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Master
Cultural and Social Anthropology: Visual Anthropology (track)
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Film as a medium to understand social circus

All over the world, children are moving for social change: by doing social circus. For my research, I focused on how children from different social, economic and cultural backgrounds from the Stellenbosch area in South Africa experience moving together in social circus. Also, how social circus tries to help the children to challenge the barriers and walls that are part of the South African landscape. This landscape of walls has become part of the children that I studied. I use landscape as a term to try to show the entanglements of history, political context, culture, nature, body and mind. It encompasses the way people are being-in-the-world; how they form, and are formed by it, in a continuous movement. My aim was to research how this movement of life and the movements in the circus relate to each other.

Sophie Kalker

Exploring other life worlds

I wanted to use film as a medium to come closer to an understanding and portrayal of the experiences of the children, since I don’t think that academic writing alone can communicate the sensorial experience of embodiment and movement. I focused on walls as visual metaphors for the barriers that exist between people from different socio-, cultural, and economic groups in my film. Visual anthropology provides the methods to show how these children embody and become aware of these walls. We should recognize cinema as something that holds many possibilities for creating and sharing knowledge and exploring other life worlds.

Out of my comfort zone

The experiences I gained during the master have shaped the way I experience my life world right now. To do independent research for a whole year challenges you to think about what truly interests you, what you want to discover and learn about. It pulled me out of my comfort zone. It helped me to gain more confidence in trying to pave the way in the direction I want to go, even though it is a very uncertain one. I want to continue in filmmaking, and I feel that the background in Visual Anthropology is an interesting one to start with, since it offers both an academic and a practical way of thinking. This experience has given me trust in being capable of starting and finishing something on my own. I hope I can take this mentality into further projects.