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The 10th RAI Festival and the associated Beyond Text? conference duly took place and were a resounding success. Over 500 people registered for at least one day of the six-day event. When participants in the various ancillary public events (the Forman Lecture, the Anthropology on Television Debate, China Day and the Castaways exhibition) are included, total attendance at the Festival is estimated to have been well in excess of 600.

At the conclusion of the Screenings phase, an international panel of eight judges awarded a series of prizes and commendations. An Audience Prize was also awarded.

The convenors of Beyond Text? plan to publish a series of edited collections arising from the papers presented at the conference

The International Festival of Ethnographic Film has been sponsored by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985. It is an itinerant event, moving from one university host to another on what is now a biennial basis.

The 10th edition of the RAI Festival will be jointly hosted by the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology (School of Social Sciences) and the Centre for Screen Studies (School of Arts, Histories and Cultures) at the University of Manchester, 27 June – 2 July 2007. It will involve some 45 hours of screenings of new films and a major international conference, plus other ancillary events.

The principal aims of the Festival include:

  • to promote cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue through ethnographic film
  • to screen outstanding recent work in ethnographic film and related documentary genres
  • to showcase the work of young film-makers in these genres
  • to explore new trends in these genres and their influence upon one another and on visual anthropology
  • to provide a marketing platform for both international and British productions

A particular objective of the 10th edition will be to bring together not only academic anthropologists and professional film-makers from all over the world, but also members of the general public, particularly those from Manchester and the Northwest of England.

The Festival incorporates two distinct but overlapping events: a series of Film Screenings over the first four days (27-30 June) and a Conference, over the last three days (30 June - 2 July).


Connecting the global and the local

Screenings will be presented in two or three simultaneous strands over four days, Wednesday 27- Saturday 30 June.

Most of these films will be short-listed entries for various prizes. In addition, there will be a number of parallel events, such as panels, workshops, photographic exhibitions and installations, as well as special interest screenings. The latter will include 'China Day', Saturday 30 June, which will be dedicated exclusively to two strands of ethnographic and related genres of documentary film about China. With one exception, all these films were directed by Chinese directors.

For further details of the Programme and Prizes, as well as the associated series of panels and workshops, please visit the Screenings page


Beyond Text?
Synaesthetic and Sensory Practices in Anthropology

In his recent book The Corporeal Image, the film-maker and visual anthropologist David MacDougall has re-visited the debate about forms of anthropological knowledge that may be communicated through visual rather than textual means and by the combination of different media. Interest in this issue has become particularly active in the context of the 'sensory turn' in contemporary anthropology and its relationship to practice-led research. The Beyond Text? conference brings together international scholars, not only from within anthropology but also from a number of cognate disciplines (cultural studies, material culture, film and performance studies, art history, architecture, sociology) to explore non-textual methods and modes of representation.

Beyond Text? explores the implications of the ‘sensory turn’ for practice led anthropology. It asks what may lie beyond text and considers the possibilities of combining different elements of image:sound::voice:object?

Beyond Text? asks how might be possible for anthropology to communicate human experience and construct forms of knowledge through different combinations of visual, material and acoustic media?

Beyond Text? considers artistic methods of doing and representing ethnography, including film, photography, sound recordings, art installations, sculptural and other plastic media, dramatic performance and museum display.

Speakers Include:
Don Brenneis, Paul Carter, Peter Crawford, Elizabeth Edwards, James Elkins, Steven Feld, Penny Harvey,Paul Henley, David Howes, Sharon MacDonald, David MacDougall, George Marcus, Susan Meiselas, Howard Morphy, Judith Okely, Chris Pinney, Catherine Russell, Arnd Schneider, Gary Tarn, Michael Taussig, Lucien Taylor, James Thompson, Janet Wolff.

View conference programme

Other Conference Activities:
Art Exhibition; Beyond Text Workshops; Soundwalk; Screenings


Registration fees start at £59 for the Screenings days of the Festival and £89 for the Conference days.

Discount rates are offered for Members of the Royal Anthropological Institute and Alumni of the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology.

Concessionary rates are offered for registered students, unemployed, pensioners and all permanent residents of the North West of England.

Refund Policy - The Festival will respond to any legitimate requests for refunds received before 1 June 2007, though it will deduct a handling charge of 10%. However, we regret that it will not be possible to make any refunds after that date.


From the Making of an Englishman to the Last King of Scotland

Kevin MacDonald In Conversation

Opening Night - Wed 27 June

Castaways Projects

On Sunday 1st of July, the author Caryl Phillips will do a reading and take part in a lunchtime discussion with anthropologist Steven Feld and the artist Virginia Ryan, about their exhibition 'Castaways' which is being staged at the Whitworth art gallery. Read more

Granada Centre 1987-2007
In the time of the ancestors by Paul Henley

The 10th RAI Festival will be co-hosted by the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology in celebration of the 20th anniversary of its foundation. The Granada Centre hosted the 2nd (1990) and 3rd (1992) RAI film festivals. Read a memoir of those two events written by Paul Henley.

The Waste Man
The Waste Man

The iconic image of the 10th RAI Festival features The Waste Man, a 20 metre structure built out of waste by the leading British sculptor and sometime student of anthropology, Antony Gormley. Read more...

The Festival gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from:
Blackwells Logo
Hungarian Cultural Centre Logo
Institut Francais Logo
ITV Granada
Keo Films
Manchester University Press
Mexican Embassy