Posts from the ‘Mike Poltorak’ Category
Reflexion– expression without words; a remark expressing careful consideration; a calm, lengthy, intent consideration.
Inter– Between, among; mutually; reciprocally
Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1, University of Kent, Tuesday, 3rd June, 1-7pm
This year’s screening and exhibition of third year visual anthropology projects was titled Inter-Reflexions. The organisation of the screening programme made more explicit how our students’ projects speak to each other as much as they do to the wide issues they engage with. They testify to the processes of collaboration and feedback they followed and inspiration they took from teaching in visual anthropology theory in the Autumn term.
In this yearly event we celebrate our students commitment to creative use of photography and video that takes visual anthropological methodologies into engagement with the issues and interests that inspire and fascinate them.
For the screening we started with the body’s most symbolised extension into the space that surrounds us in Matthew Neale’s Hair, a critical exploration of the meanings of hair and hair products. The student experience also featured strongly in Hollie Goman’s intimate enquiry into what university means to students, in The Art of Growing Up. In an altogether more imagined and playful space of magic and alternative use of university spaces, Jake Conley and Chelsey Jacobs, entered into the games of the Harry Potter inspired university club, The Hogwarts Society. By contrast, Liam Dorr took us off campus in an ethnofiction inspired film on one student’s plan for the perfect party. Ongka’s Big Moka was the inspiration, but Joel’s Big Party is a lot funnier.
From the student ‘hair’ and the now we moved to the theme of eternity and longevity in shorts that tackled religion, activism and laughter. Christiane Howe deepened our appreciation of arranged and sometimes fortuitous marriages in The Unification Movement. Annabelle Spooner travelled to South Korean churches in the UK to see the challenges they face in Yeswhonim.
In Of Families and Eternity, Robert Malin delivered new insights from behind the doors of the Mormon church. In fighting for the continued use of their skatepark on the Southbank, the activists that Henry Worger collaborated with in Culture with a Capital U, also desire a sense of continuity and longevity. Troy King’s The Act of Laughter delved deeply into the challenges of being a stand up comedian and found strong links with anthropology.
Dr Oliver Double, who starred in Troy King’s film, dropped in to contribute further insights into stand up comedy.
In the break we had the opportunity to look at the photographic exhibition. It covered similarly wide-ranging topics, exploring a range of photographic techniques within anthropology as well as diverse visual subjects. From the performance of gender and sexuality, to the effect of moving into a retirement home, to the emotional journey of a mixed-martial arts fighter as he prepares for, and takes part in, the biggest fight of his career, the photographic projects asked how, as researchers, we can explore and depict the encounters with life that make up the human experience using photography. This year’s photographers were: Alice Keegan, Lewis Batterham, Jamie Baird, Ayla Jay, Joanna Jones, Sarah Graham, Thomas Lindsay, Rebecca Scutcher, Keira Henderson, Daven Nijran-Talwar, Lydia Hill and Monique Dray.
We returned from the break to the themes of home, place and identity, linked in a series of shorts that travel from Cornwall to Canterbury’s Good’s Shed, to London protests against homelessness, to a novel exploration of the idea of stress and ending with one man’s fight with mental illness. Jesse Tomlinson tested claims for Cornish identity in Ve Bos Kernewek in a short in which he was also tested. In Localised, Oliver Seary took us to the heart and soul of local produce, through evocative visual portraits of traders from the Good’s Shed. Experimental in format with a challenging message, Mike Cadby, delivered a novel framing of the challenge of homelessness in Life’s a Beach. Scott Skinner addressed the question of how the idea of stress effects us using a key TED talk as a vehicle propelled by anthropological interest in the reception of media. A Stressful Perception aims to transform the audience’s perceptions. In Fragments of a Life, Simon Schwarz took us into the home of one man and their journey of facing mental illness through the camera.
Our final group of films shifted more deeply into the theme of reflection. In A Journey Into Landscape & Tourism in Aljezur, Alex Woodcock, journeyed to Portugal to meditate on a village where most of the population now live in cities.
