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In the media – Dave Lewis

Dave Lewis (Department of Anthropology) and Billy Gerard Frank have been selected to exhibit exhibition Epic Memory for the Grenada Pavilion at this years Venice Biennale. Dave Lewis says “When I was thinking about it, I was thinking about the time on Earth which my father spent. He’s 100 years old now. I was thinking about the fragments – which Derek Walcott talks about in his poem – which exist within the house. Sometimes it’s the small things, like the beads that separate the rooms, the doily covers, which I would never have in my home. We see it and it fires off these memories. It’s really important to capture them through still image, something we can contemplate.”

Find out more >> 

Short film by Ricardo Leizaola about Dave Lewis and his exhibition

Wales Youth Forum on Gambling

On Thursday 27th June, the first youth forum on gambling was held which featured global experts, interactive discussions, debates, professional sports personalities and academic researchers, including Professor Rebecca Cassidy from the Department of Anthropology, all with the aim of engaging with a younger generation on the topic of gambling. Watch the video which captures activities from the day.

In the media
Watch a snippet on ITV news Wales which discusses the forum (8 minutes and 30 seconds).

Spotlight on….

Rambisayi and Nicole who are currently working with Emma Tarlo and Adom Philogene Heron over the summer period as part of GRIP: Research Internships. We caught up with Rambisayi and Nicole to find out more about what they will be working on over the coming weeks.

Rambisayi, BA Anthropology and Visual Practice 
This summer I have been given the opportunity to intern for Professor Emma Tarlo on a project titled Hair Biographies: How do we relate to the fibre that grows from our heads. This project focuses on people’s relationships to their hair. As an intern I will be employing ethnographic methods including photography, voice recordings and writing to compile a unique collection of personal hair stories. This is a very exciting opportunity for me as I get to be mentored by Professor Emma Tarlo whose work on material culture has inspired me throughout my undergraduate studies. As the project is in collaboration with, and is a part of a larger exhibition commissioned by the Horniman Museum I also get to be mentored by Dr Sarah Bryne, deputy keeper of anthropology at the Horniman Museum. The final output will be a short film that will possibly be shown at a larger exhibition commissioned to Prof. Emma Tarlo by the museum for exhibition in 2021.

 

Nicole, BA Anthropology and Visual Practice 
I will be working on the GRIP internship within the Anthropology department this summer, titled Anthropology and ‘Decoloniality’ with Dr.Adom Philogene Heron and Dr. Gabriel Dattatreyan. The final research project will be presented in the form of a website. The aim of the site is to host a dialogue about decolonization and its relationship to anthropology as a discipline, articulating efforts to decenter the anthropological canon by questioning established forms of knowledge production and what is considered legitimate within the academic space, including the medium that conveys information itself. Thus, there will be range of ways to channel and challenge ethnographic ideas through alternative forms to conventional academic text (and language), such as photography, film, audio recordings, etc. I am delighted to be part of this project and the ongoing discussion of decolonization in pedagogy, much of what has emerged from recent decentering meetings at Goldsmiths, as well as Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action group. I am looking forward to interviewing participants, reflecting on my conversations with them, and situating their perspective on a digital space for others to engage with. 

A tribute to Professor Stephen Nugent

Last month, the memorial for Professor Stephen Nugent was held in East London, who sadly passed away in November last year. Emeritus Professor, Brian Morris spoke at the memorial and has shared his tribute to Steve.

 

STEPHEN NUGENT (1950-2018 – A TRIBUTE) – written by Brian Morris 

(1)     INTRODUCTION

Steve Nugent was my friend and colleague at Goldsmiths College for over forty years. We were students together at the London School of Economics, undertaking postgraduate studies in anthropology and I first met Steve through our mutual friend Olivia Harris. In the 1970’s I went to undertake ethnographical studies of a South Indian community; Olivia went to Bolivia to study peasants; and Steve went off to the Amazon, significantly not to study some remote Amerindian community, but to study the people – the  Caboclos – of the city of Santarem on the southern bank of the Amazon.

