Events Calendar

The RAI Film Festival 2023 Online Conference
From Monday 06 March 2023
To Friday 10 March 2023
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Online Conference: Visual Anthropology and Speculative Futures

Open Call for Panels: The RAI Film Festival 2023 Online Conference

The RAI FILM FESTIVAL 2023 is hosting an online academic conference, 6-10 March 2023. Paper presentations will be delivered live and will be followed by a Q&A with the public.

(Scroll down to find out about key dates and conference passes)

As always we welcome panel, roundtable and workshop proposals from academics and practitioners in anthropology and adjacent disciplines. For this edition we are also specifically inviting participants to consider:

Visual anthropology and speculative futures

We find ourselves in a moment in which it is difficult to imagine what the future holds. The war, the intensification of climate change and the pandemic have brought questions about the future in sharp relief for everyone. Of course, for those at the sharp end of history, the future has always been uncertain and an open challenge. In this increasingly uncertain present, questions about the place, temporality and role of visual/sensory/multimodal anthropology feel more pressing than ever. If, as Stuart Hall says, history is always unfinished business, then the future is always multiple and open to many possibilities. What is our part in revisiting histories and shaping possible futures?
These are not new questions, and visual/sensory/multimodal anthropologists have been productively working with collaborative and multimodal modes, questioning authority and authorship, and creating an anthropology that engages multiple publics and is world-making. Afro- Indo- and Indigenous Futurisms, along with other related artistic and literary genres, have long engaged questions of temporality and futurity. These have been significant in shaping contemporary visual anthropologists’ practices and approaches and opened the future as something to be investigated, not as a remote possibility, but as an active agent in the production of now.

In this conference we ask: 

What is the work that visual anthropology does with imaginings of diverse futures? 

How do we reckon with the power of the future in the present? 

How do we explore alternative futures through audio-visual-digital practice?  

How are these anticipatory practices remaking our worlds now?  

Some of the themes contributors might want to consider are:

  • The role of anthropology in imagining and co-creating possible futures
  • Documentary approaches to the future
  • The future of visual anthropology
  • Climate and environmental futures in visual practice research 
  • VR, 360, AR and their role in anthropological research
  • Afro- Indo- and Indigenous Futurisms
  • Non-linear temporalities
  • The affective dimension of future-oriented research 
  • Feminist futures
  • Art practices that take the future as a horizon of possibility 
  • Speculative fiction 
  • Utopian / dystopian storytelling
  • The relation between documentary and speculative modalities
  • Trans & non-binary futures
  • Narratives of financial and market futures
  • Disability futurism
  • The relation between world building and anthropology
  • The relation between anthropology and literature, visual art, film


Panels consist of 15 minute papers (though convenors can alter this as long as everyone is given equal time). Roundtable sessions have shorter presentations and more time for discussion. Workshops are more interactive.

Key dates:

Call for Panels opens 22 March 2022 and closes on 2 July 2022
Call for Papers opens 15 July 2022 and closes on 31 October 2022
Registration opens 03 February 2023

Conference Fees:

Fellows & Members: £90
Non-Fellows: £150
Concessions (students, unemployed and retired persons): £50
Delegates with low income from Low Income Countries (  £35

Paying the conference fee will automatically give you access to the online film festival (3 – 31 March 2023) and to the live film festival (23 – 25 March 2023) which will be held in Bristol (UK).