stand alone, that shows a chronological descriptive representation of cultural behaviour and/or social events in context with added interpretation through commentary, texts and by the organisation of sequences and shots without disturbing the chronology of events, that aims at documenting a cultural phenomenon in context. Any descriptive realist documentary that, based on ethnographic research, tries to analyse a sociocultural world or event from an ethnographic perspective which is fed by anthropological insights, but with the aim to preserve internal interconnectedness of events and people and the context of the social and cultural organisation of the events and phenomena that are recorded. An ethnographic documentary mainly engages with people and focuses less on describing events. Any documentary that is based on ethnographic field-work and/or anthropological research, that analyses a socio-cultural event or phenomenon from an anthropological theoretical perspective without necessarily preserving the internal structure of the setting or aiming to describe the full socio-cultural context in which events occur. Anthropological analysis can be multi-sited but may also be monographic; may connect diverse people and themes in a theoretically constructed framework by any means that cinema offers. Production can be made by one author or be multiauthored. Any documentary that tries to communicate a certain experience, sense or idea that is relevant for
Anthropological reflection and methodological reflexivity are needed to account for selection process and ethical considerations as well as ethnographic contextualisation. An Atlas Ti or other program that allows for synchronously scrolling transcript and/or translation, is highly recommended for documentation purposes. Anthropological reflection and methodological reflexivity are needed to account for selection process and ethical considerations as well as ethnographic contextualisation, and to account for the chosen documentary mode or style of representation and reflects on the content of the form..
Reflection on anthropological themes and analysis and methodological reflexivity are needed to account for selection process and ethical considerations as well as ethnographic contextualisation, and an account of the chosen documentary mode or style of representation and reflection on the content of that mode. (Alan Grossman: NOT SURE OF DISTINCTION BETWEEN ETHNOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARY AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL DOCUMENTARY)
Artistic documentary with
Ethnographic Multimedia website
7 8 9
Anthropological Multimedia Installation Photographic Essay Photographic Exhibitions
anthropological discourse and that is inspired by anthropological theory, but that makes use of the expressive qualities of cinema to communicate that experience to its viewers. Production can be multi-authored. Organised trajectory through a Collection of (often multi-authored) productions made by the anthropologists and or artists, members of the community, and other parties (generated through research in archives or internet). Set in an ethnographic interpretative context, sometimes enabling dialogue and knowledge sharing, through blog-like features. Diverse Non lineair trajectories through content possible. Single (anthropologist) author/Multi-authored, including the anthropologist/Collaborative cooperation. A setting where different media productions are shown in projection or on screens, combined with exhibited photographs, texts or objects. Clearly defined subject Narrative structure in the organisation of photo’s Authored Content, framing and aesthetics of photographs can be accounted for from anthropological perspective. Sequence of images that are interconnected through theme or
Text is part of the website. PDF’s with more analytical or anthropological discursive writing may be embedded within the website.
Methodological and reflection and anthropological positioning on construction, methodology & positionality will Usually combined with contextualizing and explanatory text, dialogue, etc.
2. RELATION TO TEXT There has been a debate since long, if anthropological media productions could stand alone or should always be accompanied by a written text. In the Categorisation above, the relation to text is seen as intrinsic to each Visual Ethnographic/Anthropological work. This is a question we may discuss through Proposition 4, where we refer in first instance to productions made beyond the educational setting. Proposition 4: The status, aim and relation to the non-literary form of an accompanying text needs to be defined per project. Format of written Report/Essay 1. Theoretical exegesis. 2. Ethnographic Contextualisation. 3. Methodological reflection/Reflexive approach. 4. Transcript of spoken texts. 5. Treatment and discussion on feed-back to media-production by participants. 3. THE ANTHROPOLOGIST AS AUTHOR Since Writing Culture (Clifford & Marcus 1986), and earlier, in the works of Edward Said (1978) and Jay Ruby (1980), the importance of exposing oneself as a researcher and as ‘instrument’ of research in a cross cultural and hegemonic setting, has been acknowledged as an important aspect of situating anthropological knowledge. Since then the tendency of the discussion on performing ethnographic research has moved towards ‘dialogue’, ‘performance’ (Fabian et. al) and ‘collaboration’ (also see papers for the seminar at the GIEFF in 2012). These Proposition 5: Visual Anthropologists should clearly communicate their (shared) authorship, role (AAA), their intentions and their positionality in a visual ethnographic/anthropological project, as part of the relation with both (members of) the community of research and the anticipated ‘audience’. Authorship 1. The anthropologist as single researcher and author acknowledging those with whom the research and recording was performed 2. Collaborative project with (foreign or local) colleagues 3. Collaborative project with members of the community (as authors and codirectors/researchers) 4. Participatory (in the sense of an emancipatory project) Role(s) in the project 1. Researcher/academic advisor/access to community for a film-crew 2. Researcher filmmaker (all content and technical procedures) 3. Interviewer/soundperson 4. Photographer 5. Editor Intentionality 1. Description 2. Contribution to theoretical discussion 3. Applied research 4. Advocacy 5. Art 6. Broadcast for general audience Positionality 1. relation with the community/specific persons in the community
2. 3. 4. 5.
