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Department of Social Anthropology


We are enormously saddened to have received the news that Mantas Kvedaravicius, a former student of our Department (PhD in Social Anthropology, 2014), was killed by the Russian forces in Mariupol, Ukraine. Mantas was a brilliant anthropologist and uniquely talented ethnographic and documentary filmmaker, well-known through his films Barzakh (2011) and Mariupolis (2016). 

Mantas conducted fieldwork for his PhD dissertation in Grozny, Chechnya. His dissertation, entitled, "Knots of Absence: Death, Dreams, and Disappearances at the Limits of Law in the Counter-Terrorism Zone of Chechnya," studied Chechen mothers of the disappeared in their engagements with human rights organizations, lawyers, journalists, and dream interpreters in search of their sons. 

His dissertation makes a most unique contribution to the anthropology of wartime, death, mourning and absence, and includes long sections of poetic prose which Mantas wrote as a genre of ethnographic narrative. Mantas made the film Barzakh as a component of his PhD research and submitted the film alongside his dissertation. This film then went on to receive numerous awards. Mantas's next film Mariupolis, researched and filmed in 2015 in Mariupol and depicting everyday life in wartime Ukraine in this period, premiered in Berlinale in 2016 and was awarded Best Documentary at the Lithuanian Film Awards.  At the time of his death, Mantas was working on two films in Uganda. He had gone to Mariupol, along with his life partner Hanna Bilobrova, to film a sequel to MariupolisMariupolis 2, made of fragments of Mantas's film clips just before he was killed, was screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival. 

A memorial event to remember Mantas and to honour him and his work has been organized by the Department and will be held between 4 and 8pm on 10 October 2022. This will be a hybrid event, both in person and online, and a zoom link for online participation by Mantas’s friends and family will be shared nearer to the time.  

Mantas’s PhD Supervisor, Yael Navaro will chair the event with the participation of Christos Lynteris (a close anthropological collaborator of Mantas), Dimitrios Bouras (a collaborator of Mantas in photography/cinematography), Hanna Bilobrova (Mantas's life partner and creator of Mariupolis 2), and Kaspars Goda (a close friend and collaborator of Mantas). Time will be reserved for friends of Mantas from his PhD cohort and his time in Cambridge to say a few words in his memory (whether this be online or in person).  The event will be held in the Cynthia Beerbower Room, Dorothy Garrod Building, Newnham College. After spoken tributes to Mantas, his film Barzakh will be screened, to be followed with discussion. 

Our thoughts are with Mantas's family and friends, and with everyone who has been directly affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

A link for an interview with Mantas may be found here: