Culture and Community Researchers’ Network: September 2012

Presenters: Pamela Bruder: Visual methods: articulating when words fail
Dr Anne Harris:
Ethnocinema and 21st century applied video

Program co-ordinator Poppy de Souza welcomes offers of contribution from potential speakers. Please contact Poppy on 0409 165 643 or

Pamela Bruder: Visual methods: articulating when words fail

Abstract: Ethnographic research in my workplace in an aged care residential facility, investigates the subjective experience of communal singing in the choir I run, for a group of ageing Holocaust survivors, within the context of their bodily and cognitive diminishment and the still wider context of negotiating the multiple challenges and losses associated with institutional life and social marginalization. Film has been a key research method in this exploration of whether this is indeed a context where transformative experiences occur, where people transcend their deficits and diagnoses and become a group of choristers. The presentation will look at how visual methods have provided data that working in the institution for several years, two years of participant observation and in-depth interviews did not capture, leading to how film sequences will be used in the body of the thesis.

 Pamela is a PhD candidate (Anthropology), at the University of Melbourne, School of Social and Political Sciences. She has also worked in the aged care industry for a number of years as a recreational therapist. In recent years, following the significant positive health outcomes for the people she works with, she has developed and implemented a variety of expressive arts-based programs that also incorporate inter-generational workshops. She has a deep interest in visual methods and has co-produced several short films on work-based research projects that have been screened at a number of national and international aged care and health and arts conferences.

 Dr Anne Harris: Ethnocinema and 21st century applied video

Abstract: Ethnocinema as a discourse has many disjointed definitions since Jean Rouch introduced the notions of ‘ethno-fictions’ and ‘cine-ethnographies’ in the 1960s, but is emerging more recently as a collaborative methodology for conducting video-based research that addresses intercultural and community-based projects. While arts based research in the academy is growing in ‘validity’ overall, intercultural research and pedagogies continue to be dominated by uni-directional discourses and monolithic notions of knowledge production and transfer. In this talk, Dr Harris will offer some provocations for others who wish to expand intercultural, collaborative and dialogic research with new and evolving methodologies and discourses.

Dr Anne Harris is an American-Australian playwright and Senior Lecturer in Creative Arts Education at Monash University (Melbourne), and has published over thirty peer reviewed articles or chapters in the areas of creative pedagogies and cultural studies. Her latest project Culture Shack – featuring international and intercultural artists – ran throughout 2010-2011 in Melbourne’s western suburbs, and used community arts workshops in playwriting, animation and hip hop with young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds as a pathway into further education. The pathway program continues in development. Her book Ethnocinema: Intercultural arts education is forthcoming in 2012 (Springer). She is a graduate of New York University where she studied playwriting with Arthur Miller, Tony Kushner and Maria Irene Fornes, among others.