In Transient Reflections, Becci Geach translated the experience of being human in moving trains into a visual aesthetic that linked us to fellow passengers. Piano Talk, focused on the destination. Helen Peek explored the reasons why people come from far and wide to play the pianos in King’s Cross Station. Naomi Webb’s Running Monologue, was a strikingly personal portrayal structured by a powerfully moving motif. Sam Parsons’ gravity defying film, Leave it on the Ground, opened up the social and personal motivations of sky divers and concluded our afternoon.
This concluded the screening part of the day.
This year we welcomed back Professor Hugh Brody to award the prize in his name. We were also excited to learn how the Tracks Across Sand project has developed since last year. Tracks Across Sand is a major video project that looks the history of the first indigenous land claim in Africa. Last year he started a major fundraising initiative to fund the dissemination of the film and to create an online resource. This year he confirmed that he has got funding to screen the film all over the African continent and to set up an archive at the University of Cape Town.
This year we also welcomed a new judge for the screening to award the David Pick Documentary Prize. In a career spanning more than three decades, David Pick produced and directed hundreds of television programmes in the UK, mainly for ITV. From science magazines (The Real World) to religious/ethical affairs documentaries (The Human Factor); from a twice-weekly live soap opera (Together) to filmed family comedy (Worzel Gummidge); from documentaries like The Tigers’ Tale, chronicling the excavation of The Channel Tunnel, to The Hannibal Test, which followed Ian Botham and elephants on a charity trek across the Alps.
Are Mothers Really Necessary?, a seven-part series for Channel 4 on the work of the controversial child-psychiatrist, Dr John Bowlby, was focused on three of his major studies: Attachment, Separation and Loss. The filming presented many practical and ethical challenges to the documentary-maker: in a residential unit for children suffering the effects of severe emotional and/or physical abuse; in day-care centres for babies and toddlers; in a preparatory boarding school; in the mother-and-baby units of British and American prisons; in the cancer wards of children’s hospitals; and with grieving parents in a children’s hospice. Since retiring from TV, David has studied Creative Writing, taking two modules of a part-time BA at UKC before joining the MA programme at Christ Church Canterbury, where he gained a distinction. His first novel, Mrs May: A PsychoSexual Odyssey, tells the story of a primary schoolteacher’s mission to redeem a teenage thug, once a delightful child in her reception class. Mrs May is available as a paperback or e-book on Amazon.
In the dialogue between Hugh Brody and David Pick we hoped to find the creative tension and possibilities between the increasingly blurred boundaries of ethnographic and documentary filmmaking.
The photography prizes were judged by Glenn Bowman and Maria-Paz Peirano. Maria-Paz Peirano is a PhD student researching Chilean cinema. Glenn Bowman is a reader of social anthropology at the University of Kent, Director of the Liberal Arts programme and a visual anthropologist who uses photography extensively in his research in Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories of Palestine, Macedonia and Cyprus.
To see photos of the day please click on our Flickr photostream.
Photography prizes went to the following:
Most innovative use of photography: Sarah Graham for ‘Threads of History’
Anthropological Vision: Jamie Baird for ‘The evolution of Murals in East Belfast’
Best overall photographs: Joanna Jones for ‘Timberlina: an anthropological case study of a contemporary drag artist’
The photography exhibition can be viewed online here.
David Pick Prize –Fragments of a Life – Simon Schwarz
Peter McCulloch, the key protagonist and collaborator in Simon’s film received the prize in his absence.
David Pick Runner Up- Localised– Oliver Seary
Special Commendation- The Unification Movement– Christiane Howe
Hugh Brody Prize –Running Monologue–Naomi Webb
Hugh Brody Runner Up Prize- Joel’s Big Party – Liam Dorr
Audience Prize-Fragments of a Life–Simon Schwarz
Photographs by Caroline Bennett and Mike Poltorak.
The screening and exhibition of third year anthropology student visual projects took place over a long afternoon in Marlowe Lecture theatre. The event was attended by a large group of students, staff and people who had featured in the films. We were especially happy to see Caroline Grundy, a longstanding member of staff who had recently retired. For many years she had wanted to be present for the whole event.
