Since its establishment in 1967 by Professor Gerbrands and its further development in line with the vision of Dirk Nijland since 1974, Visual Ethnography has been taught by a team of highly experienced visual anthropologists who are dedicated to share their various practices in ethnographic filmmaking with students.
Mark R. Westmoreland directs the programme in Visual Anthropology at Leiden University and serves as the co-editor of Visual Anthropology Review. He is an award-winning filmmaker and has published widely in both scholarly journals and art catalogues. His current book project, Catastrophic Images, shows how experimental documentary practices play a crucial role in addressing recurrent political violence in Lebanon. As a co-recipient of a research grant from the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, his current project focuses on the cultivation of radical political aesthetics and the generative potential of video activism in the Middle East.for the Visual Ethnography programme in the the bachelor and master programme.
Westmoreland has expertise in visual ethnography and contemporary Arab visual culture, with particular research interests in the interface between sensory embodiment and media aesthetics in on-going legacies of contentious politics. Accordingly, his work explores the epistemological possibilities and productive frictions at the intersection between art and ethnography. He thus aspires to combine the tradition of ethnographic filmmaking with new digital practices in order to cultivate interdisciplinary practice-based visual research methods.
Metje Postma is lecturer for the Visual Ethnography programme in both the bachelor's and master's tracks. She has focussed in her work on animal-human relations, farmers’ communities, and embodied knowledge as well as on epistemological questions concerning non-literary forms of representation, and the use of video in humanitarian crisis situations. She explores how the discourse on representational processes in ethnography can be applied in the field of development. She is also interested in how people embody knowledge and skills, and how body-techniques are traditionally used to reach certain states of consciousness.
Her current research examines how a group of refugees from the Arab Rashaayda Bedouin community of Sudan, staying in Eritrea, is represented to and by aid organizations and how it presents itself in different ways, arenas and for different audiences. Her theoretical interest is in how forms and modes of communication engage an audience differently. For their Arab brothers the Rashaayda emphasize their courage and their high descent through lengthy poems and songs and rhetorical speech, mobilizing their cultural heritage and history; to Western aid organizations they stress their neediness and their victimization by the Sudanese government and how they suffered from human rights abuses.
Rosanne van den Berg is AV director at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and lecturer of the BA course Visual Methods in which she guides students in doing visual ethnographic research. Her research interests are visual methods, visual ethnography, material culture and identity.
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