Author: Hayes, Matthew Robert
This thesis is based upon a six-month long ethnographic study I conducted, which led to the production of Tom Quixote, a twenty-minute documentary film about Tom Crean, a Vancouver funeral director. It is about the role of collaboration in the making of the film, as well as the role of chance in leading me there. It is narrated chronologically to show how, step-by-step, Tom and I developed our relationship, how I was required to improvise in response to ethnographic refusal and the emergence of newly relevant literature, and to show when and why Tom and I encountered tensions. Despite our best efforts at developing, as George Marcus calls it, a “complicit” engagement, Tom and I eventually reached a point where our artistic visions clashed, and my vision was authorized over his. Ultimately, Tom and I were both extremely happy with the film and the results of the study, considering our collaboration a success, however the experience led me to reconsider and re-emphasize the significance of negotiation in collaborative ethnography.
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Thesis advisor: Culhane, Dara
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