Ageing and Visual Anthropology Award (AVA 2021): Award-giving and presentations

Join us on Wednesday, 1st December at 3pm CET/2pm GMT on Zoom, to learn who the winner of the inaugural AVA 2021 Award is. The meeting (of 90 minutes) will include presentations of the winning projects (+ Q&A session), followed by a roundtable discussion with all the authors of the AVA 2021 Official Selection. To participate in this free event, please register for the AGENET’s Slow Online Conference under this link.

The films and projects of the AVA 2021 Official Selection are available to watch until 2nd December 2021, for everyone who registered for the AGENET Slow Conference. To learn more about the best entries, click here.

The virtual meeting on 1st December will include discussion with the following authors nominated for the AVA 2021 Award:

The Anthropology of Smartphones and Smart Ageing (ASSA) Team. ASSA is a multi-sited research project based at UCL Anthropology, primarily funded by the European Research Council (ERC). The project employs a team of 11 researchers who conducted simultaneous 16-month ethnographies in Al-Quds (East Jerusalem) (Maya de Vries and Laila Abed Rabho), Brazil (Marilia Duque), Cameroon (Patrick Awondo), Chile (Alfonso Otaegui), China (Xinyuan Wang), Ireland (Daniel Miller and Pauline Garvey), Italy (Shireen Walton), Japan (Laura Haapio-Kirk), and Uganda (Charlotte Hawkins). Launched in October 2017, the fieldwork took place between February 2018 and June 2019. This collaborative five-year project is based on a comparative analysis of the impact of the smartphone on the experience of mid-to-later-life around the world and considers the implications for the use of smartphones in the fields of health and care. To read more about the ASSA team members, click here.

Angélica Cabezas Pino is currently an ESRC postdoc at the University of Sussex. She is a visual anthropologist and documentary filmmaker whose practice and research focus is on the exploration of intimate sense-making processes, through the use of collaborative visual methods. She has conducted research with people living with HIV in Chile, queer communities in the UK and refugee women in Bangladesh, Jordan and the UK. Angelica received a PhD in Anthropology, Media and Performance from The University of Manchester and prior to this, she completed an MPhil in Ethnographic Documentary at the same university. She studied Social Communication at the Pontifical Catholic University in Chile, and Documentary Filmmaking at the International School of Cinema San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. She has worked for universities in the UK and Chile, and for international institutions, such as UN Women and UNAIDS. Her research has been presented at international conferences and film festivals across the globe.

Mark Lindenberg graduated from the film academy in Amsterdam in 2013, specializing in cinematography, and has worked in the film world ever since. He started studying anthropology and development sociology, specializing in visual anthropology, in 2019 out of the desire to independently make documentaries. Mark’s graduation film, which portrays an Amazonian family communicating with plants to help their clients heal, has been screened at film festivals around the world. To read more about Mark and his work, please click here.

Julian David Loaiza Pineda has Masters in Anthropology and Ethnography in the University of Barcelona and Masters in Visual Anthropology in the University of Tromsø – the Arctic University of Norway. He is experimenting with the video camera as a means of research and representation. Through an intimate approach, he tries to discover the simple, but at the same time, the spectacular in people.

Jón Bjarki Magnússon is a filmmaker with background in journalism and poetry, interested in making anthropological and/or experimental films rooted in and around the intersection between play, performance and the real. He studied creative writing at the University of Iceland (2012) and received his MA in Visual and Media Anthropology from Freie Universität, Berlin, in 2018. His journalistic work has appeared on various Icelandic and international media platforms over the last decade and won him several prizes such as “The Icelandic Journalist of Year”, by the Union of Icelandic Journalists (2014). Magnússon currently does project work for Filmmaking For Fieldwork (F4F™), an educational project offering training in audio-visual research methods, ethnographic and documentary filmmaking, and is the co-founder of SKAK bíófilm, a small Icelandic production company invested in ethnographic filmmaking. His films have been selected for competition at key European film festivals, such as Docslisboa, Nordisk Panorama, and Tromsö International Film Festival. His short film on friendship in cyberspace, Even Asteroids Are Not Alone (2018), was awarded Royal Anthropological Institute´s (RAI) & Marsh Short Film Prize for ‘the most outstanding short film on social, cultural and biological anthropology or archaeology’ in 2019, and his feature observational film about the life and death of his aging grandparents, Half Elf (2020), was nominated for The Icelandic Film & Television Academy Award as the best Icelandic documentary of 2020 and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Icelandic Documentary Film Festival (Skjaldborg) in 2020.

Alvaro Martinez studied Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Catholic University of Bolivia and trained as a visual artist in various courses and artistic residencies. As an anthropologist he conducted research among the Aymara healers in the city of La Paz focused on the use of images and symbols as methods of diagnosis and healing of soul illnesses. His career as a visual artist ranges from the illustration of a graphic novel, character design, toy design, illustration of children’s and educational texts, animation, painting, photography, graphic design and video. His work has been published and exhibited at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, the International Book Fair of La Paz, the Maxim Gorky Theater in Berlin and the Urban Spree Gallery in Berlin among many others.  He is currently working on the combination of visual art and anthropological research.

