Frank Davis Memorial Lecture Series Anthropology and Art History - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Ethnography is to Anthropology as Art History is to Arts Practice: A Provocation

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Frank Davis Memorial Lecture Series, Research Forum
Frank Davis Memorial Lecture Series: Anthropology and Art History

Ethnography is to Anthropology as Art History is to Arts Practice: A Provocation

Tim Ingold, Man on Sand, 2015. Photo: Tim Ingold.

  • Tuesday 10 November 2015
    PLEASE NOTE: This Date Has Passed
    5:30 pm - 6:45 pm

    Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN


  • Professor Tim Ingold - Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen

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  • Professor Katie Scott - The Courtauld Institute of Art

There is much contemporary interest in the relation between contemporary art and ethnography, driven on both sides by a critique of the artistic and literary conventions, respectively, of the gallery and the book. Yet concerns have also been raised about whether the practices of art and ethnography can be successfully combined. These concerns have their roots in questions internal to each discipline, about the difference on the one hand between the practice and the history of art, and on the other between ethnography and anthropology. Tim Ingold will argue that ethnography’s affinities are with art history rather than art practice, and that precisely as practice differs from history in art, so anthropology differs from ethnography. He concludes that the speculative practice of anthropology with art, rather than the ethnographic and historical study of art, offers the best prospects for future inquiry.

Tim Ingold is Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. He has carried out fieldwork among Saami and Finnish people in Lapland, and has written on environment, technology and social organisation in the circumpolar North, on animals in human society, and on human ecology and evolutionary theory. His more recent work explores environmental perception and skilled practice. Ingold’s current interests lie in the interface between anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture. His recent books include The Perception of the Environment (2000), Lines (2007), Being Alive (2011), Making (2013) and The Life of Lines (2015).

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