Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Visual Ethnography

Research on the interface between sensory embodiment and media aesthetics in on-going legacies of contentious politics

Mark Westmoreland

MSc Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology - Research opportunity

I'm a visual anthropologist with particular research interests in the interface between sensory embodiment and media aesthetics in on-going legacies of contentious politics. My research primarily engages with the Middle East, but I also have research experience in the Balkans, Ethiopia, and North America. I'm particularly interested in supervising students with an interest in social movements, activist organisations, political aesthetics, art movements, embodied epistemologies, etc.

For those students in the Visual Ethnography stream, I encourage students to design experimental, interdisciplinary, and multimodal research projects (see http://www.americananthropologist.org/multimodal-anthropologies/). Multimodal Anthropology provides a new conceptual framework based on changing media practices and media ecologies and has begun to transform the field of visual ethnography. These changes include a) increased accessibility of media production by researchers and researched, b) greater emphasis on collaboration between researchers and researched, and c) transformation of the professional responsibilities of researchers to researched populations. As such, multimodal anthropology not only addresses an expanded range of media outputs but also acknowledges the vital role anthropology plays in the greater public.

This year I will be joining the Ghana Field School with a project that uses immersive video (360 / VR) and other experimental methods. In a partnership with Sabine Luning, we hope to supervise a small team of students who will engage these tools in order to better understand the visualisation of land and waterscapes undergoing significant transformations, mainly due to mining practices.

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