Male/Female Age Control of language/translator Period of research/knowing the community
4. GUIDELINES FOR DESIGNING A ‘MODEL ’ OF VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL/ETHNOGRAPHIC PROCESS IN AN EDUCATIONAL SETTING More and more Visual ethnographic process is acknowledged as ‘practice based research’, which puts other demands to how process and product of research are evaluated and of what the actual visual ethnographic/anthropological product may consist. This refers especially to the relation between and content of the written text to the audiovisual production. (See AVPhD website) Never the less, most PhD students struggle with the relationship between text and other forms of representation, and with their supervisors (often not Visual Anthropologists) for that matter Kathrin Oester, in cooperation with the Audiovisual Committee of the Swiss Ethnological Society developed a set of evaluation Criteria for the assessment of Visual Anthropological work of students, in January 2010. She suggests that each academic institution may wish (and needs to for the sake of teaching) to design its own ‘model(s)’ of the visual anthropological/ethnographic research-process. The ‘Swiss model’ of the visual ethnographic process is described here below. . (Alan Grossman: I AGREE WITH THIS PROPOSITION – EACH INSTITUTION NEEDS TO DETERMINE HOW IT WISHES TO EVALUATE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE WRITERLY AND AUDIO AND VISUAL MEDIA IN TERMS OF VOLUME, QUALITY AND RANGE OF POSSIBLE MEDIATED OUTPUTS – WE CANNOT PRESCRIBE FOR EXAMPLE THAT IT IS A 50-50 SPLIT, ETC) Proposition 6: The visual ethnographic/anthropological process used within a student’s research project needs to be defined as a method by supervisor and/or student. How to assess ethnographic films that are submitted as BA or MA projects , is always subject to debate. Uncertainty arises amongst others, in relation to the question: what is the right approach for the production of an ethnographic film. The definition of quality criteria can therefore not be seen separate from that question. The following summary, therefore first sketches 1. a ‘model’ for the process of producing an ethnographic film 2. And describes based on that a selection of the most important qualitycriteria. The proposed process is not intended to be perceived as normative, but as empirical knowledge, which highlights possible steps of action for those students that may want to make an ethnographic film, in the production process. 1. Approach to the production of ethnographic films - Description of the research, production and post production process The following summary is based on the film production process and can only partly be transferred to other media. The procedure described is designed according to the function that a production must fulfill and to the audience it is intended for, in different ways. In particular, with regard to the question whether the product is intended for academic or applied anthropology. 1.1 Research / Preparation First phase - in analogy to survey in case of doing research for a written work, the first
Step, consists of studying existing (visual) representations of the focus group or of the research topic (films, reports, scientific work, TV productions, etc.) – Depending on the topic, it is possible also to study the visual practice of the focus group itself (private collection of photos, footage, etc.)
Second phase - Ethnographic research in the focus group, respectively, researching the topic - selection and inspection of the locations - contacting potential protagonists and explanation of their intentions Third phase: - Methodological use of the camera and formal-aesthetic decisions (observational cinema, dialogical, evocative, subjective inclusion of fictional elements, re-enactment, application of the feedback method (elicitation technique), cinéma vérité, experimental, etc.) - Determination of the target audience - Writing of a treatment (in the observational mode: by the filmmaker, in a participatory mode together with research partners) - Selection of the technical equipment - Ev. Fundraising - Ev. Obtaining a film-permit 1.2 Production Recording in the field - Variant a) Observer Mode Participant observation with the camera in the treatment in focused areas. Target (depending on treatment): maximum participation in social life - Variant b) Participatory approach Discussion of existing themes, determining the film-locations and moments with the research partners - Optional:. Use the feedback method - Optional: Procurement of visual documents of the focus group - viewing of the recorded material 1.3 Post-production - For large amount of material producing a cut list (with details of the Time Code) - Cutting / Montage a) Observational mode, by the filmmaker b) Participatory mode, together with research partners - the visual examination of the rough cut with the research partners / representatives of the target audience - Final cut 1.4 Distribution - Dependent on the target group - Dependent on the medium We could add to 1.4: Agreement form needs to be signed /recorded consent must be given to expose the production to a general, external and/or specific audience, or audiences that should be excluded from viewing. The latter remarks refer to the ethics of doing ethnography touched upon by Oester below.
