Digital Drama: Teaching and Learning Art and Media in Tanzania

Research Methods

In this research project I have combined participant observation with digital, sensory, and visual research methods. After a brief visit to BCA in 2002, I was hired as an ICT consultant by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to assist the college develop an ICT strategy. From 2004 to 2007 I advised the college on Internet access, training, and multimedia production. In 2009, I returned to the college to carry out ethnographic fieldwork for six months, with a grant from SAREC/Sida. I returned to TaSUBa in December 2010 to go through the manuscript for Digital Drama with research interlocutors. Throughout my years of ethnographic engagement, I have used photo and video to document activities and events at the college. During fieldwork I also explored visual and sensory research methods, paying close attention to the sights, sounds, and other senses of everyday life on campus. I have been inspired by the work of visual anthropologist David MacDougall and his concept social aesthetics. To paraphrase MacDougall, digital anthropology should be concerned with the study of digital cultural forms as well as the use of digital media to describe and analyze culture. In this project I have explored a method I call reflexive video narratives, walking around campus with research collaborators who have filmed and commented their surroundings. See Nina's videos in Karibu TaSUBa! and digital anthropology. An edited version of Hussein Masimbi's reflexive video narrative is presented here.


Photo 1: A/C (air-conditioning) as expression of power

 


Photo 2: Social distribution of A/C in college administration


Photo 3: Sound of lawn mower expressing institutional transformations


Photo 4: Outsourcing of campus maintenance

Photo 5: Visual methods in practice. Photo by Sixmund Begashe.


Photo 6: Documenting the documentation of auditions. Photo by Sixmund Begashe.

Photo 7: Kiswigu Bernad producing her reflexive video narrative


Photo 8: Hussein Masimbi filming his office
 

Video 1: Hussein's video narrative (edited version)




Photo 9: Hussein reading the manuscript for Digital Drama


Photo 10: Nina reviewing her story in the manuscript


Photo 11: Discussing book launch event with John Sagatti, Vitali Maembe, and Hussein Masimbi