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L01


Ethnographic responsibility and responsible representation: Drawing as an alternative mode of representation and knowledge production 
Convenors:
Letizia Bonanno (University of Kent)
José Sherwood (Independent)
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Format:
Labs
Sessions:
Wednesday 31 March, 20:00-21:30 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

Text-based modes of ethnographic representation have represented the methodological core of anthropology.The panel asks the participants to engage with drawing as practice of representation and knowledge production which epistemologically and methodologically challenge traditional representations.

Long Abstract

This lab seeks to bring together scholars and researchers interested in exploring the potentials of graphic anthropology in overcoming traditional text-based modes of representation. We welcome the opportunity to share experiences on drawing as an ethnographic method and to enhance a practice-based discussion on the use of drawing as a trigger of self-reflexivity and an alternative mode of representation.We suggest that self-reflexivity enhances ethnographic responsibility insofar as it alerts the ethnographer to their own positionality. The lab wants to explore the potential of drawing not only as a perceptive tool for fieldwork but to also challenge traditional modes of ethnographic representation while providing alternative forms of knowledge production. Drawing has the capacity to recapture the very intersubjective nature of the ethnographic encounter (Bonanno 2019) while granting new margins to rethink ethnography as a retrospective endeavour of representation (Rumsby 2020).Moving beyond text, drawing grants the ethnographer the chance to visually render the reciprocity of gazes through which the experience of any ethnographic encounter is formed. Privileging the visual over the textual, "drawing ethnography" favours multiplicities and intersubjectivities, ruptures and discontinuities: these unfold through the very materialities of entangled and overlapping drawn lines, the spatialisation of panels and the contemporaneity of multiple subjects in the same ethnographic space.

The Lab centres its practice-based discussion around keystone areas of drawing as an ethnographic method.We invite participants to share their own experiences with drawing and bring papers, pens and pencils as we aim at fostering a practice-based discussion on the potentials of ethnographic drawing.