Anthropology and the Arts Network (ANTART)

Network rationale

The objective of the ANTART Network is to advance the scholarship, discussion, and presence of anthropological approaches to the arts. It also seeks to build on its existing network of scholars, artists, and institutions to continue its exchanges with alternative cultural production venues in future EASA locations, thus building links between the university and other public or civil society initiatives. The Anthropology and the Arts network aims to attract researchers working in the arts including but also beyond visual media, including the performative arts, music and sound, theatre, design, architecture, etc. This vast field of research is blooming, but currently underrepresented in EASA. The ANTART network does not contrast other networks, but rather complements them. We are therefore also interested in facilitating cross-over discussions and memberships with other networks in EASA.

Recent Network Development

ANTART “Field/works” online exhibition

While ANTART hosted a panel at EASA 2020 (P023): ‘Anthropology and Art: on the dynamics and polemics of situating definitions of art’ convened by the Network Convenors (Clarke, Laine, and Le Calvé), the Network also played a special role at the 2020 EASA conference, by initiating and curating an exhibition organised in collaboration with local (Lisbon) institutional partners and artists. The exhibition was curated by Jennifer Clarke, Anna Laine, and Maxime Le Calvé, in collaboration with a local partner Fernando Dias and Jorge dos Reis from FBAUL ((Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon). Initially intended as a physical exhibition, we successfully transitioned to a virtual exhibition and events in July 2020, which is still available to view. The exhibition was primarily funded by EASA (covering artist fees and small design costs) as part of the EASA2020 conference. With design students from our partner FBAUL, and the support of EASA’s organisers, nomadit, we created a new website to present this exhibition, which is envisioned as an ongoing platform for the current network.

For anthropologists and artists “doing fieldwork” in contemporary worlds, art can be much more than an object of investigation. Curation and creation through visual, audio, or performing arts are at the heart of our work, extending the established anthropological interest in writing as a medium of thought and knowledge sharing. Our exhibition invited and presented works by anthropologists and artists who break disciplinary boundaries, and whose practice foregrounds experimental, and open approaches to the theme “field/works”.The opening event was advertised on the EASA conference page and had more than 100 guests. The social media page (Facebook) reached around 900 people. The website shows the work of 17 artists and anthropologists (and interdisciplinary collaboration modes) in a virtual exhibition, including 2 artists who are part of the seminal collective Ethnographic Terminalia. (AAA), which Field/Works has been inspired by.

Talks and Podcast

Between December 2020 and June 2021, the ANTART network hosted a series of public online talks with 10 of the 15 artists/anthropologists who contributed to our 2020 exhibition, Field/works, with invited guests. Moderated by Jennifer Clarke and Maxime Le Calvé, these conversations between anthropology and the arts have been published as podcasts and will be available for the next two years.

Access: Apple Podcast or Soundcloud.



Panels at EASA 2022

Several panels by ANTART members took place in Belfast this summer:

P165: Engaging with aesthetic forms: Approaching the sociopolitical embedding and agency of arts [AntArt network]
The first panel, with the ANTART ‘badge’ attached, is convened by new ANTART members, Bernardo Machado (Unicamp) and Jeannine-Madeleine Fischer (University of Konstanz)
Assuming that aesthetic forms are permeated by political powers, this panel explores their affective and transformative potentials in transnational flows and local settings. We ask how diverse agents engage with aesthetic forms and their emergent embeddings, transits and agencies.

P072: Hopeful chronopolitics: contemporary art and ethnography
The second panel is convened by ANTART Convenors Jennifer Clarke (Gray's School of Art, Robert Gordon University), Maxime Le Calvé (HU Berlin), along with Melanie Janet Sindelar (Austrian Academy of Sciences).
This panel investigates how artistic projects engage hopeful chronopolitics – practices and dynamics that employ specific time-frames to engage hopeful imaginations of the present and future – and thereby navigate contentious debates that are hegemonically monitored by different forces.

P046: Arts of the decolonial
Convened by ANTART member Alex Ungprateeb Flynn (University of California, Los Angeles) along with Maria Íñigo Clavo (Uoc), this panel seeks to detail how artistic and curatorial practice has informed the decolonial turn that so characterises contemporary scholarly thought and theorises how such practice may point to the decolonialities of tomorrow.

ANTART Convening Teams

Founding Convenors
Roger Sansi (Barcelona)
Jonas Tinius (Berlin)

Jennifer Clarke (Grays School of Art, Scotland)
Maxime Le Calvé (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)
Together with Anna Laine (Sweden) January 2020 – August 2020.

Giuliana Borea (Newcastle University, UK and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú)
Francesca Cozzolino (EnsadLab, EnsAD, Paris / Lesc, Université Paris Nanterre)
Alex Ungprateeb Flynn (University of California, Los Angeles)
Kiven Strohm (National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Background 2012-2019

The first discussions to form this network took place at the EASA conference in Paris in 2012, but back then, after some debate, we decided to restrict the network to an interest group within VANEASA. At the next EASA in Tallin in 2014, this interest group convened a Lab (L200 Anthropologies of Art) to generate a group discussion around shared objectives. A central theme that emerged was the uncertainty and diversity around the processes of collaboration between Art and Anthropology. The next workshop, Encountering Concepts in Art and Anthropology, took place at the Universitat de Barcelona, Spain from 11-12 June 2015. The concepts discussed were: “method/work”, “research”, “creativity”, “participation/exclusion”, “institutions” and “archives. A full report on the workshop can be found here PDF. Following the workshop, we created an open dictionary where the discussion on these concepts will continue.

During the EASA 2016 conference in Milan, an interest group meeting with about thirty participants took place, discussing the future of the group as a Network, which concluded that Roger Sansi and Jonas Tinius would apply for network status within EASA..

The first ANTART network panel entitled ‘Art and Nativism’ (P098) took place during the 2018 EASA conference in Stockholm, which also supported a range of experimental labs and other related panels. In 2019, the ANTART network held its first interim meeting (The Trouble with Art. Philistinism, Iconoclasm, and Scepticism of Art in Anthropology) organised by the founding convenors, and held at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The papers from this meeting are the basis for a volume edited by Jonas Tinius and Roger Sansi (2023) with contributions by George Marcus, Liz Hallam, and other network members.

Following EASA regulations, the network collectively agreed on two new convening teams 2020-2022, and also provisionally for 2022-2024.