Rajat Nayyar is a SSHRC Vanier scholar and PhD candidate in Theatre at York University where he is researching voice, vocal traditions, activism across the life-course and end-of-life care. He previously earned his MA Anthropology (Audiovisual Ethnography) from Tallinn University and has been working on decolonizing research methodologies. Rajat’s recent chapter Staging Care: Dying, Death, and Possible Futures builds upon his MA thesis/film Kashi Labh (published in Journal of Anthropological Films) and examines how audiovisual ethnography might facilitate an activism that is grounded in care and staged as performances of the possible. As the co-founder of Emergent Futures CoLab (EFC), he is currently curating Talking Uncertainty, an online talk series and podcast that features researchers, artists and practitioners who are working on collaborative projects that speculate emergent futures in times of radical uncertainty. 

Celeste Pang, representing the Resemblage Project coordinated by Andrea Charise. Celeste is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation project brings together critical perspectives from disability studies, queer anthropology, and anthropology of aging to consider, broadly, how a confluence of old age, gender nonconformity, and disability can matter, and what thinking about these together can do. To learn about all the contributors of the Resemblage Project, click here.

 Victoria Sakti is an anthropologist and postdoctoral research fellow at the Research Group ‘Ageing in a Time of Mobility’ based at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany. She obtained her PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her research interests are at the intersections of ageing and forced migration in the global South; emotion, memory and violence; mental health and wellbeing, and translocal (im)mobilities. Victoria’s current research project examines experiences of ageing in displacement among older East Timorese people and in relation to kinship and social bonds in Indonesia and Timor-Leste, where she has conducted research since 2010. Her experience working with displaced communities and survivors of violence span beyond academia, working on these issues since 2004 with various non-governmental organisations and through her activism work in Indonesia and Germany.

José Sherwood González is a British Mexican comics artist and visual anthropologist with research interests in memory, storytelling and multi-perspectival myth-making through visual, sensory and digital methods. Since 2014, he has worked in Mexico City, investigating the ways in which families create and embody myths through storytelling. A recent graduate from the MA in Visual Anthropology at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, José is currently pursuing a PhD in collaboration with SODA and FutureEverything on Mesoamerican Futurisms, a project which applies extended reality (XR) as a shapeshifting methodology to cultivate human (and more-than-human) transformations in Mexico City.

Sophia van Ghesel Grothe graduated in interdisciplinary neuroscience, and psychology. She works as a psychologist, and has a wish to integrate art, science and healing further, also by making films. Under the guidance of an anthropologist and a philosopher, she graduated on how her grandmother can still have a world despite having Alzheimer’s disease. Her grandmother no longer recognizes her cognitively, but their interaction shows that Joke and Sophia have had a loving bond for years. Her grandmother’s experience, or world, is not only in her brain, but in her body: in the way she holds her hand, and teaches.

AVA 2021 Organizing Committe:

Coordinator: Barbara Pieta (Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology)

Jay Sokolovsky (University of South Florida), Matthew Lariviere (University of Bristol), Aaron Seaman (University of Iowa), Jason Danely (Oxford Brooks University)

AVA 2021 Judges:

Film Category: Beate Engelbrecht (University of Göttingen/ German International Ethnographic Film Festival), Felicia Hughes-Freeland (SOAS/ RAI Film Festival), Matthew Lariviere (University of Bristol), Aaron Seaman (University of Iowa)

Multimodal Category: Verónica Sousa (University of Lisbon), Jay Sokolovsky (University of South Florida)

Ageing and Visual Anthropology Award (AVA) is a collaborative effort between the EASA’s Age and Generations NetworkAssociation for Gerontology, Aging and the Life Course and EASA’s Visual Anthropology Network. The 2021 edition has been financially sponsored by the EASA funds for Network Activities.

Thanks to Paolo Favero (University of Antwerp/VANEASA) and Angela de Souza Torresan (University of Manchester/Granada Center for Visual Anthropology/VANEASA) for organizational support, and to Swetlana Torno (University of Heidelberg) for web-editing.

The AVA 20201 event will be facilitated by Barbara Pieta,  PhD candidate at Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany. During her ethnographic fieldwork in a town in Northeast Italy, she explored how people who live with dementia and their family members seek to maintain fragile balance between autonomy and care. This included turning the video-camera curiosity into the daily lives of families who live with dementia. She has co-convened (with Jay Sokolovsky, Maria Vesperi, Annette Leibing and Shireen Walton) a panel on visual and digital methods in ageing research at EASA 2020 and is currently working co-editing (with Jay Sokolovsky) a publication on this topic. She has coordinated the inaugural edition of the Ageing and Visual Anthropology Award (AVA), a collaborative project between AGENET, AAGE and VANEASA