I always found Steve something of an enigma, and he continually berated me for my lack of technological skills, but when he came to my surprise birthday party in October 2016, I felt deeply touched. As a birthday present he gave me a biography of  Henry Walter Bates – the naturalist of the Amazons. In fact, had it not been for Steve’s cajoling I probably would never have become a professor.

How then does one describe Steve Nugent? On his passing last November the Anthropology blog at Goldsmiths described Steve as “fiercely intelligent, defiant, loyal, caring, sceptical, humorous, persistently inspiring and forever disruptive!” He wasn’t so much disruptive as critical, for as a libertarian Marxist, he had a deep sense of dialectics. His relationship to both the Anthropology Department at Goldsmiths College and anthropology was therefore always one of unity in opposition.

Steve, as is well-known, was multi-talented, but I knew little of Steve in relation to his family life, or to his talents as a rock musician, or to his important contributions as a film-maker. I shall, therefore, simply offer my recollections of Steve as a colleague at Goldsmiths College, and as a unique and talented anthropologist.

(2)     GOLDSMITHS ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT.

Anthropology began at Goldsmiths College in 1975 when I was appointed as its first lecturer in anthropology. In those days Goldsmiths was viewed very much as a teacher-training college and Art School, and the degree courses came under the University of London regulations which stipulated that all undergraduate students had to take a subsidiary or “other” subject. I thus taught anthropology to a wide range of students taking degrees in psychology, geography, biology, French, chemistry and the like. I was a kind of evangelist, and as I had so many students taking anthropology as a subsidiary subject, the college agreed that I needed some support. In 1977 Pat Caplan joined me in the psychology department.

As there were then moves afoot with regard to the restructuring of the degree programme within Goldsmiths College, in 1978 Pat and I had the temerity to draft an outline for a degree programme in anthropology. The then warden, Richard Hoggart, was somewhat alarmed, and appointed an informal committee of anthropologists to advise him on the teaching of anthropology within the college. They approved our proposal but insisted that the college would have to appoint at least five members of staff. Thus in 1980 anthropology was established as a degree programme at Goldsmiths College. Steve was a member of the Department from the very beginning, being appointed in 1981. There were five of us in the Department; Pat Caplan, Nici Nelson, Olivia Harris, myself and Steve.

From the beginning the Anthropology Dept. at Goldsmiths’ sought to be different from other departments, and we adopted an ethos which consisted essentially of three aspects.

The first was that we would try to develop strong links with the local community at New Cross, continuing the ethos that had already been established at Goldsmiths, which was never a cloistered university. Indeed, anthropology was part of the Faculty of Adult Studies, and in the early days there were more students around in the evening than during the day!

Secondly, we were committed to developing a department that expressed a critical anthropology, both in terms of embracing a radical politics, and in terms of taking a critical stance within the discipline. The right-wing philosopher Roger Scruton has recently bewailed the fact that universities are full of academics who have left-wing sympathies and he advocates the privatization   of higher education. Unlike Scruton we sided with Socrates, feeling that as teachers we should encourage students to critically engage with the societies in which they live.

Finally, we felt that the anthropology department at Goldsmiths should be innovative, and from the outset we developed new innovative courses. One, “Psychological Perspectives in Anthropology” was taught by Steve and me over many years, as Steve had a strong interest in cognitive sciences. But we also had courses on “Sex and Gender” (then a novelty), the “Anthropology of Food”, on medical anthropology “Health, Medicine and Social Power” and later, a course Steve and I devised in “Environmental Anthropology” (long before ecology became a fashionable topic). We also initiated the first access course in anthropology. But perhaps in retrospect the most significant innovation was a course that had the title: “Anthropology, Representation and Contemporary Media”. I signed the course proposal when head of department in November 1984. Of interest is that “images of the primitive” and “ethnographic film as a form of knowledge” are listed among the scope of the course, and that “training in video techniques” was a practical aspect of the course. This course was therefore the embryo or seed that led eventually, largely through Steve’s enthusiasm and initiative, to the setting up of an MA in visual anthropology and the foundation of a Centre for Visual Anthropology.

