The following films were created from 100 inteviews with heritage ‘ stakeholders’s in Amman and Damascus in 2009-10 for an ESRC-funded research project examining the colonial modernities of the two cities. Each film covers a different theme of the relationship between cultural identity and heritage tourism and is edited using a different filmic style in order to examine how the way we produce knowledge affects the knowledge that is produced. In this way I aimed to show how filmmaking as a form of ethnography can help us do the following:
1. Reflect back on our research methods as researchers and how the methods we choose influence the knowledge we produce
2. Interrogate the mechanisms of representation within contemporary heritage discourse from the position of the knowledge producer and the intended audience.
I. Amman – The linear format. Interview footage – including medium close-up shots of authority figures in offices – is intercut with shots of the urban landscape in question. ‘Cutaways’ are used to support or contradict verbal statements. Viewers are given the position of judge in that they feel they have been given access to all the main issues so they can come to a conclusion. This positionality encourages the viewer to identify with the expert, whose location (office) is separated from the subject (heritage). The ‘authorative’ perspective is somewhat destabilised by the omission of a voiceover.