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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Art

Postgraduate Course: Contemporary Art + Anthropology (Level 11) (ARTX11042)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis experimental course is co-delivered by Social Anthropology (School of Social & Political Science) and the School of Art (Edinburgh College of Art). It explores and develops the convergence of the anthropological turn in contemporary art practices with the visual, material and practice turns in social anthropology with the aim of fostering a new art+anthropology interdiscipline.

The course will engage you with the anthropological and ethnographic turns in artistic practice and the practice-turn in social and visual anthropology, foregrounding 20th and 21st century case studies wherein art+anthropology have become enmeshed. You will participate in collaborative practices and approaches that combine artistic and anthropological research methods. You will learn how to work on an innovative research project that is informed by anthropological research and contemporary artistic practice.
Course description This unique course invites artists and anthropologists to learn and work together. In its explicit support for practice-as-research (immediation); this course leads a collaborative approach that is rapidly growing in significance across the humanities and social sciences internationally.

The first part of this course will introduce you to the anthropological turn in artistic practice. Seminars will engage you with approaches that are shared by artists and anthropologists such as: practice-theory/theories of practice, collaborative ethnography, participatory visual methods, sites, fieldwork, fieldnotes/sketchbooks, social practice, activism, action research, surrealism, weirding, vitalism, carpentry, ecomaterialism and neomaterialism. This will provide a primer to support a short collaborative project (Atelier) that will combine contemporary artistic and anthropological research methods.

In the second part of the course you will develop and propose your own research project under the joint supervision of academic staff from the School of Art and Social Anthropology. Your project will equally combine contemporary artistic and anthropological research methods.