5. CRITERIA OF ASSESSMENT OF NON-LITERARY FORMS OF REPRESENTATION IN AN EDUCATIONAL SETTING Here we make a division between the evaluation and supervision of the visual ethnographic or anthropological process, and the evaluation of visual anthropological products in an educational setting. Most supervisors of visual ethnographic projects, will include the research-, production- & post-productionprocess in the evaluation of the work of their students, however external examiners will –most of the time- only be able to evaluate the final outcome of a research performed by students (BA, MA or PhD). As written fieldwork reports in main stream anthropology are also mostly evaluated as products and not as process, we will focus (in first instance) on evaluation of visual anthropological products, while we would like to open discussion on the question if we could recommend to include the ‘process’ in the guidelines for evaluation and how (see appendix). Proposition 7: External supervisors should follow guidelines for assessing non-literary forms of representation that are decided upon by nationally or internationally assigned, established group of visual anthropologists. In 2002/03 Felicia Hughes Freeland developed a project together with her students, part of which was to develop assessment criteria for the productions students made based on a short term ethnographic research. The criteria that came out of this project are also mentioned below. Kathrin Oester advises supervisors to consider the interrelatedness of method, form and content: In principle the evaluation of the scientific and formalaesthetic quality of an audiovisual product, should be considered as one analytical unit. In the written assessment therefore cinematic scenes and sequences, the use of camera, sound and lighting, and specific assembly techniques should be woven into the argument. The quality of an ethnographic film is based largely on the quality of previous research, respectively the research with the camera. 2) Quality criteria for the assessment of ethnographic films (Swiss model) a. Assessment of the (cinematic) product: scientific intentions, knowledge and formal-aesthetic approach The following criteria are limited to the style of the film: - Is the film mainly depending on dialogues respectively on interviews? - Is the person interviewing respectively, the filmmakers in the picture? Which ‘statement’ is connected with that choice? - Is the film with long or short sequences? - What with the rhythm in the statement? - What functions have certain cinematic settings as close-ups, respectively? Long shot? - What role have the original sound, respectively mounted to the music? - Is the film with a commenting voice off? - If it is narrative, and if so to what effect? - Are special effects used? If so are they used appropriate? - Do text appear in the film and with what effect? - Is the film subtitled? Quality of subtitles. - Etc.
The description and analysis of the style of a film helps to identify scientific evidence and to assess and judge the formal aesthetic interpretation in their interconnectedness. Felicia Hughes Freeland adds two categories of more pragmatic guidelines, which could be applied when assessing a student-production: 1. Production a) Evidence of competence in basic production techniques. • Shooting: is it steady? Are the camera movements well motivated, following the action? • Use of available light: can we see what we need to see? Is there excessive glare or darkness? • Are sound recordings audible and well balanced? • If questions have been asked, do they fit in or do they intrude • b) Evidence of adequate research, planning and content selection • Is the range of situations filmed sufficient to explore the topic, given the time limits imposed by the module? • Can we see signs of sufficient advance planning? • Is there evidence of a good working relationship between the team and the subject(s)? • Does the content satisfy any ethical concerns we might have? • Does what we see inspire confidence in the filmmakers’ representation of the subject? 2. Editing/ Postproduction a) Evidence of technical competence in basic editing • Do the selected shots contribute to an overall ‘story’? • Are the cuts from one shot to the next satisfactory? • Is the ordering of scenes effective? • Is the pace and the mood appropriate to the subject? • If used, are non-observational techniques, such as voice-overs and other forms of non-synch sound justified? b) Evidence of interpretation and judgement in producing a coherent account of the topic • Is the topic of the film clearly established in relation to the billing in the report? • Is there a sense of narrative development (beginning, middle, end)? • (optional: to what extent does the film engage with or raise an anthropological issue?) 6. ASSESSMENT/EVALUATION Of THE ACCOMPANYING TEXT Whilst in works by researchers beyond the educational setting, the relation between text and non-literary form of representation may be defined by the researcher, in the educational setting, each institution will request of students to account for the Visual Anthropological process. Proposition 8: In the educational setting, the relation to ethnographic context, method, anthropological theory and conditions of research and consent (ethics) needs to be accounted for in a written text. Kathrin Oester et. al. suggests as themes to reflect on: - Critical reflection about the methods chosen in field research, the choice of the genre / style/ documentation and justification of each step, from research to
