Conference Panel: Beyond Text? Synaesthetic and Sensory Practices in Anthropology

Message from Sandra Dudley:

Dear all

I am, at relatively short notice, convening a panel at the 'BEYOND TEXT? SYNAESTHETIC AND SENSORY PRACTICES IN ANTHROPOLOGY ... Image:Voice::Sound:Object' conference at the University of Manchester (June 30- July 2 2007 ) (the conference will run in conjunction with the 10th Royal Anthropological Institute International Festival of Ethnographic Film, so would be a good thing to go to if you are interested in cutting edge documentary film).

The panel is entitled 'The sensory experience of materiality in the museum'. I envisage it including papers addressing this broad area particularly in displays of ethnographic, archaeological, 'folklore' and related material - but I am open to proposals for papers in different areas. Papers should engage with the challenges of - and/or creative approaches to - communicating 'snapshot' experiences of the other in a setting which traditionally and conventionally relies entirely on the visual. Speakers might address such questions as what are the challenges in conveying, in the visually-oriented museum space, wider sensory aspects of human experience such as touch, smell, taste and sound? What particular issues are there given that ethnographic objects are much more likely than other museum artefacts to be brown (!), and how can the museum visitor be enabled to explore and respond to those objects' meanings and values - including aesthetic values which so often depend upon such qualities as texture, surface, temperature and resonance rather than or in addition to, say, colour and shape? How might innovative museum practices in this area intersect with engagements with and representations of the senses in fieldwork and academic anthropology and other disciplines? What might be the role of contemporary artists in the museum space in finding new ways to represent and develop dialogues with the full sensory range of ethnographic objects? And beyond the five Aristotleian senses, in what ways might ethnographic and/or archaeological and/or 'folklore' museum objects be utilised to communicate other sensory aspects of human experience, such as proprioception, and awareness of pain, temperature and time?

Presentations can be of conventional type, or might include film, sound or other.

If anyone would be interested to propose a paper or can suggest someone particularlyappropriate whom I should approach, I would be delighted - in which case please email me **BY 6 APRIL**.

Many thanks,

Dr Sandra H. Dudley
Lecturer & Programme Director for the MA in Interpretive Studies
Department of Museum Studies
University of Leicester


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