This week I took part in a two day interdisciplinary, multi-modal research workshop, organised by the ESRC Wales DTC in Cardiff. The aim of the day was to explore the different modes we make meaning and observe with, the affordances of four key media with which we can record ethnographic observations, and the relationship between these modes and media. The event was a great mixture of discussion ad practical fieldwork. We started out discussing and fleshing out the distinctions and crossovers between the ideas of modes and media, building on the paper we had read . Then we discussed the four different media we would be concentrating on in the workshop with the four leaders: field notes (Bella Dicks), still images (Rachel Hurdley), audio (Brett Lashua) and video (Bambo Soyinka). After introducing the research question: How is Gorsedd Gardens made into a meaningful place through the social interactions of people, objects, materials, 'nature', sounds time within it? We were then let loose to explore the Gardens...
This time I was ready! Last year I arrived the day before midsummer. Surprised and happy I was not finding it THAT cold in Svalbard, I headed down to the midsummer bonfire party on the beach in a normal set of layers. I retreated at 9pm. I have now learnt never to underestimate the chilling power of standing fairly still in cold wind! This time I made it through to midnight, thanks to wearing all the jumpers (literally). ...
The next installment of icy films and TV
The Polar Bear Family and Me
So, polar bears. They have been fascinating to me from the point where they started being flag ship species and campaign motives for action on climate change (which I’ll come to shortly). However, since starting this project, they have started to haunt my dreams (nightmares) in a rather different sense, given getting eaten by one is a possibility when I head out to Svalbard! Don’t worry, I’ll be taking all the necessary pre-cautions to minimise the risks, but I think it’s good to have a healthy respect for these arctic residents, and watching this series has been useful in cultivating this.
With there being some snow around (although not much in Aberystwyth), along with a flurry (sorry!) of documentaries popping up featuring one hell of a lot of ice, I thought I’d start a little series of posts about the ones I’ve been watching.
First up: Chasing Ice
If you haven’t heard about this one, it’s a documentary about the Extreme Ice Survey, a time-lapse photography project led by James Balog. About 30 cameras were installed (no mean feat!) to take time lapses of glaciers in the Arctic. That climate change is happening, is not something I need much convincing of. One can easily point to the many many variables this visual imagery cannot take into account (despite media headlines of course of ‘irrefutable truths’ etc). Nonetheless the retreat of the glaciers these cameras record, over just a few years, is quite staggering. Yes, this was over a short time period, but for me, watching such massive chunks of ice calving off into the sea and thinking about the long term trends and predictions at the same time, made for some scary and quite emotional viewing. Which, I presume is the main point of the project: giving people something real and happening to visualise when scientists talk of sea level rise, melting ice caps.