Based in ECA's School of Art, this course is aimed at art students keen to cultivate work informed by emerging approaches in Social Anthropology. It is, equally, aimed at social science students who wish to pursue visual and material research practices responding to the latest developments in contemporary art. As such, the course is equally suitable for artists or anthropologists interested in working collaboratively to share and develop innovative interdisciplinary contemporary research practices. Students on the course will contribute to the University of Edinburgh's research network: 'Atelier: Making Research Material in the Arts & Social Sciences.'
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Prepare for and make constructive contributions to tutorials, crits and seminars on the fields of anthropology + contemporary art.
  2. Substantiate your knowledge and understanding of the reciprocity of anthropology + contemporary art through your contribution to a collaborative research project.
  3. Demonstrate critical understanding and autonomy in identifying key methods and practices in contemporary art + anthropology.
  4. Critically re-assess and synthesise artistic and anthropological approaches in relation to emerging tendencies in art + anthropology.
  5. Successfully communicate your research, analysis and professional initiative in a well structured, coherent and creative proposal.
Reading List
Braidotti, Rosi, 'Posthuman, All Too Human: Towards a New Process Ontology', Theory, Culture & Society, 2006, Vol. 23, No. 7¿8, 2006, 197:208.
Clifford, James. The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988.
Coles, Alex (Editor). Site-Specificity in Art: the Ethnographic Turn: 4 (De-, dis-, ex-), Black Dog, 2001.
Cook, Samuel R. 2008. The Collaborative Power Struggle, Collaborative Anthropologies 2: 109:14.
Kontturi, Katve-Kaisa, Following the Flows of Process: A New Materialist Account of Contemporary Art, Annales Universitatis Turkuensis, ser. B, tom. 349, Humaniora, Turku, University of Turku, 2012.
Kwon, Miwon. One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. MIT, 2002.
Manning, Erin. Creative Propositions for Thought in Motion, Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation, 2008, No. 1,, ac. 30.
Massumi, Brian, Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, Durham, Duke University Press, 2002.
McClanahan, Angela. 'Notes on Contemporary Art and Anthropology : Part I: Magic, Value, Games and Scams', pp. n/a , MAP: Journeys in Contemporary Art , n/a n/a 06 August 2013
Ramey, Kathryn. Between Art and Anthropology: Contemporary Ethnographic Practice, Visual Studies, 2011, Vol.26(3), p.271-272
Marcus, Georgee. Contemporary Fieldwork Aesthetics in Art and Anthropology: Experiments in Collaboration and Intervention, Visual Anthropology, 2010, Vol.23(4), p.263-277
André Demarchi. Traps, Chimeras and Pathways: Three Approaches of Art in Contemporary Anthropology, Espaço Ameríndio, 01 December 2009, Vol.3(2)
Rabinow, Paul. Marking Time On the Anthropology of the Contemporary, Princeton : Princeton University Press ;2009
Foster, Hal. The Artist as Ethnographer, in The Return of the Real, 171:204. Cam-bridge: MIT Press, 1996.
Fillitz, Thomas. Anthropology and discourses on Global Art, Social Anthropology, 2015, Vol.23(3), pp.299-313
Holmes, Douglas, and George E. Marcus. 2005. Refunctioning Ethnography: The Challenge of an Anthropology of the Contemporary.¿ In
Handbook of Qualitative Research, 3rd edition, ed. Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln, 109:13. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Elhaik, Tarek. What is Contemporary Anthropology, Critical Arts, 2013, Vol.27(6), p.784-798
Pahl, K. H. ; Comerford - Boyes, L. ; Genever, K. ; Pool, S. Artists, Art and Artefacts: Boundary Crossings, Art and Anthropology, Creative Approaches to Research, 3 (1\). 82 - 101
Köhn, Steffen. Organising Complexities: The potential of multi-screen video-installations for ethnographic practice and representation, Critical Arts, 2013, Vol.27(5), p.553-568
O'Sullivan, Simon, Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari: Thinking Beyond Representation, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
Rutten, Kris ; Van. Dienderen, An ; Soetaert, Ronald. Revisiting the Ethnographic Turn in Contemporary Art, Critical Arts, 2013, Vol.27(5), p.459-473
Siegenthaler, Fiona. Towards an Ethnographic turn in Contemporary Art Scholarship, Critical Arts, 2013, Vol.27(6), p.737-752.
Schneider, Arnd. Uneasy Relationships: Contemporary Artists and Anthropology , Journal of Material Culture Vol. 1(2): 1996, pp.183-210.
Schneider, Arnd; Wright, Christopher. Between Art and Anthropology : Contemporary Ethnographic Practice, Oxford ; New York : Berg Publishers 2010.
Schneider, Arnd; Wright, Christopher. Contemporary Art and Anthropology, Oxford, England : Berg ;2006
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Graduates will develop the following skills:

Knowledge that covers and integrates most, if not all, of the main areas of contemporary art and anthropology, including their features, boundaries, terminology and conventions.

A critical, detailed and often leading knowledge and understanding at the forefront of contemporary art and anthropology.

Knowledge and understanding that is generated through personal research or equivalent work that makes a significant contribution to the development of the contemporary art and anthropology.

The ability to plan and execute a significant project of research, investigation or development.

The ability to apply knowledge, skills and understanding in applying a range of standard and specialised research and/or equivalent instruments and techniques of enquiry.

The ability to apply knowledge, skills and understanding in using a significant range of the principal professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with contemporary art and anthropology.

The ability to apply knowledge, skills and understanding in using and enhancing a range of complex skills, techniques, practices and/or materials that are at the forefront of contemporary art and anthropology.

The ability to apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to forefront issues, or issues that are informed by forefront developments in contemporary art and anthropology.

The ability to critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in contemporary art and anthropology.

The ability to communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise and to communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.

The ability to take responsibility for their work and/or significant responsibility for the work of others.

The ability to work in a peer relationship with specialist practitioners and to practise in ways which draw on critical reflection on own and others¿ roles and responsibilities.

Demonstrate leadership and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to change and development and/or new thinking.
Keywordscontemporary art,anthropology,fieldwork,practice-theory,action research,site,ethnography
Course organiserDr Angela Mcclanahan
Tel: (0131 6)51 5885
Course secretaryMiss Sophie Ramette
Tel: (0131 6)51 5739
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