Who is Precarious Now? An Exploration of Homing Through Art

Fri 20 January 2017, 3-5pm
LG11, David Hume Tower, 50 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JU

CREATIVE ETHNOLOGY STUDIO is a joint venture of the Intercultural Research Centre at Heriot-Watt University and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh

This two-hour session, led by IRC-Associate Dr Victoria Walters, will ask whether artists’ approaches to the subject of home and dwelling might offer a stimulus for new ethnographic research methods in this area. To what degree can the research that some artists do, as George E. Marcus has argued, offer “models that anthropologists can think with in articulating manifest changes in their own traditions of fieldwork”? (Marcus, 2010, p.270) How might such models be employed to gain insights into people’s lived experience of home? Might artistic research methods limit ethico-political engagements with subjects in ways that would be problematic in an anthropological context? If ethnology looks to art to find ways to interrogate and reshape its central fieldwork aesthetic in response to changing times, what are the potentialities and dangers of so doing? The session will include a talk followed by a Q&A and discussion, a short break and then a more experimental, collaborative process whereby the group will work with their own experiences of and feelings about home, to be exemplified in a structure made simply with paper, cardboard, fabric and tape.

Suggested preparatory reading: George E. Marcus, Contemporary Fieldwork Aesthetics in Art and anthropology: Experiments in Collaboration and Intervention. Visual Anthropology, 23: 4, pp.263-277.

Victoria Walters is a Researcher in Visual Culture and a Practicing Artist. Following graduation from the MA in Digital Media in 2003, she worked as a Visiting Lecturer in Visual Culture at Bath Spa University and Bristol UWE, and studied for a PhD at the University of Ulster during 2005-09 with an ethno-/anthropological examination of the artist Joseph Beuys’s work with reference to Ireland and Scotland. A book based on her thesis, “Joseph Beuys and the Celtic Wor(l)d: A Language of Healing “, was published by LIT Verlag in 2013. Victoria is currently an Associate Lecturer at UWE Bristol and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee.

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