Doing ethnography means an immersion that encompasses the ethnographer's whole person and self. Academic forms of communication largely neglect these experiential dimensions of fieldwork, though. The lab introduces a teaching method, which facilitates the analysis of sensory fieldwork experiences.
The lab gives participants the chance to experience and experiment with the 'Image Theatre Method' - an innovative teaching method informed by the approaches of Maya Nadig's 'Psychoanalytische Deutungswerkstatt' [Workshop of Psychoanalytic Meaning Making] and Augusto Boal's 'Theatre of the Opressed'. By focusing on bodily experiences as a source of ethnographic knowledge, the method can contribute to bringing dimensions of sensory experiences into the classroom. Sensory and transformative experiences constitute and shape learning processes during social anthropological fieldwork. Doing ethnography relies on personal encounters and involves bodily experiences and emotional encounters. But while social anthropologists use all their senses in the field, the academic discourse and teaching practices are mainly limited to certain senses. The preparation and processing of fieldwork in teaching (and elsewhere) almost exclusively focus on discussing textual sources, e.g. theoretical articles or written fieldwork reflections. The lab suggests an additional way to include sensory dimensions in classroom teaching. It introduces the participants to an experiential teaching method, which aims at getting access and giving meaning to sensory field experiences. During the session participants engage in different exercises borrowed from theatre pedagogy and improvisational theatre and finally stage a participant's fieldwork experience and collectively make sense of it. It would be helpful if all participants would bring an example of a personal sensory-social encounter in the field, which they find significant.