Multimodal Ethnography and Digital Curating in Ageing Research

The first AGENET 2023 Webinar ‘Multimodal Ethnography and Digital Curating in the Research on Ageing and the Life Course’ took place on 24th April, 11:00-13:00 CET. It hosted Daniel Miller (Anthropology of Smartphone and Smart Ageing, University College London), Megha Amrith, Victoria Sakti, and Nele Wolter (Ageing in a Time of Mobility, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity) as well as Alvaro Martinez (anthropologist, designer and illustrator) as invited speakers and was chaired by Swetlana Torno (AGENET co-convenor). [Scroll over the project titles for additional information.]

AGENET Webinar ‘Multimodal Ethnography and Digital Curating in Ageing Research’, 24.04.2023

This webinar focused on visual and multimodal methods in the research on ageing, generations, and the life course and explored more-than-textual ways of disseminating insights of ethnographic work to academic and wider publics. The webinar took the form of a roundtable discussion, in which the participants spoke about the interventions of their respective projects in ageing-related topics using collaborative approaches and a variety of media formats. Our goal was to look behind the scenes of multimodal ethnography and to shed light not only on the final output, but also on the creative process of experimenting with audio, visual, digital, multisensorial and interdisciplinary techniques in ethnographic practice and production. The discussion elaborated on what multimodal ethnography means and asked the following questions: how do more-than-textual formats transform anthropological research practice? What types of infrastructures are needed in multimodal work? And what challenges did the speakers face while working on their respective projects?

About the speakers:

Álvaro Martínez is a Berlin based anthropologist, designer and illustrator. Among his projects are the visualization and digitization of the research findings of the Max Planck Institute’s research group ‘Ageing in a Time of Mobility’. He is a member of the Public Anthropology working group of the DGSKA and was the Art Director of the multilingual project Medienwerkstatt Encounters. More info:

Daniel Miller is Professor of Anthropology at University College London. Relevant publications include 2017 The Comfort of People – a study of the social relations and communications of hospice patients in the UK. (With Pauline Garvey) 2021 Ageing with Smartphones in Ireland – a study of two Irish populations. (With 10 others) The Global Smartphone – beyond a youth technology – a comparative study of the consequences of smartphones for older people around the world. For our films see YouTube, UCL Why We Post and UCL ASSA.

Megha Amrith leads the ‘Ageing in a Time of Mobility’ Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen. Her research interests are on migrant labour, care, ageing, inequalities, and belonging, with a current focus on ageing migrant domestic workers in Asia. She is author of Caring for Strangers: Filipino Medical Workers in Asia (NIAS Press, 2017) and is currently Editor of the journal Global Networks.

Nele Wolter is a Doctoral Fellow with the ‘Ageing in a Time of Mobility’ Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen. She is also associated with the Department of Anthropology and African Studies at the University of Mainz. Her dissertation project focuses on how anglophone Cameroonians reshape their everyday lives in makeshift homes in the francophone part of the country after displacement by using ethnographic research methods.

Victoria Sakti is a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. She has conducted long-term research in Timor-Leste and Indonesia and has published widely on ageing, forced displacement, violence, memory and emotions. She holds a PhD in social and cultural anthropology from the Free University of Berlin.