This year’s photographic display covered a wide range of themes, demonstrating a common desire among students to engage with people in the local area and explore anthropology’s relevance for making sense of cultural difference in Southeast England.
Topics covered include the Kurdish Newroz (New Year) celebrations in Finsbury Park, sexuality, tattooing, Canterbury and its cathedral, cultural greetings, Canterbury markets and more. Photographic work by Katie Bowerman, Bianca Corriette, Helen Delmar, Myrthe Flierman, Sophie Giddings, Tabitha Hamill, Ville Laakkonen, Sarah O’Donovan, Sophie Tyler, Emma Ward and Matt Weston was exhibited in the Marlowe Foyer. Glenn Bowman judged the three photography prizes.
The theme of people’s engagement with place was also very strong in this year’s video projects. The Cathedral featured in two meditative films by Charles Beach and Claire McMurtrie.
We were extremely happy to welcome Professor Roger Just back this year. His popularity and inspiration in the year of his retirement had prompted the students that year to suggest a prize in his name. This was the last year that students taught by him were still at Kent. We were very happy to welcome a longstanding friend of the school Professor Hugh Brody, and previous Stirling Lecturer, to award a prize in his name. He took time from a intensive schedule of screenings of a groundbreaking film project that documents an indigenous land claim in South Africa.
In 2011 he gave a retrospective of his work at Kent. Our third judge, Dr Kate Moore, is also a documentary filmmaker and had recently been awarded her PhD in visual anthropology for a project in collaboration with the Powell-Cotton Museum on their Angolan collection that led to a major exhibit, ‘TALA! Visions of Angola’ that gained widespread acclaim. As the teacher of the course last year, we were especially interested to hear her opinion of the changes in filmmaking styles and focus from last year’s cohort, screened as ‘Self Spaces’ .
We reflected on the students last year and what were they doing now. Nazly Dehganiazar and Harriet Kendall won the Roger Just and Hugh Brody prizes last year for their films ‘Canterbury’s Buskers’ and ‘Voices from the Back Seat’ and we were all very moved to watch their video messages from Holland and the US. Nazly is now doing an MA in Social Anthropology, while Harriet is using her anthropological skills, in the year before going to film school, as the cultural adviser in the English Village in Disneyworld.
Films were grouped into themes related to peoples’ engagement with space and introduced by the teacher of the video project, Mike Poltorak. After the screening of a group of films, the directors came to the front for a Q and A. If you’d like to make your decision about your favourite film please feel free to view and read about them before you read the judges’ choices below.
Noisy Neighbours Michael Selmes
Why Whitstable? Anastasia Sotiriou
Discontinuous Space Claire McMurtrie
Ethnochoreology Shaheen Kripalani
Cathedral Triptych Charles Beach
More Human Kane Taylor
The 1882 Movement Harry Farrell
Using the Stour Michael Bonnington
Starry Chi-An Peng
6 Miles Southeast Oliver Hall
The Lives We’ve Lost Bhokraj Gurung, Danny Mahaffey
Anglo-Deutsch Edward Coates
Under My Skin Olivia Maguire
From East to West Carmen Yam, Thomas Slatter
The Art of Being Lost Elinor Turnbull
Hugh Brody spoke about the high quality of films this year and how so many of the films deserved a prize. He reviewed all the film drawing attention to particular things he liked in each film. The judges’ decision however was unanimous. The Hugh Brody Prize went to Charles Beach for his film ‘Cathedral Triptych’. The runner up prize was awarded to Olivia Maguire for ‘Under My Skin’.
The Roger Just Prize for Visual Anthropology went to Chi-An Peng for ‘Starry’ and the runner up prize to Harry Farrell for ‘The 1882 Movement’.
The Audience Prize was voted on by a large audience of students, visitors and staff. It went to Elinor Turnbull’s ‘The Art of Being Lost’. The runner up prize went to Carmen Yam and Thomas Slatter’s ‘From East to West’. It was a close vote with the difference between 1st and 2nd only one vote and closely followed up by Bhokraj and Danny’s film, ‘The Lives We’ve Lost’ picking up a large number of second place votes.
