An anthropologist in an art school: Anthropology, art and transdisciplinarity

Link to join the seminar on Teams

Anthropology has provided significant sources of inspiration for artists interested in the ‘social’ since before the ethnographic turn of the mid-90s; anthropologists likewise increasingly ‘borrow’ practices from contemporary art and curation. I will suggest that although such disciplinary crossings are multiplying and accepted within research practices, this masks critical disciplinary, even ethical, issues within what constitutes an art ‘education’. As an anthropologist and artist hired as a ‘philosopher’ to teach “critical and contextual studies” (a minor component in a primarily studio based art education, meant to support art school students to engage more deeply and critically in research and writing), this talk will draw from this experience, presenting a critical perspective on transdisciplinarity and contemporary education. I will consider questions that have emerged for me, from teaching, research and my own artistic practice, regarding relationships between form and content, whether art is knowledge-forming, and how definitions of art and artists are produced and ‘policed’ in discourse as well as diverse creative practices. What type of education is made possible in an art school today? What type of ‘teacher’ can an anthropologist in an art school be? What type of anthropologist, artist, or hybrid?

Pitt Rivers Museum Research Seminar in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology, Michaelmas 2021

Online on Teams (the link is above)

Fridays, 12pm-1.30pm (Weeks 1-3 and 5-8)

Convened by Elizabeth Hallam and Clare Harris