AT THE DEPT. OF ANTHROPOLOGY, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
STARTING SEPTEMBER 2009
Please inform undergraduates and other potential students about this new MA programme for which further details can be found at www.ucl.ac.uk/anthropology/digital-anthropology
The new MA is based in the Material and Visual Culture group at UCL. It reflects the fact that more and more of our projects, both students and staff, have been focused on the impact of new digital technologies, and this is something we expect to see increase still further in the future. Recently we were joined by Graeme Were (museums and collections) who has been working on digitalisation projects for museum collections, and Paul Basu (appointed to the Institute of Archaeology) who has an extensive new project on digital curation. Both of them were originally trained in our group and will lecture on the new MA. Also Paolo Favero joined us on a temporary basis and has been working on the digital city in Delhi and the impact of Flickr. We have been enabled by UCL to strengthen this team with the appointment of a permanent member of staff dedicated to this MA (see advert below). All of this suggested a movement in the direction of digital technologies as a research topic. Further as you will see in the details on our site we have a wide range of digital PhD projects from brain training games to mobile phones in Romania to more museum related projects.
We hope that the new MA in combination with this new research will help make UCL a centre for such digital anthropology projects and complement our strengths in more traditional material and visual culture such as photography, consumption and heritage. This does not replace the current MA in Material and Visual Culture which will continue.
Digital technologies have become ubiquitous. From Facebook, Youtube and Flickr to PowerPoint and Second Life. Museum displays migrate to the internet, family communication in the Diaspora is dominated by new media, artists work with digital films and images. Anthropology and ethnographic research is fundamental to understanding the local consequences of these innovations, and to create theories that help us acknowledge, understand and engage with them. Today’s students need to become proficient with digital technologies as research and communication tools. Through combining technical skills with appreciation of social effects, students will be trained for further research and involvement in this emergent world.
This MA brings together three key components in the study of digital culture:
1. Skills training in digital technologies, including our own Digital Lab, from internet and visual arts to e-curation and digital ethnography.
2. Anthropological theories of virtualism, materiality/immateriality and digitisation.
3. Understanding the consequences of digital culture through the ethnographic study of its social and regional impact.
There is a £5,000 annual bursary specifically for this and the MA in Material and Visual Culture, as well as 3 x £1,000 bursaries for all anthropology MA programmes. All those who have submitted an application by 30 June 2009 will automatically be considered and no additional application form is necessary.
The programme is suitable both for those with a prior degree in anthropology but also for those with degrees in neighbouring disciplines who wish to be trained in anthropological and related approaches to digital culture. There is scope for those with specialist interests to work closely with designers, curators, communication specialists as well as our own digital studio. In addition to its importance for careers such as media, design and museums, digital technology is also integral to development, theoretical and applied anthropology.