In 2015, Nora Wildenaurer won the IIAS National Master's Thesis Prize in Asian Studies, which was awarded -in the form of a three-month fellowship- for her multi-media thesis: Development brokers in a relocation project in Flores. A multi-media thesis about translations, interpretations and contestation.
I am using my IIAS fellowship to revise my master's thesis and to develop a PhD project in accordance with my thematic and methodological interests. Additionally, I am committed as an advisor to the Cinepedia Ethnographica project, which intends to create an open access, union catalog of ethnographic film worldwide.
My anthropological interests lie at the intersection of society and environment. In my research, which is geographically located in Flores, eastern Indonesia, I focus on (1) development, (2) the production, appropriation and negotiation of global development discourses by development-brokers, and (3) the localization of these discourses by various stakeholders who aim to serve their personal objectives. In particular, I am interested in brokerage, relocation practices, disaster-induced displacement as well as the perception and construction of 'nature' and volcanoes in Indonesia.
Trained as a visual anthropologist at Leiden University, I combine visual methods with other modes of anthropological knowledge production, such as participant observation, discourse analysis and actor-network-theory. Drawing from various methodologies, I aim to question discursive categories which are often perceived as dichotomies – such as development and religion – and investigate objectives of political actors who do not claim fixed positions but are constantly shifting identities and merging categories. By following an empirical, actor-centred approach I thereby turn development and humanitarian aid into a category of practice. Furthermore, I am looking for ways to represent my research findings in a way that reflect upon the often non-linear and non-dichotomous nature of field encounters and knowledge production. The use of audio-visual methods and the presentation of research findings in multi-media formats allow me to pay attention to circular and layered connections between multiple interpretations without implying a superimposed, non-existing coherence.
My master's research thus resulted in the multi-media thesis “Development brokers in a relocation project in Flores: a multi-media thesis about translations, interpretations and contestations,” which, in 2015, was awarded the IIAS National Master's Thesis Prize for Asian Studies. The main part of this thesis, the ethnographic documentary “Fighting for Nothing to Happen”, has been screened at various ethnographic film festivals and honoured with several prizes, including the Award for Best Graduate Student Film 2015 from the Society for Visual Anthropology and the Student Award at Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival 2016.