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Filmic humanities

written by Anna Harris
19/02/20

For the past four weeks, we have had the pleasure of Paul Craddock joining us in Maastricht to explore his ideas about film and its role in the humanities. We have included the abstracts of some of the seminars, workshops and presentations he gave in Maastricht below, and very much look forward to our future collaborations together.

Still from video Paul made of a clinical lesson, made at Skillslab in preparation for workshop

A work-in-progress seminar in the MUSTS research group:

Identifying an intellectual space to develop the role of film as part of a research method in the humanities.

In this session, I would like to think about how we might use film as part of a research method in a humanities context.  I am particularly interested in how the recent work of colleagues from anthropology, social semiotics and related social-sciences disciplines might inform this.

The field of embodied cognition acknowledges the sophisticated role of the body in framing and understanding knowledge and expertise (in Polyani’s famous phrase, ’we know more than we can tell’).  The related field of multimodality recognises non-textual, non-verbal contributions to knowledge.  These areas of scholarship, I suggest, constitute a premise for engaging with film as a serious medium in the academic context – to use the medium to record, arrange, and interpret non-written and non-spoken information.  Film has been applied in such a way in social sciences contexts for over a decade, especially by those working with ethnographic film making.  But although methods for visual, object, and performance analysis obviously exist in the humanities, (to my knowledge) no equivalent approach exists reconciling film and multimodality in a humanities framework.

To think through this work in progress, I will draw on a specific historical case study concerning the invention of the triangulation technique of vascular anastomosis at the turn of the twentieth century.  The technique is ascribed to the surgeon Alexis Carrel, and although his drive and vision were undeniably important, it is rarely even acknowledged that he was taught to sew by one of France’s leading embroiderers, Marie Anne Leroudier.  By using re-enactment methods and film, I suggest, we might acknowledge her substantial contributions to Carrel’s material understanding, thread management, and needlework, and build a case to revisit her historical significance in the history of medicine as well as embroidery.

Bio

Paul Craddock is a cultural historian of medicine, his main area of expertise being the cultural history of transplant surgery.  Dragon in a Suitcase (Fig Tree/Penguin) explores transplant surgery from the sixteenth century to the present day, and will be his first book. Paul is currently Research Film Maker on the V&A Research Institute’s Encounters on the Shop Floor project led by Dr Marta Ajmar.  Encounters highlights the role of embodied knowledge in medical and creative craft, industry, and education.  He is also working with Dr Anna Harris at the on her Making Clinical Sense project. As a film maker for research and cultural institutions, Paul is currently working with Imperial College, London, and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.  His earlier film work has been featured in Nature, the Frankfurt Book Fair, and MoMA. Paul holds an honorary appointment Senior Research Associate in the Division of Surgery and Interventional Sciences at UCL Medical School in London.  He is represented by Jenny Hewson at Lutyens and Rubenstein Literary Agency.

 

A filmmaking workshop for the Skillslab:

Op donderdagmiddag 30 januari verzorgen Anna Harris en Paul Craddock een workshop “film making” in het Skillslab. Anna kennen de meesten van jullie als de antropologisch onderzoeker die vorig jaar frequent in het Skillslab aanwezig was voor haar onderzoek “Making Clinical Sense” (http://www.makingclinicalsense.com/). Paul Craddock, een cultureel geschiedkundige die zich ook bezig houdt met het maken van filmmateriaal voor onderzoek en culturele instellingen, is deze en volgende maand in Maastricht om samen te werken met Anna in het kader van haar onderzoek (https://paulcraddock.com/).  We zullen stilstaan bij de verschillende manieren om video te gebruiken in academische context. Waarom zou je je als academicus met het maken van filmmateriaal bezig willen houden? Wat heb je eraan? Wat zijn de mogelijkheden?  Vervolgens zal Paul ons een aantal tips geven m.b.t. filmen (met name compositie en interviewen). Als er tijd is zullen we dit zelf ook uit gaan proberen. Daarna zullen we in kleine groepjes bespreken en experimenteren hoe het gebruik van video bruikbaar zou kunnen zijn voor de aanwezigen. Omdat we beperkte tijd hebben zullen we weinig tijd besteden aan het daadwerkelijk editen van videomateriaal. Degenen die dat interessant vinden, hebben de mogelijkheid om met Paul apart nog een afspraak te maken om dit te leren.

 

And a film screening as part of the MUSTS colloquia series:

Unexpectedly, there was a window of opportunity to follow-up on Paul ’s work-in-progress seminar on developing the role of film as part of a research method in the humanities and he presented in the MUSTS colloquia series. We screened a selection of his short films as and about research including the film concerning the fascinating links between the history of embroidery and surgical skills—the one Craddock introduced us to last time: “A Film about Skin”. In addition, we screened films about DNA-RNA transformations performed as dance, the history of laparoscopic surgery, the epiploic cube, the history of the flush lavatory, the role of touch in pottery and music making, and more.

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Food for thought in medical training

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Anthropology in medical education

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Practicing music skills

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Time for tinkering

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How smart is “smart” technology?

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Tools of the teaching trade

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January 10, 2019
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Christmas yarn

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Cooking classes

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November 26, 2018
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Barefeet

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October 21, 2018
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Letterheads

by Anna Harris
September 26, 2018
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Postcards

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September 16, 2018
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Wax museum

by Rachel Allison
August 6, 2018
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Expressive instructions

by Anna Harris
July 31, 2018
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by Rachel Allison
July 23, 2018
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by Rachel Allison
July 20, 2018
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by Anna Harris
July 16, 2018
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April 27, 2018
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Beyond the elevator

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Simulating touch

by Anna Harris
March 27, 2018
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Dancing, moving, unsettling

by Anna Harris
March 9, 2018
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Skillshare Writing Workshop

by Rachel Allison
February 25, 2018
Conference

STS in/on Africa

by John Nott
February 19, 2018
Article

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February 8, 2018
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Comparison as method

by Anna Harris
February 6, 2018
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by Anna Harris
January 19, 2018
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Holiday reading

by Anna Harris
January 3, 2018
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Modelling movement in medical education

by Andrea Wojcik
December 13, 2017
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Embroider meet surgeon

by Anna Harris
October 30, 2017
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Sensing with medical students

by Anna Harris
October 9, 2017
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September 13, 2017

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September 5, 2017
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September 4, 2017
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by Rachel Allison
August 7, 2017
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by Sally Wyatt
July 21, 2017
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Tuning forks and electronics

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May 12, 2017
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Drawing Instruments

by Rachel Allison
March 20, 2017
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Experimenting with collaborative sensory ethnography

by Andrea Wojcik
March 16, 2017
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A sensory training workshop

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August 29, 2016
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