P027
Materialising the Imagination: How People Make Ideas Manifest

Convenors:
Jessica Symons (University of Manchester)
Andrew Irving (University of Manchester)
Nigel Rapport (St. Andrews University)
Format:
Panels
Location:
Brunei Gallery - B211
Start time:
1 June, 2018 at 11:30
Session slots:
4

Short abstract:

This panel calls for ethnographically-inspired explorations into how people bring their imagined worlds into material form, whether through drawing, music, software design or political systems. We are looking for patterns in the creative process that work across sectors or thematic groupings.

Long abstract:

This panel calls for ethnographically-inspired explorations into how people bring their imagined worlds into material form, whether through drawing, art, animation, music, theatre, ritualised expression, scientific endeavour, software design or the development of political systems. We are looking for patterns in the creative process that work across sectors or thematic groupings, whether cultural, geographical or ideological. The productive tension between artists and anthropologists lies in the difference between emphasis on the enquiry (anthropologists) and emphasis on the product of enquiry (artists). However anthropologists are increasingly reaching beyond academic texts and communities seeking to share insights and stimulate change, urged on perhaps by the social and political vortex of current times. As 'activist anthropology' collapses into anthropology, it is important to clarify exactly what anthropologists bring to the 'producer' community. The difference potentially resides in how anthropologists trace the process of enquiry itself, bringing creative production into light and into analytical frameworks. Creativity is a highly desirable asset in an industrialising marketplace and an anthropologist's craft allows us to clarify the creative process. By providing a 'design trace' on the journey of ideas into material form, ethnography has the potential to truly shine as an analytical tool. Papers might include the following themes: - How artists (musicians, designers, animators, performers, filmmakers) practice - How groups of people negotiate new and emerging ideas - How communities adapt to changing environments - How programmers write software - How scientists experiment - How new ideas are absorbed into existing practices