Art-based methods are increasingly used to capture the more-than-human, more-than-textual, multisensual realities of contemporary fieldwork. In this lab, we experience how these methods can help us - as scholars - as a practice of knowledge through four imaginative exercises.
Contemporary life continues to be powerfully shaped by the forces of globalization, information technology, and the Anthropocene. Their presence has underscored a need to re-envision traditional methodologies to deal with the more-than-human, more-than-textual, multisensual worlds present in anthropological fieldwork. Experiments with art-based methodologies are proving a fertile ground to deal with these contemporary presents, as exemplified by non-representational methodologies (Vannini 2015), Research through Design (Stappers & Giaccardi 2017), and uses of digital visual technologies (Irving 2016; Elliott & Culhane 2017). These methods help scholars open up their research to "more imagination, more light, and more fun, even" (Thrift 2008: 20). In this workshop, we experiment with our imagination as an active practice of experience and perception (McLean 2007) to guide us to new spaces of knowledge. The lab opens with a 'sky-gazing meditation' to expand our minds and bodies, thus creating 'space' for our imaginative experiments. This exercise is followed by mindmapping, whereby we play with colours, drawings, and unstructured thoughts to generate new insights about a personal research question. Using a body-scanning exercise, we then go beyond sight and experience how our other senses inform us about the world around. We close the lab by writing poetry, aided by photographic prompts, as an alternative to academic writing to convey our sensual experiences. Each exercise is closed with a moment for reflection and discussion. • the workshop is open to anyone interested in imaginative practices • paper, pencils, and crayons will be provided • please sign up by emailing to m.q.nouwens [at] gmail.com