Week 4 – Ageing Through Visual and Creative Methods


29th November (Mon), 4pm CET/ 3 pm GMT (90 min)

The fourth week focused on multi-modal, creative, and visual methods in anthropological research on ageing. The week featured the inaugural keynote by Professor Paolo Favero launching the Ageing and Visual Anthropology Award (AVA 2021), a joint distinction of AGENET, VANEASA and AAGE.

Inaugural keynote by Professor Paolo SH Favero (University of Antwerp/VANEASA) Journeys of Life, Love and Death: Reflections on “Expanded Ethnographic” Methods of Collaboration in an Existential Field

This keynote offers a reflection on the journey that I have conducted over the last few years around the topic of death. The journey started off in Italy, with a personal story of grief and separation that triggered off the need for an inward journey. Suddenly it forced me to direct my gaze outwardly. So, I moved to Delhi, to explore the experiences of ageing, dying and loss of humans living in retirement homes and shelters. All along this journey, art-based practices and emerging audio-visual/sensory tools, and technique have been my allies. They have enabled intimate insights into the existential dilemmas of my fieldwork interlocutors. This presentation will be about these emergent collaborative audio-visual/sensory approaches, and their crucial role in creating ethnographic relations and stories of life, love and death. Enlarging the reach of my sensory and affective capabilities, the audio-visual, sensory methods, tools and practices that I engaged with, have provided me with a form of “expanded ethnography”. In strong contrast to popular understandings, this modality of work did not foreground mere documentation and representation but rather enabled  constant co-reographing and co-presencing. When offering insights into the destinies of my field interlocutors, I will also address the ethics of shared exposure (and of care) that characterizes most of the contacts I have had in the field. I will explore the implications of using my own story and emotions in such exchanges.

Paolo SH Favero is an image-making visual anthropologist with an interest for the meaning of images in human life. He works across visual and digital cultures and anthropology. His most recent project focusses on dying, living and loving in New Delhi. Professor in Visual and Digital Culture at the University of Antwerp, and a co-convenor of the EASA’s Visual Anthropology Network, he is also specialised on emerging technologies, visual and sensory ethnography, arts-based methods and existential anthropology. Paolo is the author of four single-authored books: “Image-Making-India” (Routledge, 2020), “The Present Image”(Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), “Dentro e Oltre l’Immagine” (Meltemi 2017), “India Dreams” (Stockholm Univ. Press 2005).