The prize was awarded by Alex Woodcock, representing our very active student group TRIBE, and Kate Moore. TRIBE organised the first ever undergraduate conference (Breaking Bubbles) in anthropology in the UK.
For the photography prizes there were three categories and a special mention.
Katie Bowerman won the prize for Innovative Photography.
Tabitha Hamill won the prize for Best Set of Photographs.
Ville Laakkonen won the prize for Best Anthropological Content and received a special mention. As a visiting student from Finland, Ville was particularly happy to receive this accolade and commented on how studying at Kent had been an incredible beneficial experience.
The three prize winner’s work is currently on permanent display outside the visual anthropology room in the Marlowe Building.
Students and staff joined together to thank the teachers of the visual anthropology projects course this year, Matt Hodges (Photography) and Mike Poltorak (Video), for their inspiration and considerable work that went into preparing the exhibit and screening. Mike Poltorak thanked the students for their energy and creativity and expressed the desire for them to keep in contact after graduation to help inspire future generations of visual anthropologists.
You can see photos of the event here. You can also see all the films and read more about them in the dedicated blogs above.
We’d love to read any comments in this blog or in our facebook group, UK Visual Anthropology especially related to how these films can be useful more broadly. Please post the films you like on your networks so that our students get the wider recognition they deserve.
Video Prizes Awarded
Cathedral Triptych Charles Beach (Hugh Brody Prize for Visual Anthropology)
The 1882 Movement Harry Farrell (Roger Just Runner-Up Prize)
Starry Chi-An Peng (Roger Just Prize for Visual Anthropology)
Under My Skin Olivia Maguire (Hugh Brody Runner Up Prize)
From East to West Carmen Yam, Thomas Slatter (Audience Runner Up Prize)
The Art of Being Lost Elinor Turnbull (Audience Prize)
A Visual Anthropology Screening & Exhibition
In this year’s combined screening and photography exhibition we witnessed a tremendous amount of creativity and commitment to wide anthropological engagement.
The photographic exploration of Self S P A C E S took place in the foyer of the Marlowe Building. Comprising a mixture of students’ final projects and coursework, the subjects ranged from explorations of self and other, to documenting the transformation from animal to meat in an abattoir, to photographic explorations of museum curation. A steady stream of viewers took time to admire the work (including some of our local builders, who were thoroughly impressed!) and the high quality of work was commented on by many. The judges had an incredibly hard time deciding on the prizes for each of the categories, and after an hour of deliberation, the only way they could reach a consensus was to add an extra prize. Congratulations to the following winners:
Most Innovative Use of Photography – Harriet Thomas for her project ‘Hair and Identity’
Best Anthropological Context – Freya Williams for her project on Stonewalling in North Wales
Best Overall Photograph – Special Commendation – Matt Bullard for ‘Pig in an Abattoir’
Best Overall Photograph Winner – Holly Turner for her set ‘Brutiful Derby Girls’
The video project students presented their video shorts in a full afternoon of screenings, discussions and finally the awarding of prizes. Each group of films was introduced by Kate Moore before the films were shown back to back. The directors then answered questions as a panel, picking up on themes that linked their films. The judges included Roger Just, Glenn Bowman and last year’s winner of the Roger Just Award for Visual Anthropology, Max Harrison. Hugh Brody awarded his prize for Visual Anthropology by video.
The Roger Just Prize for Visual Anthropology went to Nazly Dehganiazar for her film ‘Canterbury’s Buskers’. The Runner Up Prize was awarded to Natalie Bonet for ‘Sundays on the Southbank’.
The Hugh Brody Prize for Visual Anthropology was awarded to Harriet Kendall for ‘Voices from the Back Seat’. The runner up award went to Sarine Arslanian for ‘Connecting Strings: Armenian Spirit in London’.
Harriet Kendall’s film also won the audience prize with joint runners up awards going to Wilhelm Hodnebo’s ‘Tony’ and Gabrielle Fenton’s ‘In Dover, the Border’.
