Profile film 2014 07 01 01 21

Curtis James

Ethnographer/Photographer, Fieldwork/Self-Other in Brighton United Kingdom

I'm Curtis James, and I am involved in a number of projects.

Whitehawk Volumes aims to affect a wider change in the way the public sees Whitehawk, on the outskirts of Brighton UK, and in the way government makes policy for the area. I grew up in Whitehawk and this work has been in the making since I left 26 years ago. I want people and policy-makers to see Whitehawk through local peoples eyes, rather than through indices of deprivation or negative news stories.

I co-founded Self/Other CIC in 2018 with anthropologist Dr Simon Newitt and designer Emily Macaulay. We do ethnographic research and reportage on life in the UK, publishing and producing monographs, zines, podcasts, films, sound and photography.

We work alongside communities and socially purposed organisations to surface the assumptions and structures hidden in plain sight and everyday life. The assumptions from which the world around us emerges and our lives are given meaning.

We have one process, and that is participatory, action-orientated, group enquiry. Our approach to this is highly visual and creative but grounded in applied social science.

We unify research, education, organisational development, community development and social action. For us, they are all indivisible from enquiry; do together, learn together, mobilise together, all at the same time.

I work out of a studio in central Brighton that doubles as a dark room, letterpress, screenprinting and bookbinding studio.

I co-founded and worked at People Who Do between 2008 and 2014. I developed and ran a global music programme for Heineken between 2002 and 2008. I made records during the 90's.

I go hiking and wild camping a lot.

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Beyond Work

@ VOL 27 ON JUN 28, 2017

Curtis James explores our relationship with work and each other through this inspiring and beautiful talk on how he plans to reconnect a community.

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@ VOL 33 ON JUN 26, 2019

Photographer and Ethnographer Curtis James talks life, death, housing and chicken pies.

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Brighton @ The Nightingale Room
Jun 26, 2019

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Brighton @ The Nightingale Room
Jun 28, 2017