Accepted Paper:

Anthropology+Art+Aesthetics: engaging the society in anthropological conversations  


Cristina Balma-Tivola

Paper short abstract:

My contribution will engage the audience in a conversation about anthropological work when this is aimed to open up and promote – within the broader society – a collective reflection on cultural issues by recurring to art strategies (performance, visual arts, storytelling etc.).

Paper long abstract:

Anthropology is a discipline that can impact those who embrace it so deeply in their vision of the world and attitude towards life that many times person and anthropologist can't be distinguished anymore. Still, when the same academic world is analysed under anthropological lens, it can't but reveal its ethnocentrism. This was the reason of my unease with it, and the reinforcement of my long-standing interest in working beyond the ivory tower in the broader human society. Here work is truly engaged with people lives - both when with direct consequences on their living conditions and when in intellectual production where they are interlocutors.

Besides being involved in migrant professional education and in urban community project, art practice is the one I devote myself spending my competences as an anthropologist. In fact, while I see anthropological methods as the most accurate to reflect upon cultures, I also perceive this professional as a mediator in the communication between human beings. Furthermore, I think this 'shaman' role to be more effective when insights are shared in aesthetic (="moving the senses") modes.

I then became an artist myself, sharing my findings on crucial issues of our times by photography and video, writing on magazines under a charming retro style fictional character, poetry reading, and composing books in narrative playful storytelling forms.

My contribution will then engage the audience in a conversation about anthropological work when aimed to broaden collective reflection by art strategies - performance, visual arts, storytelling etc.

Panel P099
Going public: writing and speaking outside the ivory tower