To see all the films and learn more about the context and reasons for their making please click on the links below:
Who are we?
Fish, Chips & Change — Lazlo Hewitt & Jania Kudaibergen
Connecting Strings: Armenian Spirit in London–Sarine Arslanian (Hugh Brody Prize-Runner Up)
Student Diet—Anja Hoffmann
Walk Like a Man— Francesca Wicks & Natalie Freeman
Where are we?
In Dover, The Border — Gabrielle Fenton (Audience Prize-Joint Runner Up)
Among Hectic: Buskers in Canterbury High Street— Sabrina Pascoe
Sundays on the Southbank— Natalia Garcia Bonet (Roger Just Prize-Runner Up)
We Need to Talk about Abortion— Charlotte Claesson
Underwater Nation— Rachel Singer Meier
Invisible People – Berta Norman
Voices from the Back Seat – Harriet Kendall (Hugh Brody Prize & Audience Prize)
Through Our Eyes
Tony– Wilhelm Hodnebo (Audience Prize-Joint Runner Up)
Canterbury’s Buskers– Nazly Dehganiazar (Roger Just Prize)
Seeing Comes Before Words—Aimee Tollan
April 29, 2012
Our favourite and inspirational teacher of editing, Alan Miller, who teaches dedicated workshops as part of our MA Visual Anthropology programme is also a director and producer. We were really proud to hear that his debut feature, Kelling Brae, won the Best No Budget Feature at the London Independent Film Festival 2012.
In his words:
It all started, as most filmmakers’ influences so often do, in the dark.
I was the textbook blank page and it took Lampwick’s transformation into a donkey (Pinocchio), mankind’s transformation into the Star Child (2001 A Space Odyssey) and my stunned disbelief (the Mothership from Close Encounters) to propel me into a career in film.
I trained as an editor at the BBC in Cardiff, South Wales and took menial jobs on any features I could land being employed on two by Rick McCallum (Star Wars fans, vent elsewhere).
After coming runner up in The Lloyds National Screenwriting Competition in the late 80s, I decamped to London and was astounded at how many producers failed to smash my door down begging me to make their sagging second act work.
Speaking of work, I suddenly realised that rumbling stomachs don’t un-rumble themselves without sustenance so I walked into the first production company I could find and started doing what I’d been trained to do. At Partridge Films I learned how to tell stories, worked on some award winning wildlife films and figured out that working with people with real fire in their bellies was something I grew to love. You don’t get rich making wildlife films.
While editing a BBC Natural World, I got a chance to direct a documentary back at the BBC based on the fans of the greatest TV show ever made™, The Prisoner (1967). Despite the lure of the animal world into which I was immersing myself, I was anxious to break out into drama.
Back at Partridge, I learned to write and was eventually entrusted with directing, writing and producing a four part series on those who work in the Serengeti National Park. I was offered the first Steve Irwin show to direct (I turned it down out of a concern about where the genre was heading – Clue? Celebrity). I started work in Holland editing features. I directed, wrote and cut numerous documentaries for a Dutch company and managed to squeeze out a few screenplays (one of which got a commendation from an American competition).
And then it hit me – just before the HD revolution, damn it. The time was right to make a feature. After an extraordinary number of technical snags, screw-ups and hard drive crashes, it seemed as if its post-production would never bear fruit. One-person film-making is tough particularly if you have to keep working (and teaching) but there were no topical considerations in my little drama about two sisters-in-law fighting over their dead husband/brother. So softly, softly…
With the help of many talented friends, it’s made it out of post-production hell and into a dazzling new spotlight of sorts. So here we are… ‘
January 18, 2012
This weekend (20 – 22 Jan) at The Bargehouse (on the South Bank in London) there is an important, exciting event that challenges comfortable narratives that our waste can be contained, cleaned and endlessly recycled through resource recovery, and reclaims waste as a filthy, powerful and potentially dangerous material flow that has to be reckoned with.
