Apprenticeship: Illuminating Persons and Places through Shared Practice and Performance 
Michele Feder-Nadoff (El Colegio de Michoacán)
Elishka Stirton (University of Aberdeen)
SOAS Main Building - G51
Friday 1 June, 11:30-13:00, 14:00-15:30, 16:00-17:30 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

Mentor-apprenticeships with skilled craftspeople illuminate the somatic ethos of their social-aesthetic environments. The bonds of mentor-apprentice also can transform anthropological inquiry into collaborative ecological engagement. We invite participants to explore this close inter-folding. Please drop by during our third session and in this lab contribute a story of apprenticeship, whether through drawing, writing, poetry or threads. Help us make a tapestry of shared stories to illuminate the experience of apprenticeship and explore its contingencies.

Long Abstract

Apprenticeship has formed the basis of recent forays into embodied practices—such as, arts and crafts— , deeply informing ways of working anthropologically. Although apprenticeship has been addressed before in anthropology, it is often thought of as a type of social contract or methodological prescription in exchange for codified knowledge.

Newer decolonizing approaches towards apprenticeship-ethnography challenge objectivist imperatives by proposing integrative anthropologies that mesh theory with practice, and persons with/in places. In this topological field researchers and subjects interact horizontally in real-time rhythms of tension and discourse. We invite panelists to explore apprenticeship histories with/in the correspondences of shared making. What stories can be heard? What debates can be had? What powers can be revealed?

How are theory and practice meshed by makers and their apprentices?

How can the intimacy and empathy of apprenticeship— of learning with people side-by-side— become a collaborative form of research? What may it mean to receive rather than to take; to offer rather than to give?

How do we converse collectively with materials? What can flows and their ruptures, diversions and disjunctures illuminate? What can judgements about finishing and not-finishing teach us about making in a certain place and how to be a person precisely there?

How can apprenticeship make anthropologists and anthropology more somatically attentive and engaged, able to listen to the stories of makers, materials, and environments? This panel addresses these themes organized into three consecutive sessions as follows:

1. Making or Making Lives?

2. Contingencies of Making

3. Making Empathy

Accepted papers: