Call for papers - Expanding the Frame: Ethnographic Film and its Others

Despite decades of trying, anthropologists have not managed to come to any settled agreement on what ethnographic film is or should be. Rather than being chained to the “classics” or a “canon”, anthropological filmmakers and ethnographic filmmaking have instead pushed for new approaches. These approaches continue to blur any presumed boundaries of the field. Increasingly, ethnographic film has sought to position itself in productive relationships alongside fellow travellers, including:

indigenous, diasporic, intercultural, African/black cinemas and experimental/art film

We invite papers that explore the boundaries of ethnographic film.

The aim of this conference is to provoke reflection on the relationship between ethnographic film and other filmmaking endeavours that are – or have the potential to be – constructive critical interlocutors. To what extent can ethnographic film practice creatively engage with other film traditions yet still retain its scholarly roots and aims? Does it need to?

The RAI welcomes papers on any aspect of the topic, whether theoretical or ethnographic.
Amongst the possible (but not restricted to) areas which may be considered are:

– Recent debates on the relation between ethnographic film and cinematic traditions such as indigenous, diasporic, intercultural, African/black cinemas and experimental/art film
– Decolonizing documentary/ethnographic film
– Collaborative research and filmmaking practices
– Virtual & Augmented Reality, 360° filmmaking, interactive documentary and their affordances
– Intellectual ownership, copyright and authorship
– Digital and infrastructural divides
– Non-representational theories and practices
– Indigenous broadcasting/media and anthropology
– Global indigenous movements
– Indigenous, ethnic, and minority identities and film
– Film as performance, event and process
– Audience reception, film festivals and distribution practices

It is the intention of the organisers that this conference be fully integrated with the RAI Film Festival 2019, meaning that conference delegates will have the opportunity to attend the screenings, as well as speak at the conference.

The call for papers will open on 15 November 2018 and close on 06 January 2019. A list of panels can be found here: but you can also submit an independent paper that responds to the theme of the conference. 

Papers should be 20 minutes long; any audio-visual material will have to be presented within this timeframe.

Please direct any questions or queries to the RAI Film Officer:

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