ASA16: Footprints and futures: the time of anthropology


ASA16 provided for sessions that depart from the convention of the text-based presentation. These 'laboratories' provide occasions for experimentation, encouraging knowledge generation through a range of visual, acoustic and performative methods. The intention of the laboratories is to explore methodological and epistemological possibilities of carrying out and presenting anthropological research collaboratively, through dynamic and reciprocal exchange.

Laboratories may:

  • explore non-textual and non-linear presentations of anthropological knowledge
  • entail collaborative forms of presentation as an alternative to the individualistic approach to the scholarly presentation
  • offer experiential presentations that are characterised by action and participation
  • produce an immersive environment where people share insights and skills, and experiment without a definitive idea of what might emerge.

The selection committee bore the following criteria in mind:

  • Interactive activity: The laboratory should be a site where there is an activity or process, rather than a presentation of research findings.
  • Collaboration: laboratories should have a collaborative dimension – preferably though not limited to a form of collaboration between an anthropologist and another practitioner (eg designers, artists, engineers, activists, performance artists, urban planners, architects, health workers).
  • Embedded: proposals that find ways to embed themselves into the conference's events and milieu. For example, proposals should take into account how the laboratories will have an impact on the physical site or on the delegates' experience of the conference. Our intention is to link the laboratories to the core conference themes and proposers should indicate which of the five sub-themes their proposal would best relate to.
  • Ethnography: proposals should show a commitment to the complexities of ethnography as it regards the ways of articulating the human experience in the world.

The labs can be seen here.