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ASTROMOVES: Studying Astrophysicists' Careers and other Cultural Astronomy Topics

ASTROMOVES: Studying Astrophysicists' Careers and other Cultural Astronomy Topics

ASTROMOVES is funded by the European Union in the form of an Marie Skłodowska Curie Action Individual Fellowship. This blog shares research findings and discussions about ASTROMOVES, but also captures the other Cultural Astronomy research and activities of PI Jarita Holbrook. The reader may find here information about Astrophysics Culture, African Indigenous Astronomy, and Indigenous Astronomy in general.

Making the ASTROMOVES Documentary Film

The last few months have been for completing the ASTROMOVES documentary film. There were a few problems along the way including simply not having enough computing power, which merited a change to a new Macbook pro with M chip. The documentary is a film made during lockdown and the Pandemic, as such it is full of talking heads saying very interesting things. However, there is no extra footage usually called B-roll.


Orion image with scientists as major stars.When the first draft of the film was completed, it was 1.5 hours of talking heads with the only relief being simple animations introducing topics for each section. After screening the long version and getting feedback, there was a demand for B roll. In other astronomy documentaries you can always drop in a spectacular Hubble Space Telescope Image of a galaxy or nebula, etc, but in ASTROMOVES they are not actually talking about their research so including astronomy images would not be relevant.

In the end, I decided to chop the documentary up into smaller films. Each film is still primarily talking heads, but since the films are much shorter it isn’t so tedious to watch.

I feel like there will be many forthcoming documentary films that will be similar because we were all restricted during the Pandemic. So, my films will be artefacts of trying to get things done during COVID.

One of the first shorts that I completed was on COVID. The scientists share their struggles and successes during lockdown including balancing childcare, mental health and having COVID-19.

“ASTROMOVES: Astrophysicists and COVID” has been submitted to the Close:Up Edinburgh Docufest, the Scottish International Short Film Festival and the Women over 50 Film Festival. Over the coming months they will notify me if the film has been accepted.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 892944

(Background: Stellarium. Pictures from ASTROMOVES interviews.)

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