Thursday, 7 May 2015

Crafts in the Ethnographic Film Archive

There is a small but important ethnographic film archive at the Pitt Rivers Museum. These films either accompanied donations of artefacts or photographs, or else were acquired for teaching and research purposes. Much of the material, especially that of the early 20th century, is unique and of significant historical importance. You can find all those films that have been digitised to date here.

Some of the historical footage relates to local crafts - some of which have survived and others that have not - so this is of interest to the Need, Make, Use project.

Below is a playlist of some of these films including Wanga and Isukha blacksmiths from Kenya; Kamba men from Kenya making a drum; Kwali, the remarkable potter from Nigeria; and two films shot by Ursula Graham Bower in 1939 capturing the culture and crafts in Manipur, northeast India - featuring extended sequences of weaving, brass casting and pottery, as well as dance.