Steve had two long spells as head of department and played a very significant and crucial role in the development and expansion of Goldsmiths’ Anthropology Department. In the early 1980’s there were five of us teaching joint degrees in anthropology and geography (we became a department in 1986); at the present time it is a large and flourishing department with twenty-five academic staff teaching five undergraduate and eight postgraduate degrees in anthropology, especially visual anthropology, at Goldsmiths College.

Yet it is well to recall that Steve always had a dialectical approach to Goldsmiths College, especially in the early years, and, to express this, at departmental meetings he would sit separately on the floor reading a book – (Adorno’s “Negative Dialectics” seems to have been a favourite). Nevertheless, he would always participate in the proceedings, often making some inspired comment, or crack a joke that would dispel any pretentions we may have had. 

(3)     CRITICAL ANTHROPOLOGY.

You are perhaps aware that anthropology is often viewed as going through a series of theoretical “turns” – radical changes in its approach to the understanding of human societies. In the 1970’s there was the “symbolic” or “interpretive” turn associated with Clifford Geertz, David Pocock and Mary Douglas: in the 1980’s there was the literary or postmodernist turn, associated with James Clifford and Stephen Tyler; while at the turn    of the present century there was the so-called “ontological” turn –particularly associated with Cambridge University and the acolytes of Marilyn Strathern and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro.

Although Steve engaged theoretically with these various anthropological “turns”, we do well to recall that he had very little time or sympathy with what he described as “mainstream” anthropology. He was highly critical of the narcissistic aspects of the “literary” turns which tended to view Nietzsche and Heidegger as “fonts” of anthropological wisdom. Steve was also concerned to go beyond the concerns of pure ethnography, and he bewailed the tendency of many anthropologists to focus on the more “exotic” aspects of a generalized “other”, to the complete neglect of concrete historical analysis, as well as the abandoning of any attempt to “explain” human social life and culture. I therefore always looked upon Steve as a kindred spirit, for he was essentially a historical anthropologist. He stood firmly in the Marxist tradition of Eric Wolf, Sydney Mintz and Immanuel Wallerstein. He was for many years editor of the journal “Critique of Anthropology”, and included among his close associates radical scholars such as Mike Rowlands, John Gledhill and the late Josep Llobera. 

Steve’s kind of anthropology was therefore realist – “down to earth” long before Bruno Latour – materialist – in marked contrast to the cultural idealism that permeated mainstream anthropology – historical and critical, as well as being inter-disciplinary. Indeed, as Mark Harris stressed, Steve was an avid reader of all things Amazonian, and drew for his studies on a wide range of sources – from the biological sciences to archaeology, economics and political ecology. Anthropology, for Steve, was therefore the study of concrete historical societies, and we should, he felt, seek to understand the underlying causes of social change. Given the modern crisis – social and ecological- Steve always lamented that the study of political economy had tended to be marginalized in recent anthropology.

Steve’s three key texts on the Amazonian region –“Amazonian Caboclo Society” (1993), “Scoping the Amazon” (2007) and “The Rise and Fall of the Amazon Rubber Industry” (2018) – are truly pioneering studies of historical anthropology – substantive, well-researched, politically engaging, and highly critical of the stereotypical portrayals of the Amazonian region and its people that tend to pervade literature – both popular and academic. All three books in fact reflect Steve’s ardent concern to challenge the common portrayal of Amazonia as a “green hell”; as a region that is inimical to human life, and is resistant to social complexity, and is thus inhabited only by the stereotypical forest-dwelling noble savage. Indeed, in one of his last essays (2016) he berates the doyen of the so-called “ontological” turn for not only portraying Amerindians as the “exotic” other, but of offering us “exotic theory” masquerading as original scholarship. Stephen Nugent’s studies of Amazonia and its people are, I think, important, unique and enduring contributions to anthropology.

