Interventions, design, and the many modalities of future-oriented anthropology

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This paper discusses the possibilities and limits of research through interventions and co-creative projects aimed at outputs beyond the verbal and written. This interventionist stance has been integral to- and promoted by design anthropologists (Otto & Smith 2013, Pink et al. 2016), arguing that ethnography and design is a collaboration in/with implications for the formation of people's future(s). Based on ethnographic explorations of the experience of designing a platform for the Internet of Things market in Europe (Lanzeni) and filmmaking and designing a web platform-cum-exhibition in the ARTlife project: Articulations of Life among Afghans in Denmark (Waltorp), we question each other - What does the interventionist stance make possible? What does 'research-through-making-together' offer in comparison with more classic forms of participant observation and ethnographic fieldwork? We think of this as part of a 'Design Anthropology beyond a concern with stabilised objects, artefact and procedures...a way of doing anthropology in the midst of social and material transformation'. We argue from these two very different cases of 'works-in-the-making' which we will share in their current state of becoming.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2018
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event4th International Conference of the Royal Anthropological Institute : Art, Materiality and Representation: Design Anthropology panel - British Museum & SOAS, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jun 20183 Jun 2018
Conference number: 4


Conference4th International Conference of the Royal Anthropological Institute
LocationBritish Museum & SOAS
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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