Programme for the international symposium:
The Nordic Eye (and Mind) meets the South. Visual Anthropology and Cultural Critique in the Nordic Countries and in Northern Cameroon
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
26-28 August 2019
Organised by Peter I. Crawford (Department of Social Sciences, UiT) and
Rossella Ragazzi (The Arctic University Museum of Norway)
One may argue that the birth of visual anthropology in the Nordic countries was marked by the foundation of the Nordic Anthropological Film Association (NAFA) in the mid-1970s, around twenty Nordic anthropology institutions, universities and museums, joining forces to promote the use of the film medium in research, teaching and public information. The term visual anthropology was not even widely in use at the time, and there were no degree courses at any university in the Nordic countries, and very few in the world. The anthropology departments in Tromsø and Aarhus were both founding members of NAFA. More than forty years later this symposium is celebrating the success, academically and otherwise, of visual anthropology and ethnographic film in the Nordic countries by bringing together scholars from or related to these two existing fortresses of visual anthropology, using film and other visual media in their research as well as offering international master programmes. Collaboration has always been a key issue in all this, perhaps most clearly seen in the way that UiT for many years has helped develop similar activities and programmes in Cameroon and Mali. The symposium thus forms an encounter of different ways of conceptualising visual anthropology and the diverse manners in which visual media are used in anthropological research. See: https://uit.no/tavla/artikkel/635984/international_symposium_the_nordic_eye_and_mind. To register for the event: https://egencia.qondor.com/ParticipantWeb/Registration/92548
Asen Balikci, one of NAFA's first honorary members, has passed away
I received the sad news that Asen Balikci had quietly passed away in his home in Sofia on the morning of the 4 January on my way to a seminar in northern Cameroon as part of the VISCAM project on visual anthropology. Such an event was truly in the spirit of the pioneer of our subdiscipline, who was the first chairman, in the 1980s, of the Commission on Visual Anthropology (CVA) of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES). He was one of the last remaining giants of early ethnographic film and visual anthropology, and one of NAFA's first honorary members, sadly the first one of these to pass away. He was also a very dear friend to many of us belonging to the more senior segment of visual anthropology, and although he did not travel in recent years, he was one of the most active participants in festivals and conferences all over the world, and his presence at these will be sorely missed. The last time we had the honour of inviting him to present his work at the annual NAFA festival was almost exactly 10 years ago, at the festival in Isafjordur in Iceland, during which Asen took us on a tour de force of his own work with a powerful, enthusiastic focus on that part of his oeuvre for which he is probably and rightfully best known, his amazing Netsilik Eskimo Series. Younger people can google all his tremendous achievements while those of us who knew him well can mourn with the memories of all the wonderful times we had together with him.
Peter I. Crawford, Douala, January 2019.
NAFA at 7th Anthropological Film Festival in Jerusalem, 20-22 November 2018
NAFA is being showcased in a keynote presentation at the Cinematheque in Jerusalem as part of the 7th Anthropological Film Festival: https://www.jer-cin.org.il/en/event/25511
NAFA 2018 was held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 11-15 September 2018.
For more information please visit the dedicated festival site:
A dear friend, Manfred Krüger, cameraman par excellence, has passed away, a few days ago, after suffering from a lung disease for many years. Manfred was chief cameraman at the iconic, since 2010 closed down, German Insitute for Scientific Film (IWF) in Göttingen. He was cameraman on more than 80 films, having worked all over the world. He will be remembered by many of us as an excellent instructor, with an enormous patience with people who unlike himself, he was originally trained as a radio & TV technician, had little technical flair. His skills with a camera became legendary. At an ethnographic film festival many years ago, for example, the renowned American anthropologist and film-maker, Timothy Asch, commenting on a film Manfred had been cameraman on, said that it was a very nice film except he didn't like the very steady shots that were clearly shot using a tripod, only Manfred had not used one! He was also involved in the GIEFF festival, ensuring that all technical matters ran smoothly, as well as contributing significantly to making the festivals such great social events. He will be sorely missed.
29 April 2018, Peter I. Crawford (Professor of Visual Anthropology, UiT), who together with Manfred served as what we called 'flying doctors' at an international summer course in ethnographic film at the IWF in 1992.
Reni Jasinski Wright in memoriam
It is filled with shock and deep sorrow that the first piece of news in the new year is about the passing away of a dear friend of NAFA and a close colleague of those of us working in Tromsø. Reni passed away in her sleep the night between the 28th and 29th of December due to a heavy stroke. She had just ten days previously successfully defended her PhD thesis. It is such a meaningless loss to us all of a wonderful person who professionally, at the young age of 42, had reached her prime. Our thoughts are with her family, especially her children. May she rest in peace.
Peter I. Crawford (Professor of Visual Anthropology, UiT), 4 January 2018.
NAFA has launched the Journal of Anthropological Films (JAF)
Anthropological film can now be published on par with written articles, assessed by peers, and inscribed in international credential systems of academic publication as the Nordic Anthropological Film Association (NAFA) has launched this Journal of Anthropological Films (JAF).
Colin Young 90 Today, 5 APRIL 2017
NAFA's first honorary member, Colin Young (no further intro needed), has reached the mature age of 90 today. Greetings from NAFA to a dear friend.
NAFA became member of World Council of Anthropological Associations
The World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA) is a network of national, regional and international associations that aims to promote worldwide communication and cooperation in anthropology.
Fredrik Barth in memoriam
A giant of Nordic anthropology, Fredrik Barth, has passed away. Two of our German filmmaking friends, Rolf Husmann and Markus Hüsgen, have put a memorial edition of the film on Fredrik Barth, directed by Werner Sperschneider with the help of Peter Loizos, online:
Regards, Peter I. Crawford
Steef Meyknecht in memoriam
I am very sad to announce that my personal friend, and a close friend of NAFA, Steef Meyknecht, passed away on Saturday 21 November 2015. Actually it is no more that two months ago that Steef activiely took part in our NAFA event in Warsaw, where he organised an excellent workshop. Steef was one of the central figures, together with Metje Postma and Janine Prins, in the visual anthropology programme and environment in Leiden, originally initiated by Dirk Nijland, one of the mentors of all three. As a filmmaker and photographer, and anthropologist, Steef was known all over the world, having participated in numerous conferences and festivals, so I am acutely aware that this is a terrible loss for many of us. However, we should bear in mind the even greater loss for Liesbet Ruben, Steef's wife, and Maria, their daugher, our thoughts are with them. A funeral took place in Amsterdam on Monday, 30 November (link to a photo of the flower from NAFA is available in the righthand column). May Steef rest in peace.
Regards, Peter I. Crawford
Link to short film from NAFA2015 in Warsaw, dedicated to Steef Meyknecht: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbJtB-nvihQ
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