As an inspiring and challenging teacher; as a key figure in the development and flourishing of the Anthropology Department at Goldsmiths College; as a unique historical anthropologist whose pioneering studies of Amazonia have an enduring value; and as a friend and colleague and supporter for over forty years, “old Steve” will be sadly missed.

BRIAN MORRIS         

20TH  June  2019

GlobalGRACE

Last week the GRACE  team held its end of project conference in Utrecht, Gender and Cultures of In/Equality in Europe:  Visions, Poetics, Strategies.  Led by Dr Suzanne Clisby, Senior Research Fellow and co-director of the sister project GlobalGRACE, based in anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, the GRACE project brought together fifteen EU funded doctoral researchers from across Europe to investigate what equality means and the ways various cultures of equality are made and remade in the European context today. These studies range from the examination of documentary cinema, theatre, poetry slams and science fiction, to disability politics and trans visual poetics, Islamic feminisms, Syrian women’s diasporic writing, the experiences of women in boxing, and the analysis of the role of social media and reproductive health apps in social change. Together, these studies provide a unique lens through which we can think about the processes and practices, as well as the challenges and dilemmas, that create, enable and contest cultures of in/equality.

Prof J Neil C Garcia, University of the Philippines, delivering GRACE conference key note response

Marking international women’s day, the end of project conference not only brought together scholars and activists from across the world to interrogate and challenge equality discourses and practices but also to celebrate the launch of an exhibition and a feminist smartphone app curated and designed by the GRACE researchers at CASCO Art Institute – casco.art.  The exhibition, entitled Footnotes on Equality, may be visited via its online platform – footnotesonequality.eu – and the app, Quotidian, may downloaded from Play Store – or the App Store.

The GRACE project also saw the launch of What is Left Unseen, at Central Museum, Utrecht, that seeks through new forms of exhibition making to, ‘expose the white male gaze that, for centuries, has determined what and how we see in the museum’

What is Left Unseen is part of the Museum of Equality and Difference (MOED) – moed.online–  that also emerged out of and is inspired by the GRACE and GlobalGRACE projects and that brings together ‘artistic perspectives on equality and difference that strive for social change’.

Fieldwork Playlist

 

Gavin Western has written a new publication, Fieldwork Playlist featured in Suomen Antropologi. Fieldwork Playlist emerged from a conference of the same name at Goldsmiths back in 2013. The idea was a simple one: “For our fieldwork playlist, each contributor will pick one song and recount the story of how that song came to hold significance in relation to their research encounters and experience” (Fieldwork Playlist Call For Papers 2013). Each of the papers here explores the evocative nature of music in relation to the experience of social science fieldwork. Each author has selected a song as a starting point to consider their experience in the field. Music is woven into the fabric of the social world of the field, our location in it, our collection and interpretation of data and the writing up process. This edited collection brings together diverse experiences and reflections through the evocative medium of particular songs.

Martyn Wemyss’s contribution titled Michael Jackson’s – ‘Billy Jean, reflects on the first few months of his fieldwork in Bolivia and how the death of Michael Jackson ‘prompted a shift in the soundtrack to daily life: for a brief window his music was everywhere’.

The latest issue of Suomen Anthropologi also contains entries from former students and associates of the department, Dominique Santos, Willam Tantam and Kieran Fenby-Hulse and can be downloaded online.

Professor Stephen Nugent (1950-2018)

A tribute to Steve Nugent, who passed away on 13 November, from his colleagues in the Department of Anthropology

How to remember Steve Nugent? Fiercely intelligent, defiant, loyal, caring, sceptical, humorous, persistently inspiring and forever disruptive! Steve was a man who left a mark on all who met him and anyone who sat in department meetings or on college boards with him will no doubt have their own unique memories of this remarkable man.

