Ethnographic Film Unit to relocate into a purpose-built space


Great news for the Ethnographic Film Unit. We will be relocating into a purpose-built space in the next little while. The current lab has served its purpose well, but is essentially a long room not designed with collaborative film production in mind. A confluence of unrelated events and processes has made the move to upgraded facilities possible.

Opportunities are indeed located in disruption! Over the quiet summer months administrative staff in the department and faculty were engaged in their regular review of facilities. The Faculty of Arts, in particular, faces a serious problem of lack of adequate space for research, teaching, and social activities. As our faculty grows, our facilities have not kept pace; many of our buildings are long overdue for renovation and replacement. AnSo Building, a former women’s dormitory built in the 1950s, is sorely in need of repairs and can barely meet the needs of the departments of anthropology and sociology. Administrative staff were exploring ways to find efficiencies in facilities use and identify areas where renovations would make a difference.

At the same time, the Department received a list of requests including one that has been a longstanding area of concern for graduate students in anthropology: more usable, safe, and effective social and study space. Given current building configurations there isn’t really any spare space around.

That’s where the two processes came together.

The Film Unit has needed better purpose built facilities for some time now. Graduate students need a place to meet and work in the department. The administration was already working on renovations to improve research and teaching spaces in the building. This created the perfect moment to make changes to meet all of these various needs.

The Film Unit is excited with the prospects of a new purpose-build lab within the AnSo Building that will clear the way for a new social and work space for our graduate students. The transition won’t happen overnight. There is a lot of work to do first. The great thing is that we will be able to meet the needs of all concerned in a respectful, dignified, and just manner. The Film Unit will be better able to serve the needs and interests of the wider community with the renewed support of the department and university. Students will have a place of their own. The university will have found a way to respect students and faculty at the same time.

By Charles Menzies
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