By Aniek Santema Around 2 million Syrian refugees who fled the war have been stranded in Lebanon and many of them live in harsh circumstances. The following pictures will give a small insight into the lives of Syrian youth and show the world from their perspective, through their eyes. The pictures in this photo essay were taken by Syrian refugee girls in the city of Saida who participated in a workshop where they learned how to use visual methods as a way of self-expression. During the workshop the girls answered questions about themselves and their lives by using photographs and they took photographs about things that are meaningful to them. Here, a selection of six of the pictures is presented, along with the titles that the girls gave to them and a small explanation from my side.
Mariam is Maha’s sister and they are very close. Mariam took this picture and she shows how the childhood is lost for many children when they experience war, flight and exile. But Mariam feels that children do have this right.
This picture shows the collective shelter where Mariam and Maha live with their family and a few other families. It is an old house where the families are packed together. Each family lives in one room. For Mariam and Maha, this place has little comparison to their home village in Syria, where they had their own house and could walk around and play with their friends. Here, in the old house, it is hard to adapt.
Ayat lives in an unfinished university building, where she shares a room with her 9 brothers and sisters and parents. This shelter houses around a 1000 people, mostly from a community from the same rural area in Syria.
Whereas Syrian refugees in Lebanon are deprived from many civil rights, Ayat also calls attention to another right: the right to happiness.
Aniek Santema graduated from her master SCA at the VU last year, and wrote her thesis on lived experiences, education and future perspectives of Syrian refugee youths in Lebanon. She is currently working at Edukans, a development organisation for children’s education worldwide.
Dr Paolo Favero giving his AALS lecture at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
By Matthias Teeuwen Last AALS lecture was an inspiring and thought-provoking presentation by Dr. Paolo Favero on the myriad possibilities that emerging technologies provide to conducting ethnographic research. He talked about the implications of the use of i-docs (interactive documentaries such as Highrise), wearable camera’s (used exclusively in Leviathan), user GPS (Dr Favero gave an example of its use in Rider Spoke), and much more in ethnographic research. Here are some impressions. Continue reading →
By Matthias Teeuwen On Thursday 3 December 2015 the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the VU held its first ever Ethnographic Film Festival. Throughout the day ten films were screened in the Church Hall of the university, each followed by a short Q&A session with the filmmakers. What struck me during the screenings was the question: What is the difference between a documentary and an ethnographic film? What is the difference between making films in order to raise awareness about the plight of a group of people and making films in order to make a visual depiction of a group of people? Continue reading →
Anthropologists in Art presents: Neon Warszawski – Polish Neon, a photography exhibition on Socialist visual communication
By Ilona Karwinska & Krzysztof Wojciechowski
February 9th – March 16th @ WM GALLERY, Elandsgracht 35, 1016 TN, Amsterdam
OPENING: SAT. 9th OF FEBRUARY, 17.00-19.00
About the exhibition:
In 1957, at a conference in Czechoslovakia, Communist Party ideologues agreed that neon could be a way to reconcile the seemingly contradictory ideas of communism and consumerism in their ailing, state-run economies. The Polish Socialist Party, having created the state-run company ‘Reklama’, throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, recruited prominent artists and designers to bring about a transformation through light, playfully modifying the uniformity of the grey, drab socialist skyline. “Neon Warszawski – Polish Neon” shows the photographs of two Polish artists, photographer and Neon Muzeum director Ilona Karwińska and independent photographer Krzysztof Wojciechowski, whose photographs of old school Polish neon signs adorn the walls of WM Gallery. Both artists present the exquisitely designed neons from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s from different perspectives. Whereas Karwińska’s photographs present the signs from a more ‘documentary’ point of view, due to her efforts of rescuing the old signage from disintegration and anonymity, Wojciechowski’s black and white photographs from the 1970’s show us night-time Warsaw as it must have been; glum, dark and deserted, enlivened only by the fanciful rectangles and curls of Poland’s premier designers in light. Visit the official webpage HERE. Continue reading →
By Mirjam Dorgelo In my research I examined the practices of place, memory and belonging amongst former political prisoners who now work as tour guides at the very place they used to be imprisoned: the former secret Stasi prison in Berlin Hohenschönhausen. This short fieldwork documentary shows some of the dynamics of spatial characteristics and commemorative practices I observed during fieldwork. It depicts how the visible and invisible, the spoken and unspeakable sometimes become difficult to discern.