We remember him here for his dedicated commitment and contributions to anthropology, Latin American Studies and the intellectual life of Goldsmiths.

Steve joined the anthropology department at Goldsmiths in 1981 and twice took on the role of Head of Department. His contributions to anthropology were wide ranging, spanning political economy, peasant societies, the anthropology of Brazil, historic and visual anthropology. He has left behind him a formidable body of work on Amazonia: Big Mouth: the Amazon Speaks (1990) – a ground-breaking account of the socio-economic and environmental landscapes of contemporary Amazonia,  Amazonian Caboclo Society: An Essay on Invisibility and Peasant Economy (1993) and Scoping the Amazon: Image, Icon, Ethnography (2007) – a work which focuses on problems of representation and Indigenism and Cultural Authenticity in Brazilian Amazonia (2009). This year he completed perhaps his most ambitious contribution to the political economy of the region yet with the publication of his book The Rise and Fall of the Amazon Rubber Industry: An Historical Anthropology (2018).

Steve was far more than just an Amazonianist. His interests were broad extending to questions of cognition (for example The “Peripheral Situation” 1988), the analysis of political and economic elites (see co-edited volume with Cris Shore, Elite Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives, 2003),  anthropology’s complicated relationship with cultural studies (with Cris Shore  Anthropology and Cultural Studies,1998), structural Marxism and the potential of visual methods to advance anthropological theory and practice.

Steve was also Editor-in-chief with John Gledhill of the influential journal, Critique of Anthropology and he taught for many years at the Institute of Latin American Studies At Goldsmiths he set up the MA in Visual Anthropology and more recently the BA in Anthropology and Visual Practice. He also founded and for many years directed the Centre for Visual Anthropology.  His interest in the visual was both theoretical and practical and in the last decade of his time at Goldsmiths he made three films:  Where is the Rabbi? (2001), a film about Sephardic communities living in Amazonia, Waila (2009), focused on a Tohono O’odham musician from Tucson Arizona, and Sounds Like a Vintage Guitar (2012), an exploration of the business and craft of making and faking historical electric guitars. Arguably, his anthropological sensibility informed his artistic collaborations and vice versa. How many anthropology departments can boast that one of their members collaborated with Ian Dury and wrote the iconic song ‘Billericay Dickie’ (in the album New Boots and Panties 1977)?! His colleagues always knew when Steve was in his office from the music streaming down the corridor.

Steve taught and supervised several generations of anthropologists at Goldsmiths as well as serving on numerous college committees.  His students remember him as strict but generous and supportive. Many of them have gone on to become academics and maintained long term relationships with him.  His colleagues remember him as a tireless worker on behalf of the department and of the discipline, whose sharp and acerbic wit was guaranteed to enliven every occasion. Steve’s contributions to anthropology and to Goldsmiths were remarkable and the world feels less interesting without him.

A private humanist ceremony was held for Steve Nugent’s immediate family on 16 November. The Department of Anthropology will host an event in his memory in 2019.

 

What next? Our tops tips for recent graduates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your training in Anthropology provides skills, knowledge and sensibilities that are useful in pretty much any sector. Therefore, we have put together a list of top tips for recent graduates which include agencies to check out and books and podcasts to look into to help inspire your exciting journeys ahead.

 

General Student & Graduate Hubs to check out

CareerSPACE

Students and new alumni (for up to three years) have access to CareerSPACE at Goldsmiths University, where you can receive professional career advice, networking opportunities and access to jobs listings. Students and alumni can create an account here.

 

Milkround

Milkround have an extensive database of graduate jobs, internships and graduate schemes that you can apply for. If you are unsure of what industry to you would like to go into, Milkround can also help in providing advice.

Employment sectors we recommend looking at

Third Sector

Flow Caritas’s main aim is to find new talent and build careers in the UK not for profit Sector. If you are looking to take on a new challenge, Harris Hill can help you find your ideal charity job. Charity People are recruiters who work with some of the biggest and smallest charities in and outside of the UK. Prospectus recruit for roles across every entry point exclusively with the not for profit sector.