distribution/ cooperation with research partners/ the selection of the protagonists, etc. - Discussion of the work in relation with the theory of visual anthropology / Media Anthropology – - Theoretical and practical implications for the sub-discipline of visual anthropology /Media Anthropology. We would like to add: - Discussion of the work in relation to Anthropological Theory. - Ethnographic contextualisation b. Assessment of the approach and its reflection in the written work: adequacy of the (methodological) approach and use the (technical) resources Depending on the function of the product (Archival material for further processing and analysis, production, which contributes to the theoretical discussion, didactic teaching film for the mass media of certain film, commissioned film in applied anthropology, etc.), what should be assessed is how the methodology is presented in the written work and expressed in the film : - Did the purposes of goal-oriented approach and field research with the research group lead to the required scientific results? - Is the (methodological) approach in the written work presented plausible and convincing? - Are the technical and respectively formal aesthetic decisions, discussed critically in relation to their respective impact on how the content is communicated? - Did the method used - for example the feedback technology - achieve the desired objectives? - Have your own action, the chosen genre, respectively, the stylistic devices been reflected upon in a critical manner (eg, strengths and weaknesses of the audiovisual media in the context of the subject matter)? - Has the researchers own behavior and way of engagement been adequately integrated in the theory of visual anthropology / media anthropology? (Alan Grossman: I WORRY THAT WE MAY BE TOO STRINGENT IN IMPOSING PROCESS-LED MODES OF WRITING CAPTURING THE METHODOLOGY WHICH WILL STRIP THE MEDIA ARTEFACT OF ITS INHERENT PROPERTIES – IN OTHERS WORDS, A BLOW BY BLOW REFLECTIVE ACCOUNT COULD BE TEDIOUS AND NOT VERY ILLUMINATING – WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE THE INCORPORATION OF DIFFERENT MEDIA AND NOT MEDIA CONTENT (FILMS, PHOTOGRAPHY, LITERATURE, WEBSITES, WHATEVER) THAT INSPIRED THE STUDENT’S WORK, ETC ) 2.3 Scientific quality, innovation, originality and ethical acceptability Formal-aesthetic approach, innovation and originality The scientific quality is as said closely tied to the formal-aesthetic realization of the cognitive aim. So in assessing the Montage should be considered whether and in what way the presented ethnographic material (percepts) require factual context within the montage. But also in terms of innovativeness and originality of the film project, the formal-aesthetic approach plays a central role. In particular, we assess whether and how the camera through its use itself has become a research tool. Ethical considerations - Inherent in the use of the medium film is that the relationship of the ethnographer with the subjects is visible in the material itself - for example in the manner in which the protagonists react to the filmmaker -. The film material thus
allows conclusions on the relationship between researcher and research partners. - For the release of a film, other criteria have to be considered than for scientific text, as film potentially reaches a wider audience. In particular, visual materials are not anonymous and its publication requires prior arrangements with the protagonists. Felicia Hughes-Freeland offers the below points of consideration for supervisors 3. Evidence of learning and reflexive realization as demonstrated in the report • How well does the report trace the process of decision-making in planning? • How well does the report describe the reasons for changes of approach/topic/focus during filming? • How clear is the explanation of the editing process (selection, construction of narrative through the ordering of shots, etc.)? • How fairly does the report evaluate the effectiveness of the teamwork throughout the whole process? • How fair and sensitive is the discussion of the nature of the contract between the student team and the subject(s) and any other relevant ethical issues? • To what extent does the report demonstrate an accurate selfevaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the film produced? • Is there any attempt to relate the film to film in general and anthropology? 7. PUBLICATION Crucial to the development of the field, is to discuss the question and procedures of how to get academic acknowledgement for works in non-literary form, and guidelines and criteria on standards to secure the quality of ‘non-literarypublications’. In most Universities, the production in terms of publications of academic staff actually counts in allocation of funds to the university departments. But in most systems audiovisual productions do not count as publications, or are categorized under ‘other’ or ‘artistic’ etc. Crawford writes: Firstly there is what we may describe as a systemic problem. When we try to enter our audio-visual work the system recognizes this only as ‘artistic’ work, i.e. we cannot register it under the same heading or category as written work as being academic. Secondly, and more importantly, such work is not recognised or acknowledged at par with written work, resulting in no funds being released from registering it.
This manifesto should make a stand to stress the need to adjust the list of options in digital programs that list the publications of employed researchers in academia, so that different forms of representation can be acknowledged on these digital forms. In Crawford’s report there are also references to a statement from Temple Hauptfleisch (University of Stellenbosch) about the changing climate in management-cultures at universities. Rules for assessing staff or applicants for vacancies in Visual Anthropology are rapidly changing.
