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Department of Social Anthropology


Judging the competition:


“This year’s annual Photo Celebration brought together seven strong entries, diverse and visually compelling. Judging these submissions was a challenging yet rewarding task, as we were privileged to witness the integration of anthropological inquiry and photographic skill. The winning entries stood out for their exceptional quality, creativity, and narrative power”.

  -     2024 Judging Panel: Iza Kavedžija, Tim Cooper, Adam James Smith, Natalia Buitron, Andrew Sanchez, Mike Degani



1st prize: Juliette Gautron

My fieldwork is based in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in the northeast of Colombia. These pictures were taken with a film camera in December and January 2023-2024, as I spent time with indigenous Wiwa friends. I accompanied them for a few weeks as they went to visit their family for new year celebrations in their home village, on the South side of the Sierra, near Valledupar.


This interview with Juliette explains more about her fieldwork and the importance of photography to her research.


2nd prize: Gol Tengis

My ethnographic study investigates dance practices in Inner Mongolia, a Chinese ethnic autonomous region adjacent to Russia and Mongolia. From ancient petroglyphs to the 13th-century Mongol Empire's dances, rhythmic movement is familiar to Mongols. Yet, perceptions shifted with the introduction of 'theatre dance,' which brought a new lens to view traditional movements. This evolution of dance prompts Inner Mongolia's art circles to debate the existence of a distinct Mongolian dance, perplexing both locals and observers. Such discussions are not just artistic; they are tied to how anthropologists perceive Mongolian dance as a metaphor for China's ethnic relations. Within this framework, minorities are often objectified as 'primitive' or 'exotic'—images to be discarded by the Han majority in their self-understanding. Nonetheless, the Mongols' own view of their 'musically inclined' identity is mixed. My Fieldwork uncovers contrasting attitudes: some minorities ridicule Han Chinese for an alleged lack of artistic talent, while others argue that 'minority art' is an 'invented tradition,' positioning Mongolian dance as a vessel carrying ancient heritage rather than merely a 'socialist legacy.' These dynamics raise critical questions about the cultural significance and evolution of dance traditions.


3rd prize: Sally Montgomery

My ethnographic research is concerned with understanding the human-environment encounters on Lord Howe Island, Australia. Part of my research studies environmental scientists engaged in studying the effects of plastic pollution on migratory seabirds in Australia. Adrift Lab’s research focuses on using wild seabird species as environmental ‘sentinels’ – indicators of physical plastic pollution and its chemical effects on marine environments. My research seeks to understand the issue of ‘eco-grief’ as it emerges out of the groups’ research and engagement with a specific, yet pervasive issue within the Anthropocene – marine plastic pollution. My research seeks to understand how bearing witness to, and scientifically documenting the death and species decline of these seabirds might contribute to experiences of eco-grief and how these experiences in turn might influence the work, lives, relationships, and research of those who study the death of these seabirds.


Other 2024 entrants:

Daniel Kraus

Francesca Paniterri

Miriama Aoake

Sawen Ali