Seminar, March 17: The Challenges of Creative Ethnography

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Tomasz Rakowski who is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, and Lecturer at the Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw, will be visiting CODE in the coming week

Tomasz will give an open seminar, Tuesday, March 17, 13- 16  in building 90 at  the Design School in the codesign master student studio with the title:

The Challenges of Creative Ethnography – Working out of the “action research” methodology able to perceive peripheral creative activities that combines perspectives of dense anthropological research, animation of culture, and contemporary art projects

Working out of the theoretical and methodological tools includes comprehending of the process of emerging contents of culture in local and peripheral societies (villages, small towns or some urban groups), and revealing it in the framework of projects conducted either by animators of culture, artists or anthropologically oriented social researchers. This kind of theory and methodology of „action research” aims to combine sphere of anthropology and its “thick participation” with simultaneous creative/artistic activity that reveals local potential of culture-forming.

In order to present this field I refer to the two projects: “Prologue” and “Ethnography/Animation/Art”, conducted in the years 2011-2013, both of which were led by me with a team of ethnographers, animators, and contemporary artists in the vicinity of Szydłowiec in central Poland. This experience brings about quasi-experimental research situations in which ethnographic reality becomes particularly dynamic, ‘thick’ but also emergent and unpredictable. I will argue that with approach we may be able to step beyond the fiction of ‘natural’ intimacy and engagement while doing fieldwork. What emerges is a novel methodological perspective, aiming not so much to induce ‘mechanical’ social change but to construct a common, creative event with unpredictable effects and emergent meanings.

Tomasz Rakowski’ s research interests comprise of: anthropology of art/community arts, phenomenological anthropology, studies on social trauma, studies in development anthropology and anthropology of poverty, studies in medical anthropology. He has conducted fieldwork in Poland and Mongolia.

His book Łowcy, zbieracze, praktycy niemocy. Etnografia człowieka zdegradowanego (Hunters, Gatherers, Practicioners of Powerlessness. An Ethnography of Degraded Communities in Postsocialist Poland) was published in Polish January 2010. The English-language translation translation will be published by Berhahn Books, in the series European Anthropology in Translation.

Everyone is welcome

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