One of the most tantalizing and annoying aspects of the current academic situation – in South Africa and elsewhere - is the enormous emphasis placed on the quantity (not quality!) of research outputs as a measure of excellence and a funding criterion, and consequently the way creativity is viewed and treated by academic planners and educational authorities. As the production-process of a documentary from start to finish, takes an average of 3 to 4 years or more, Those anthropologists that choose to publish by making documentaries or other forms of representation, may not reach their required amount of publications In the discussion we would like to invite everyone to name existing and emerging platforms that could be seen as fulfilling the need for top- peer-refereed platforms. Proposition 9: academic structures have to be developed and assigned that we acknowledge as standards for the official recognition of our work as being scientific/academic alongside the ‘normal’ written forms of production such as monographs, books and articles in journals. Our mission as CVA and as community of Visual Anthropologists will be to create publication platforms that we ourselves accept as standards of publication, which also means that these platforms follow certain procedures that make them acceptable to the academic world. Just this week, a new online journal was launched: Anthrovision (http://anthrovision.revues.org/), on the initiative of Beate Engelbrecht and Nadine Wanono supported by an editorial board of Visual Anthropologists, that for the first time will allow publishing peer-reviewed articles that include audiovisual media. We will need to make a list of all such online journals that accept multimedia publications, and we may also have to set up a similar online platform for the publication of different audiovisual productions. Ethnographic Film Festivals could organize their admission-procedures also more around the aim of having the selection of a documentary count as a peerreviewed publication. This might require that on admission, the selection commission of the festival publishes a review of the film or media production on its website or acknowledges the quality of the film in other ways, and that only festivals that follow such procedures will be acknowledged as academic platforms for publication. Even though most Visual Anthropologists accept selection for an ethnographic film festival as a ‘peer review’ Crawford however mentions: … as my experiences show, what is the point if so few of the films submitted are actually made by anthropologists from research institutions relying on ‘academic credit’? …… I find it thought-provoking, if not actually mind-boggling, that most films shown at ethnographic film festivals are made by non-anthropologists or with no anthropologists involved, and in contexts outside the academic world. ……………. I must, somewhat embarrassingly, conclude that many of those most critical of the ways in which filmic approaches employed in anthropological enquiry are given appropriate credit for their work, and this to a certain extent sadly includes my own work, actually fail to deliver the ‘required’ results. There is thus firm evidence that not only are far too few, for example, ethnographic films produced (here defined rather strictly as films made by what Jay Ruby, pers. com. to many of us, has often called ‘card-holding’ anthropologists, i.e. those with a PhD and a
tenured position), but that those who make them, seem to neither deliver academically in text nor film forms (again with a few notable exceptions). In many ways I regard this as far more serious than what initially triggered the whole investigation of which this is the report. We may presume that if audiovisual productions are accepted as publications it will encourage Visual Anthropologists to produce more audiovisual productions within academia. However, there remains the issue of Funding. Most colleagues’ report of multiple rejections of research-projects with an audiovisual component submitted to academic funding agencies 8. FUNDING Given the reduction of academic funding and the enormous number of researchprojects submitted to funding agencies, it is rare that an audiovisual project receives its finances from an academic institution. As non-academic funds will usually put other demands to the style of filming and the projected audiences, the filming anthropologist is caught in a Catch 22 situation. The resulting film production may inevitably be less academically focussed, and in order to also get such acknowledgement he or she may have to perform double, or even ‘triple’ work, as he/she will also be required to write an accompanying text. In the future, we may have to think of setting up fundable projects in a more strategic way in which collaboration with writing anthropologists may dismiss us from the duty to do double work, and may increase the chances of getting funded. On a structural basis we have to perform concerted efforts to convince academic funds to include research-projects that have an audiovisual component. This component will not only improve public exposure to anthropological research, but it will also enable many more ways of collaboration and participation in research by members of the communities in which research is performed. Proposition 10: Obstacles to funding of research-projects that include non-literary forms of representation need to be removed, by stressing developments in the wider societal context; the other ways of communication that such projects enable; the public outreach of nonliterary forms of representation; and the collaborative nature of such research-projects either with colleagues (anthropologists and other disciplines) and/or with members of the community. Funding is directly linked to how academic committees appreciate the contribution of proposed projects to societal discourses and developments. The often noted (Eriksen 2006) isolation of anthropology from important public debates is partly the result of its presuppositions that may be experienced as subversive to the public opinion, its non-strategic stance, its inter-subjective methodology, and the anthropological mode of writing. The question is: can the subversive speak? Extending anthropological and ethnographic knowledge and understanding into the public debate through other media could carry that voice outside academia.
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