Accepted paper:

Collaborative ethnographic and transdisciplinary work toward exploring water


Joshua Cohen
Amber Abrams (University of Cape Town)
Hoybye Martin (Aarhus University)

Paper short abstract:

Combining participant observation, participatory and artistic methodologies, collaborators from two transdisciplinary university units ( Aarhus University; University of Cape Town) provide insight into our mixed media attempts to tell different kinds of human-water stories.

Paper long abstract:

In 2018 Cape Town became the first major world city to face the potential of not enough water for its population as water became subject to regimes of quantification, ownership, and commodification, transformed into universalized, globalized 'modern water' (Linton 2010). Anecdotal evidence suggests that in their day to day life, people rarely actually encounter 'modern water', evincing many other ways of relating to water as cool and refreshing, as memory-laden, as vital and vitalizing, as precious. This presentation will provide insights into a collaborative project born out of a shared focus on water. The project researchers worked together using their various skill sets (medical and environmental anthropology; arts and music-based engagements; on-the-water field trips) to collaboratively engage in a Cape Town water users evaluative process (March - May 2019 and September - December 2019) which comparatively explores similar work done in Denmark by the same team (June - September 2019). The presenters will engage with an overview of methods, and findings as well as providing feedback on lessons learned in transdisciplinary, multi-media research.

panel P138
Collaborative Futures in Practice: Methods and pedagogies for imagining and doing anthropology together [PechaKucha]