Category: Blog

Why Trump (Or, America In Fragments)

People want answers. On social media timelines, in newspapers and blogs, in private conversations, those who cannot understand how Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States are desperate to make sense of it all. Too many people are accepting easy answers. It was neoliberalism. It was misogyny. It was white supremacy. It was fear. It was Hillary. It was the media. It was the FBI. It was Facebook.

In truth, there is no single person, group, ideology, or media moment to “blame”. Ignore the thousand Think Pieces telling you otherwise. No one “let” this happen; there is not one “cause”. Desire for straightforward answers reveals only the depth of denial we face in the United States today. The voting public chose this. Across income levels, across numerous states. We chose this. That is how democratic society works. We are all complicit.

People are asking the wrong questions. “How did Donald Trump win marginally more support in three particular U.S. states?” “Why were pollsters wrong?” “Did Democrats choose the wrong candidate?” The question we are too afraid to ask is simple: “What is our society, such that Donald Trump could be President?” But this is the question we must ask as we plan the necessary fight back.

The answers, like the United States of America, can only be understood in fragments. Continue reading

The Scientific Statement on Homosexuality – A Useful Document?

Two weeks ago, President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni demamded scientific proof that homosexuality is not a genetic trait before signing the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. On Friday, the team of scientists – commissioned by Museveni’s NRM party – published their Scientific Statement on Homosexuality. It concludes: “There is no definitive gene responsible for homosexuality.” Consequently, and as promised, Museveni indicates he will sign the AHB.

This development is deeply troubling. Yet the Statement itself can be used to oppose the AHB.

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Reflections on IUAES Congress 2013

Picture 1This summer, my alma mater the University of Manchester played host to the 17th Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnographic Scientists (IUAES). I was fortunate enough to attend, and found it exciting and unusual for a number of reasons, all of which were pleasantly surprising and unusually progressive for a conference of this size, scope and prestige.
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Positive feedback on Zambian climate change short

Recently I’ve been editing together a short film about how pollution and deforestation are affecting communities in rural Zambia. Last week I met Timothy Mgala, the director of Kamanga Dance Ensemble, who together wrote and acted out the piece.

It’s been tough work editing without understanding the language spoken, but an interesting challenge. The footage is bright and colourful, reflecting the natural beauty of the area well. Now that we’ve gone through and properly translated the improv scenes, the film is really coming together. Hopefully it’ll find a wide audience both here in the UK and back in Zambia.

Prison Visitors’ Centre film in edit

I’m currently working on the edit of a short information film to be shown in prison visitors centres in the North West. It’s a really important project because it’s been made with offenders families themselves, not with scripted actors. It’s designed to put people visiting the prison at ease, and to reassure them that a lot of people go through the same experience every day.

The shoot was great, and it was an exciting pleasure to film at one of the UK’s most renown institutions and be accommodated and respected by all the staff there. Everyone is behind the project. There have been a lot of new experiences, too: using blue screen effects and dubbing into multiple languages have been interesting challenges.