Accepted paper:

Subject to Change: strengths and struggles of using film to empower urban Maasai migrants


Shamia Sandles

Paper short abstract:

Subject to Change is film that documents how film was used to educate and empower disenfranchised Maasai migrants in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This session will concentrate on the successes and challenges of using post-screening discussions to provoke the audience to take action to help themselves.

Paper long abstract:

Subject to Change is a student film that demonstrates how visual anthropology was used to educate and empower disenfranchised Maasai migrants in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It chronologically documents the production of Maasai Migrants, an action research film made in collaboration between American anthropologists, a Tanzanian Maasai-focused NGO, and members of the Maasai migrant community. Conflict, uncertainty, misunderstanding, and revelation are highlighted in clips of meetings between the film's stakeholders. However, the most revealing clips of Subject to Change are from facilitated post-screening discussions with audiences of Maasai migrants. This sesssion will concentrate on how the venues and facilitators of these post-screening discussions impacted the audiences' ability to find a meaningful connection to the film. Subject to Change focuses on three different facilitated post-screening discussions with urban Maasai migrants in Tanzania. The first two screenings, one at a church and the other at a school, were held in Dar es Salaam. The third screening was held at a rural homestead. I will screen clips of urban Maasai speaking about their personal experience in each of these venues. I will then examine the different successes and challenges we faced using film to encourage Maasai migrants in Dar es Salaam to reflect on what actions they need to take to improve their situation.

panel P25
Can anthropology work for migrants? Anthropology (-ists) at work in charities and NGOs