Creative Industries, Art and Heritage

If you are looking to apply your anthropology knowledge and set of transferable skills within the creative industry, Creative Skillset work closely with UK based creative industries within varies environment. Join The Dots to be part of a network of ‘Makers Doers, Fixers and Dreamers’. You can upload your own portfolio of work, whether this be a film reel or PDF, you can share your work for future employers or potential collaborators to discover your work! Sign up with Arts Jobs for alerts on the most recent job opportunities within the arts and culture sector with a wide range of job roles. Specifically for Museums, Galleries, Libraries and Archives, do check out Museum Jobs or Heritage Jobs for the latest jobs in the independent heritage sector and beyond.

If you are looking to break into documentary film making, formerly known as Film & TV Pro, Mandy Crew helps you find the best crew jobs in pre-production, production and post-production for films & tv. More than 12,000 film and tv production companies post jobs and search our database to crew their next project

London is full of exciting museums, galleries and educational spaces such at, The Horniman Museum, The Photographers Gallery, South London Gallery, The Natural History Museum, Tate, The National Gallery, The British Museum, The British Library, Imperial War Museum, Barbican, The V&A, Southbank Centre and so many more! For current work opportunities check out their websites.

Health Sector

TPP are a UK based IT company whoes mission is to transform healthcare by improving access and empowering patients. Check out their jobs page for current vacancies and internship opportunities. Eden Brown are a recruitment agency who specialise in finding jobs within the charity and not for profit sector.

 

 

UK Government & International

Are you looking to promote a wider knowledge of the UK internationally and make positive contributions in and outside of the UK. If so, we would advise checking out The British Council who work with over 100 countries across multiple sectors.

The Civil Service offer a graduate entry scheme to help fast track leadership roles within the Civil Service. The Government Social Research profession within The Civil Service supports the development, implementation, review and evaluation of government policy. The Foreign Commonwealth Office are responsible for protecting and promoting British interests around the world. To check out the most recent opportunities with the FCO you can visit their twitter page @fcocareers.

For local government opportunities check out Jobsgopublic in public and not for profit sectors.

Digital Communications

Looking to branch out into the communications sector, Only Digital Jobs  are a niche UK jobs board dedicated to digital, web, social media and ecommerce.

 

 

 

 

Stay engaged! 

Looking for new material on how you can apply your anthropological training to your future career? We highly recommend reading ‘What Anthropologists Do’ by Veronica Strange (Berg Publishers). In each chapter Strange explores a different employment sector, asking how anthropology can be applied Advocacy, Aid, Environment, Health, Art and other career sectors.

Additional books on applying anthropology to the world of work:

Listen to AnthroPod, a podcast created by the Society for Cultural Anthropology where each episode explores what anthropologists and anthropology can teach us about people and the world.  A Story of Us was created by a group of anthropology graduates from The Ohio State University. The group explore who anthropologists are, what their role is and why it is important. The Story of Us is presented with the aim of increase the interest and understanding of anthropology.

Hairy Connections

Goldsmiths anthropologist, Emma Tarlo, joined forces with designer Alix Bizet and children from Sen8 for an afternoon exploring the world of hair. The afternoon began with a visit to the exhibition, Material Contemplations in Cloth and Hair, at the Constance Howard Gallery, curated by Emma Tarlo and Janis Jefferies. The children enjoyed feeling different types of hair (yak, dog, cat, camel and human!) and had fun trying on hair nets and testing the amazing strength of human hair rope. They saw images of hair work in India and China and learned about how hair is recycled in those countries before going on to join Alix Bizet for a hands on workshop where they learned to make felt from human hair. It was a lively, loud and enjoyable collaboration for all involved!

Emma Tarlo, has also curated an exhbition, Hair! Human Stories which will avilable to see at The Library Space in Battersea from 7 June 201. More informaiton about this can be found on the departmental events page.