Visitors are invited to bring an unwanted item of clothing and to follow its journey as it is sold for reuse and recycling across the world. Invisible global waste economies are brought into public view, as do the people involved and the impact that these businesses have upon their lives.
The show contextualises this research with collaborative projects including Meghna Gupta’s debut film Unravel and photographs by Tim Mitchell, both focussing on the shoddy industry in Panipat, north India. Lizzie Harrison of Remade in Leeds will host workshops on upcycling old clothing and rug-making from scraps, and a piece of textile designer Kate Goldsworthy’s resurfaced shoddy textile will be on display. And Oxfam introduces its innovative ‘Frip Ethique’ social enterprise in Senegal, which sorts unsold clothing from the charity’s UK shops for sale in the local market, creating livelihoods and raising vital funds for its work in West Africa.
On Saturday 21st Jan, ‘Talking Rubbish’ sees researchers, designers, filmmakers, business entrepreneurs and third sector leaders engage with the issues raised and their implications for the way in which we think about our old clothing.
Come along with a garment to donate to our charity shop and discover the hidden journey of the clothes that you recycle.
January 17, 2012
We have a unique opportunity for home and EU students to do a fully funded MA and PhD at our school.
The deadline is looming, so if you are interested please read the further details here and submit your application.
August 21, 2011
Homelessness is a key social issue in Canterbury, one that has become more serious as a result of the recession. Some of our students have either worked or volunteered for local organisations working on the issue. Others have engaged with homelessness in written or video projects. See for example Becca Toop’s project ‘Homeless but not Helpless‘ and Vanessa Maire and John Ireland’s project ‘Counting Down‘. We’re happy to announce that we have built a strong relationship with Porchlight, one of the key NGOs working on the issue in Canterbury and Kent. Students on our MA programme in Visual Anthropology now have the opportunity of doing a placement with Porchlight and develop new creative media products of use to the organisation. In turn our students learn about the collaborative process and develop media production skills.
You can read here the results of research carried out on homeless provision by the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent.
Third year undergraduate students have the opportunity to do a Photographic or Video Project in Visual Anthropology in the final Spring Term. For the video project the course begins with students making symbolic cameras that represent their own unique involvement and creativity in their projects. These cameras (see right), remind them of their artistic and creative visions during the trials and challenges of the collaborative process. The resulting videos are screened in the Summer Term to an enthusiastic group of staff, students and visitors. Two prizes are awarded. The first, the Roger Just Visual Anthropology Prize, is awarded by Professor Roger Just, much admired by students for his inspirational teaching. The second prize is voted on by the audience. This year the judges decided that Runners Up prizes were also awarded. Below are the projects, click on the link to see some of the films and learn more of the projects.
Sarah Molisso The Bubble (Runner Up Roger Just Visual Anthropology Prize)
Joanna Turner & Rose Delamare Young at Heart (Runner Up Roger Just Visual Anthropology Prize) Rosemary Headland & Dulcie Ruttley-Dornan Naughty Legs Becca Toop Homeless but Not Helpless (Runner Up-Audience Prize) Julian Warner Who Arrested Will and Gregg
In anticipation of an alumni event in May 2018, we have added basic information from the 2010 screening.
10 Sho(r)ts of Vérité
A Series of Films made by third year Visual Anthropology students
Location: Marlow Lecture Theatre 1
Date: Thursday 3rd June, 2010
Cheryl Ruck 80% Chance of Becoming a Lesbian
Dhanashree Karandikar Someone’s Gotta Do it
Amy Coggins Eau Du Chlorine (Roger Just Prize for Best Video Project)
Pip Megan Price Lazy Anthropology
Madeleine Gray & Sarah Colls Busking: A Theatre Without Entrance
John Ireland & Vanessa Maire Counting Down (Roger Just Prize for Best Video Project)
Anna Robinson Tina
Katie Clayton Touch, But Don’t Look
Christopher Platt One Man and His Boy
Ramone Fowler The Addict Within
Laura Bradshaw & Hannah Cooledge Morris: “The Most Fun you can have standing up”
5.20pm Award of the Roger Just Prize for best Video Project