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The art of joining together: Why we need a yuta [new] anthropology

‘Buku-manapanmirr means joining together. When Yolŋu use this term they point to the potential for people to come together without denying the differences that define us’, Phone & Spear, Miyarrka Media

As life becomes ever-more screen-bound, as we lurch through these days marked by separation and isolation, as we watch social fractures intensified by social media and digital platforms… In the midst of this, we invite you to join us for a discussion of the new book by Arnhem Land collective, Miyarrka Media, Phone & Spear: a performative manifesto for a new anthropology; an anthropology that does not simply explain or reveal one world to another, but works creatively to bring worlds into relationship.

Miyarrka Media clockwise from top left: James Ganambarr, Meredith Balanydjarrk, Enid Guruŋulmiwuy, Warren Balpatji, Jennifer Deger, Paul Gurrumuruwuy & Kayleen Djingawuy

Miyarrka Media is an arts collective based in the Yolŋu community of Gapuwiyak in northern Australia. Led by Dhalwaŋu elder Paul Gurrumuruwuy and James Cook University’s Jennifer Deger, Miyarrka Media have exhibited in the United States, Europe, Australia and Taiwan. Their collaborations include the films Ringtone (2014), Manapanmirr, in Christmas Spirit (2012) and a their recent keynote Making Worlds Otherwise for the online conference Distribute 2020. Their exhibited artworks and installations include Christmas Birrimbirr (2011), Gapuwiyak Calling (2014) and Warwuyu [Worry] (2018). Miyarrka Media’s co-created book, Phone & Spear: a Yuta Anthropology has recently been released in print  (Goldsmiths Press, 2019) and digital formats ( Miyarrka Media’s motto is ‘we share life’. 

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Date: 13 November 2020
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Location: IPCS, Online via Zoom

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Jennifer Deger


Jennifer Deger is a Tropical Research Leader at James Cook University, Theme Leader Creative Ecologies at The Cairns Institute, and co-founder of Miyarrka Media. She has been the recipient of a number of fellowships and awards including an ARC Future Fellowship. In addition to her co-creative projects with Miyarrka Media, including the recent book, Phone & Spear: a Yuta Anthropology (Goldsmiths 2019), Jennifer recently curated Feral Atlas: The More-Than-Human Anthropocene with Anna Tsing, Alder Keleman Saxena and Feifei Zhou (Stanford Digital Projects, She is about to begin a new research project, Rangingur: a Yolngu digital art of renewal, with Paul Gurrumuruwuy funded by the Australian Research Council.

Paul Gurrumuruwuy


Paul Gurrumuruwuy is a Director of Laynhapuy Homelands Association, a Director of Goŋ-Ḏäl Aboriginal Corporation social enterprise, and co-founder of Miyarrka Media. He lives and works as a senior ranger in a small outstation on the Arafura Sea, and has toured the world as a dancer, actor, artist and co-director of the award-winning films Ringtone (2015) and Manapamirr, in Christmas Spirit (2012). He has co-authoued a number of publications in the fields of visual anthropology, digital museology, and indigenous ethics, including Phone & Spear: a Yuta Anthropology (Goldsmiths 2019).  He is about to begin a new research project, Rangingur: a Yolngu digital art of renewal, with Jennifer Deger funded by the Australian Research Council.

Paul Carter


Paul Carter is an internationally renowned writer, artist, and cultural heritage specialist. He has written extensively about white settler societies, their foundational myths and the ways these inform the places they create and the national narratives that hold them together. Paul has been involved with the design of commemorative landscapes (Nearamnew, Federation Square, Melbourne, 2002, Golden Grove, University of Sydney, 2007-2009), museum exhibits commemorating Indigenous and non-Indigenous senses of place (‘The Calling to Come and ‘Lost Subjects’, sound installations, both at the Museum of Sydney) and national memorials (notably ‘Out Of Their Feeling’ for the An Gorta Mor memorial to the Great Irish Famine, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney). Paul has published 15 books, including The Road to Botany Bay (1987; republished 2010), The Lie of the LandRepressed SpacesMaterial Thinking and Dark Writing. Paul is also Professor of Design (Urbanism) at RMIT University and was closely associated with the former New Zealand based journal Studies in Material Thinking.

Steven Feld


Steven Feld is Senior Scholar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico. An anthropologist, filmmaker, musician, and sound artist, he is also Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Emeritus at the University of New Mexico. Feld’s academic research principally concerns the anthropology of sound, a term he coined in 1972 to extend the anthropology of music and language into a more critical sensory and aesthetic focus on voice and poetics, all-species sound relations, media and technologies, and environmental and ecological acoustics. From 1975-2000 he pursued anthropology of sound studies in the Bosavi rainforest region in Papua New Guinea, researching relations of environmental ambient sounds, bird calls, weeping, poetics, and song. Based on this research Feld expanded the framework of the anthropology of sound in the early 1990’s to acoustemology, a term coined from at the conjunction of acoustics and epistemology to refer to sound as a way of knowing. Although principally associated with sound research and art, Feld has also worked for many years in the fields of documentary photography and film, producing work for festivals, galleries, and museums. Detailed information regarding his multiple projects can be found here: