This panel discusses examples and techniques for exhibiting contemporary anthropological research without drawing on museum collections. The aim is to explore the huge potential of exhibitions to engage the general public in current debates and have an impact on policy making.
This panel explores how contemporary research in anthropology may not only be shared more efficiently with the general public but also influence policy makers through exhibition making. It aims to demonstrate that exhibitions are not only tools for disseminating information but also vehicles to fine-tune research and a potential source for future action and change. The ongoing emphasis placed on 'ethnographic objects' in museum collections has limited anthropologists in their experimentation with the exhibition format. In this panel we aim to show that by freeing objects from collections or using objects absent in current stores, thereby breaking with conservative methods of care, curation and display, anthropologists may transform exhibitions into complex multi-dimensional spaces that encourage visitors to engage in debates about issues that matter to them. These kinds of exhibitions thus also resemble democratic forums that may entice a variety of stakeholders including policy makers to bring about real change. We encourage papers that focus on how the everyday material world 'encountered' during fieldwork might be creatively brought to live in exhibition spaces while encouraging visitors' participation. One way to do this could be through experimentation with how the multi-sensory aspect of space might be used more efficiently, but a focus on stories is another way in which one can evoke lived, embodied experience. We are particularly interested in exhibitions that explore contemporary topics such as political ideology, migration, feeling at home, ageing, poverty, social and health care, infrastructure and climate change.