The life of the Anthropologist: Improvised and Living in the Between

At this year’s ASAA/NZ conference, Ruth Gibbons is convening a workshop entitled ‘The life of the Anthropologist: Improvised and Living in the Between.’

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Stoller (2009) suggests as anthropologists our practice of world making is one of living in the between. He suggests that we are never completely in one place as we are always straddling our experiences of being in and out of the field. We improvise and learn to live different lives with our participants which influence our and their lives as our relationships alter between being in the field, at home and being in the field at a distance. As anthropologists, we often have foci and fields which we engage with but we come together sharing our journeys commonalities and differences. Anthropologists live lives where improvisation and organisation feed and bleed into each other as we seek to understand peoples lived experiences. In these moments we give of ourselves, come up against ourselves, improvise ourselves and emerge with learning and experiences.

This participatory workshop explores the concepts of improvised lives and the lives of anthropologists actively exploring what it means to be anthropologists who live in the between. Using imaginative, performative and creative practices we explore the improvised lives of the anthropologist and what it ‘looks’ like. Creative practices - through making, drawing, writing, photography etc… - open the possibility to examine experiences of life. Through the use of collaborative arts practice this workshop turns the lens from our participants/ collaborators to our role and through active practices asks the question ‘what is the improvised life of the anthropologist?’

The first half of this creative workshop will be taken up with discussing and making representations and the second half in discussions and making of a single collaged artwork representing the life of an anthropologist as represented as the conference.

This workshop is open to all conference attendees. No particular skills are required, just a willingness to explore.