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It is over two years since we experienced the first period of lock down because of COVID’19. Since then, we have had periods of interruptions at various levels of society. Deferrals, delays and disappointments have become part of the status-quo as the intangible virus translates into tangible consequences and material realities. The virus interrupts and is omnipresent: it is in our homes, as we grapple with the virus taking hold of our bodies and the bodies of loved ones; in our communities, as our mobility, opportunities to socialise and engage in communal activities get impeded by people being sick, requirements for self-isolation, or concern about the spread of the virus; at our workplaces, as we respond to requirements for QR log ins and masks, social distancing rules and a new sense of environment. We have been told we have to learn to ‘live with COVID’ – but what is this? What does living with COVID mean? What is life like now, after lock down?
These questions will be at the centre of the University of Newcastle’s fourth annual Ethnographic Film Night. Initiated as a UON Social Science Week event in 2019, the Ethnographic Film Night has brought together people from different continents, countries and cultures for a journey into rich visual worlds exploring the themes of environmental and human transformations.
This year, we have the privilege of being joined by Dr Willy Sier, anthropologist and Assistant Professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. We will screen the short ethnographic film Life After Lockdown in Wuhan, which is the result of a collaboration between Willy and her colleague Xu Xiaotou. The film, which is rooted in long-term ethnographic research, presents an everyday account of what life was like as Wuhan opened back up after the first outbreak of COVID19. We follow Xu through material filmed on her phone in the period after lockdown and follow her to the factory where she works and her home town where she is reunited with her family.
Willy will join us via zoom for Q&A after the film and tell us more about her work. Through reflections on the film, we invite you to a conversation about what life has been like after lockdown and how COVID is shaping our lives, creating experiences of commonality but also difference across national borders and diverse locations.
Please join us in person at the new Q Building at the UON City Campus, or via zoom link.Register now