Workshop on Visual Anthropology, Ethnographic Film and Anthropological Knowledge

The Norwegian National Council of Anthropologist has recently stated, “Scientific film is… research and recognized as scientific production”. The National University Publication Committee has followed up with welcoming peer-reviewed films as point giving publications within the national system of scientific accreditation. As a consequence of these positive signals the Nordic Anthropological Film Association (NAFA) has started to create a peer reviewed publication channel for Anthropological films. These new options open up for discussions on Anthropological films and their cont
ribution to current debates within the larger field of Anthropology

Influential contributions, from Jean Rouch and others, have argued for filmmaking as a strategy for making invisible groups seen, heard and included in a reflexive research and mediation process. Frequently used concepts as ’Knowledge by acquaintance’ (Russell, i MacDougall, 1998) and  ’The Corporeal Image’ (MacDougall 2005) might contribute to the anthropological study of dimensions of social life that differs from those already existing within written Anthropology. The recent discussion on ‘Theory in Visual Anthropology’ (Hockings, 2014 and Piault, 2015) underlines how the use of audio-visual tools within an ethnographic research practise has a great potential for establishing new knowledge. The ‘embodied’, the ‘temporal’, the ‘topographical’ and the ‘personal’ are examples of dimensions’ of knowledge to be explored.

At the workshop in Tromsø we will focus on how film can contribute to the making of anthropological knowledge? We ask for papers, which goes longer than pointing at ‘the reflexive room of potentiality’, that through concrete empirical examples
relates to own research experiences and to what we experience as contributions to anthropological debates. For the workshop we ask for contributions that, through references to the discourse within the field of Visual Anthropology and own films, show how the work with film has relevance for the more general anthropological fields of knowledge that the films can bee seen as part of. That might be urbanisation, health, gender, generation, resource management and migration, to mention a few.

The aim of the workshop

Based on the papers presented we want to make a special number of Norsk
Anthropologisk tidsskrift (The national Norwegian Anthropology Journal) with links to the films that can be seen online while reading. The ambition of making a written publication makes us want the drafts to the papers by 15 of May. Jan Ketil Simonsen, NTNU, and one of the editors at NAT, will be participating at the workshop



We can ‘house’ approximately 10 presentations. The invitation is sent to anthropologists in Norway/Nordic countries that works with film. Professor Lisbet Holtedahl, which recently retired and one newly employed  (by then) Visual Anthropologist at VCS, UiT, will give their contributions at the workshop


Professor Paul Stoller, West Chester University, USA, and Associate Professor Jan Ketil Simonsen, NTNU, Norway is invited as external discussant.