Faye Ginsburg – Tromsø visit 3-5 May. Keynote speaker

The Research Group on Comparative Indigenity (KURF) is sponsoring Fay Ginsburg’s visit to Tromsø, where she will give a keynote talk and attend seminars at the Anthropology Conference Tromsø 3-5 May 2013.

Her title: Fourth Cinema and future imaginaries: Australia’s indigenous new wave

The concept of Fourth Cinema was coined by the late Maori filmmaker Barry Barclay as a way to comprehend the distinctive role played by Indigenous cinema both on and off screen in decolonizing both histories and future imaginaries.  This talk uses Barclay’s ideas to consider what I call Australia’s Indigenous New Wave of successful yet challenging works that raise troubling questions about Aboriginal responsibility. For example,  Samson and Delilah, the first feature by Aboriginal Australian filmmaker Warwick Thornton,  is a remarkable portrayal of the harsh conditions of life for Indigenous youth in Central Australia. Selected for the Cannes Film Festival, it picked up the coveted Camera d’Or Award for best first feature film of 2009. By 2011, two other features by indigenous directors of the same generation premiered in Australia: Beck Cole’s  Here I Am story of a young Aboriginal mother bleak journey finding her feet in Adelaide after being released from jail, and Ivan Sen’s Toomelah, set in the remote Indigenous community bearing that name, depicting the dilemmas of  Indigenous masculinity through the eyes of ten year old Daniel who gets caught up in drug running. My talk addresses this recent “new wave” of Indigenous filmmakers who  – like the French directors who coined that name — work with non-professional actors, shoot on location, and offer highly original iconoclastic aesthetics. They each tell unblinking stories of the grim situation for many young people in Australia, but who each end their stories with a moment of recognition of a possible future. Despite the difficulties of contemporary life that are so clearly rendered in their works, how are the on and off screen practices of these contemporary indigenous storytellers using the power of Fourth Cinema to envision a future imaginary for Indigenous Australians?

Faye Ginsburg is a professor in anthropology and director, Center for Media, Culture & History, New Yourk University. She is working and teaching on Indigenous Media.

Indigenous Media


I am completing a book based on research over the last two decades with indigenous filmmakers entitled Mediating Culture. It looks at the complex challenges posed by the development, circulation, and multiple meanings of indigenous media worldwide  — with a particular focus on Aboriginal Australia — to the field of visual anthropology, and the globalization of cultural processes.   Check out this discussion on In Media Res that I curated for a sense of what is going on in this field. http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/imr/2009/05/01/beyond-broadcast-launching-nitv-and-isuma-tv

On March 3, 2013 with support from the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, I had the privilege to organize and host a “sneak preview” of the new feature film, The Sapphires, Directed by Indigenous Australian actor, writer, and director Wayne Blair. http://nyuskirball.org/calendar/sapphires, including a terrific Q & A with Wayne.

In May 2012, I gave the 2012 Gerbrands Lecture, at the University of Leiden, Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden, Netherlands on Australia’s Indigenous New Wave; and was invited to speak on Fourth Cinema and Future Imaginaries at a conference entitled The Artist as Ethnographer at the Musée du Quai Branly  in Paris. I also gave a talk on Visualizing Disability, at the Beeld voor Beeld Film Festival in Amsterdam.


In July 2012, I was a Visiting Professor at the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia, where, with Toby Miller, I taught a week-long interdisciplinary seminar for graduate students on Qualitative Methods in Ethnographic Research and Cultural Studies. While in Sydney, I stayed on in order to carry out research on new developments in indigenous media, in particular with the Indigenous Departments at the ABC, and at Screen Australia, and a chance to be on set for the fantastic new series, Redfern Now. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/redfernnow/

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