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Title: Embodied film and experimental ethnography : place, belonging and performative folk traditions in England
Author: Fowler, Rosalind
ISNI:       0000 0004 2752 9596
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2013
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This research addresses the ways in which film might be used to investigate senses of place and representations of place and ritual. It focuses on two seasonal performative folk traditions in rural England, Haxey Hood in North Lincolnshire and Mayday in Padstow. By considering the experiential qualities of these annual rituals and their significance for local communities as seen in their wider socio-economic contexts, this research raises broader questions regarding place and belonging in contemporary society, and how film as a medium capable of directly conveying phenomenological experience, might transmit the sensual qualities of lived experience, place, and landscape to an audience. Drawing on Sobchack's conception of the film as a body in itself, the role of embodied experience is central in this study in exploring interconnections between the bodies of the filmmaker, the film itself, subjects and audience and their empirical possibilities. The research at the same time is wary of realist approaches to representation, instead seeking to consider the ways in which this “wild meaning” is then manipulated, fragmented and transformed in the process of filmmaking, both ‘in the field’ and in the editing process. Through the use of experimental ethnographic methods, key conceptual aspects of this thesis such as performance, the embodied camera and auto-ethnography are used to investigate the complex ways that place and ritual might not only be known and understood, but are also performed and imagined anew through film. Place and belonging are themes of great contemporary relevance in current academic and art practice, and the outcome of this study has been the creation of my film Folk in Her Machine (2013). By exploring both the sensual qualities of lived experience, and other forms of meaning through experimental ethnographic methods, it is argued that fruitful insights have been gained into both the embodied nature of filmic representation and its performative possibilities, or in MacDougall’s words, film’s interplay “between meaning and being”.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Film & Video