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Social Anthropology: Research


2012 SGS Summer School


STAR Members run training in "Social Anthropology: Creative Practices and Social Scientific Research"

top summer school 

Here are some photos and the report from the 2012 Summer School:

The Scottish Graduate Summer School, June 19th 2012, Edinburgh

Social Anthropology Pathway workshop:

“Material Dialogues Between Art and Anthropology”

This workshop drew on ways of working 'with' or 'between' art and anthropology, exploring how creative practices can informatively shape social scientific research. Here we view 'creative practices' in their widest sense, concerned with material dialogues through visual and performative arts, and craftsmanship. We also include creative dialogues between ourselves and other forms of life, ways of thinking about creativity that engage with the 'more-than human', and developing skills through a dialogue with our environment. Further, we consider some of the methodological approaches and ethical issues raised when we engage in such collaborative projects with others, including creative practitioners and those from different disciplines, professions, and ways of life and work.  Critically, we will explore how such dialogues can allow us as social scientists to manifest theory and 'data' in a creative and practical way - perhaps questioning the distinction usually made between these - in order to shape our social insights further and re-inform our written and thinking work.

This day long workshop was led by Doctoral students from the Social Anthropology Departments of Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities, Jen Clarke, Sara Schroer, Evangelos Chrysagis, Mike Anusas and Marc Higgin whose anthropological research has been with diverse materials and contexts across contemporary art, design, craft, and environmental practices.

The workshop revolved around three inter-related questions

1.      How can we understand social life (the field) and social scientific research (going out, living in/researching and coming back from the field) as creative processes?
2.      How can we think of art or ‘creative practices’ as not just illustrative tools but as a methodology: as modes of observation, description, analysis and presentation?
3.      How does working with others in collaboration require us to think differently about ideas, ownership and what creativity is?

Programme for the day

9.30-10:         Ian Harper welcomes and then a brief introduction to the day
10-11:            Getting to know each other
11-11.30:       Coffee and getting together into groups
11:30-1:         Making sense: into the field
1-2:               Lunch and discussion with Tim Ingold
2-3:               Making sense: bringing it together + coffee!
3-4:               Sharing and reflection chaired by Stephanie Bunn

Our twenty or so participants organised themselves into six groups, exploring a wide variety of ‘questions’ – from the presence of wind in our lives, to how people use places (St Giles Cathedral, the Meadows, from exploring memory and nostalgia and our experience of place, to birdwatching in museums and the creative ‘derive’ of walking and talking. Each also explored a number of different ‘creative’ practices as ways of observing, describing and thinking – from drawing, to photography, to video and writing, to GPS and conversation. The day was a good example of how rich  - and fun! - creative working together can be. 


1 s school 


2 s school 



Freshers 2013