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.
II. Mystery of the Orient – Brief excerpts from interviews with tourists, filmed while shopping in the Old City and responding to the same questions, are edited into in a sequence. These ‘soundbites’ allow individual comments to be presented as group ideas, and cutting them between a Syrian man singing and playing the oud (in a neighbouring shop) emphasises the sense of place. Landscape as background is also brought to the foreground via framing that is fixed to increase audience awareness of location. Structure, and humour, is provided by the music, interaction between interviewees and timing of the cuts.
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