Forging futures 
Rachel Harkness (University of Edinburgh)
Jennifer Clarke (Gray's School of Art, Robert Gordon University)
Start time:
15 May, 2014 at 15:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

We will trial ways of working that grow from engagements with the stuff of the world. How might the relation between academic inquiry and the knowledge it yields, particularly in regard to sustainable futures, be reconfigured by experimental approaches whose outcomes could include works of art?

Long Abstract

Conventional research protocols expect the scholar to treat the world as reserve from which to draw empirical material for subsequent interpretation in light of appropriate theory. As an alternative, our panel will consider anthropologies which trial ways of working that grow from direct, practical and observational engagements with the stuff of the world. We approach theoretical thinking as embedded in observational practice: emphasising studying with things or people instead of making studies of them. This has long been key to anthropology; it is also central to arts practice, as it is to the contingent disciplines of architecture and design. This panel invites proposals which are equally concerned with such anthropologies with.

Forging Futures emerges from the Knowing From the Inside project at the Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. The aim of this project is to reconfigure the relation between the practice of academic inquiry in the human sciences and the knowledge to which it gives rise. Our method is distinguished by observation and experiment, the outcomes of which will include works of art or craft, performances and installations. Our aim is to promote a hope-full anthropology committed to enriching the lives of those with whom we work and rendering them more sustainable.

Contributions are sought which engage questions of thinking-through-making and forging sustainable futures. We are particularly interested in how these topics relate. What might speculative, open-ended approaches in anthropology look like? How can anthropologies contribute to forging futures that are environmentally and socially just?

Accepted papers: