atmosphere ecologies ecologies of support events more-than-human objects of care and care practices

Towards atmospheric care: Undoing environmental violence, experimenting with ecologies of support > EASA 2024 BCN

If wishing to attend EASA 2024 in Barcelona (23-26 July), please consider submitting your proposals for the official Colleex network’s panel

Olafur Eliason’s The Weather Project by Istvan

Towards atmospheric care: Undoing environmental violence, experimenting with ecologies of support

Convenors: Tomás Criado (Open University of Catalonia), Elisabeth Luggauer (Humboldt-University of Berlin) & Emma Garnett (University of Exeter)

Discussant: Janina Kehr (University of Vienna)

Official link for queries & submissions

Short Abstract

Anthropogenic atmospheric phenomena (heat, hurricanes, pollutants, wildfires) pose increasing challenges to multispecies inhabitation. How is care re-invented when undoing the patchy effects of environmental violence? We aim to discuss anthropological experiments with ‘ecologies of support’.

Long Abstract

Due to anthropogenic intervention atmospheric phenomena, such as air pollutants, heat, hurricanes, thunderstorms or wildfires are every day more – albeit in some contexts more than others – posing impossible challenges to collective inhabitation, human, and other-than-human. This panel wishes to ask what forms of care and enduring are being repurposed and invented when relating to the many challenges these atmospheric conditions pose, attempting to undo the patchy effects of environmental violence.

In approaches to human and multispecies care in anthropology, environmental humanities and STS, the use of ecological tropes (e.g. landscapes) abounds to describe changing or complex social and material configurations, but what might it mean to re-think care as an atmospheric matter? Talking of ‘ecologies of support’ we wish to account for experimentation with generative and unsettled care responses to atmospheric phenomena that are hard to apprehend, due to their sheer phenomenological ungraspability (because of either their temporal or spatial scales: too fast, too slow, caught in between deep and shallow time, microscopic or gigantic, happening in non-coherent or non-unitary ways), hence requiring a vast array of devices and collective work to articulate or to become sensitized to them.

Beyond conceptual takes, we seek to foster a range of explorations and responses where anthropology could become an atmospheric care practice. Thus, we would also like to welcome approaches to collaborative, public, more-than-textual ethnographic works in a wide variety of guises and atmospheric topics experimenting with setting up ecologies of support in their own right.

animals design intraventions ecologies more-than-human publications techniques & ways of doing

¿Cómo diseñaríamos con animales si hiciéramos el contrato correcto? > Terraformazioni 01

Micol Rispoli y Ramon Rispoli han editado la maravilla de compilación “Design, STS e la sfida del più-che-umano | Diseño, STS y el desafío de lo más-que-humano“, bilingüe en italiano y castellano.

Se trata del primer número de la nueva revista Terraformazioni, cuyo contenido deriva de la serie de conferencias Diálogos en torno a los STS: diseño, investigación y el desafío de lo “más que humano”, que los editores organizaron en la Real Academia de España en Roma junto con la asociación STS Italia en 2022.

Terraformazioni es un proyecto fascinante, publicado por la editorial italiana Cratèra edizioni, que tiene por objeto poner en diálogo investigaciones científicas y artísticas en un espacio abierto a la reflexión sobre la cultura del proyecto arquitectónico.

Junto con Ignacio Farías y Felix Remter colaboramos en este espectacular número inicial, rodeados de mucha gente querida e inspiradora, con un texto reflexionando sobre nuestra experiencia pedagógica en Múnich.

¿Cómo diseñaríamos con animales si hiciéramos el contrato correcto?


En respuesta a las complejas crisis medioambientales de origen antropogénico, recientes desarrollos en arquitectura y urbanismo buscan explorar otros materiales, tecnologías, recursos y modos de colaboración. Pero, ¿y si lo que estuviera en juego no fuera el rediseño de las formas arquitectónicas y de los paisajes urbanos, sino el rediseño de las prácticas arquitectónicas y de diseño urbano? Este capítulo muestra una especulación colectiva para hacer esta cuestión pensable, un trabajo en el que lo “más que humano” supuso algo más que el contenido de un brief de diseño, requiriendo más bien abrirse a las competencias ‘no sólo humanas’ en procesos de codiseño y a las incertidumbres que se derivan de las interdependencias terrestres y multi-especies. ¿Cómo cuidar, pues, en la práctica arquitectónica de los complejos enredos terrestres que articulan los espacios de cohabitación humana y más que hu- mana? Este texto no proporciona directrices o principios generales para ha- cerlo, sino que describe un enfoque experimental orientado a re-aprender la práctica de la arquitectura por medio del encuentro con animales. Dialogando con los estudios de ciencia y tecnología o las humanidades ambientales y sus reflexiones sobre las relaciones multi-especies, describimos un experimento pedagógico en el que ciertos animales fueron tratados como acompañantes epistémicos para repensar la práctica arquitectónica, involucrando así sus competencias para intentar diseñar con ellos.

Cita recomendada: Farías, I., Criado, T.S. & Remter, F. (2023). ¿Cómo diseñaríamos con animales si hiciéramos el contrato correcto? En M. Rispoli & R. Rispoli (Eds.) Design, STS e la sfida del più-che-umano | Diseño, STS y el desafío de lo más-que-humano (pp. 76-91). Terraformazioni 01 | PDF

accessibility caring infrastructures more-than-human multimodal objects of care and care practices older people publications technical aids urban and personal devices

Ageing Cities > Zine

How are cities and urban designers responding to the challenge of population ageing? How can we as ethnographers understand the social and material transformations underway in their efforts to shape ‘ageing-friendly’ cities or cities ‘for all ages’? These are two of the leading research questions of our ethnographic study project “Ageing Cities” on which we worked together in the academic year 2021-2022.

Our main concern has been to explore the distinctive intergenerational design challenges of what some architects and urban planners are beginning to call “Late Life Urbanism” (check the video of the final presentation).

Our exploration included an excursion in April 2022 to Alicante, Benidorm and neighbouring urban enclaves in the Costa Blanca (Spain). The area is relevant as ageing bodies and practices have become, since the 1960s, a sort of vector of urbanisation in the region: developing into what some geographers call “the Pensioners’ Coast.”

Considering the intriguing history of migration of this region, with pensioners from all over Central and Northern Europe (but also from other regions of Spain) relocating there, the “Pensioners’ Coast” is an interesting experimental ground to witness what happens when older bodies take centre-stage. Over the course of seven eventful and exciting days we had the chance to explore how sensitised urban designers from the area respond to the intergenerational design challenges these bodies bring in different ways.

In a joint endeavour with STS-inspired architectural researchers from the Critical Pedagogies, Ecological Politics and Material Practices research group of the University of Alicante, the visit allowed us to explore different approaches to architectural practice where older people have more active roles in the design and management of ageing cities (from cooperative senior cohousing to inter- and multigenerational housing projects, as well as accessible public space infrastructures, ranging from sidewalks to beaches and public transportation).

With this Zine we wish to share some of our main reflections, learnings to engage ethnographically with late life urbanism in Costa Blanca (or should we say eng-age?). The Zine could be taken as a long thank you note and a memoir of our encounters with different initiatives. But we also see it as a relevant intergenerational gift of sorts, lent to future urban researchers on these topics.


Lo-Res PDF | Hi-Res PDF

Editorial team

Adam Petráš, Anna Maria Schlotmann, Christine Maicher, Doreen Sauer, Erman Dinç, Maximilian Apel & Tomás Sánchez Criado

Design and typesetting

Maximilian Apel

CC BY NC ND November 2023 Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

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Acte d’obertura de la Barcelona Innova Week i presentació dels projectes guanyadors del repte urbà d’ombratge efímer

Jornada > Barcelona Innova Week 2023

Dimarts, 14/11/2023

De 11.30 a 13.30 h. Ca l’Alier (Pere IV, 362, Barcelona)

Debat i reflexió al voltant de les oportunitats derivades de les transformacions urbanes, ja siguin evolutives, provisionals, efímeres o casuals. 


  • 11.30-12.00 h Diàleg sobre la ciutat canviant i sorprenent. Elvira Dyangani Ose, Directora del MACBA i Laia Bonet, Primera Tinenta d’Alcaldia de l’Ajuntament de Barcelona. Modera Isabella Longo, directora de projectes de BIT Habitat.
  • 12.00-12.30 h Presentació dels projectes guanyadors del repte “Generació d’ombratge efímer a l’espai públic
    • Oasis, ombra per a tothom. Denvelops i Eurecat
    • Mar d’ombres. Batec
    • A l’ombra del trencadís. Arquitectura de contacte
  • 12.30-13.00 h Taula rodona: “L’oportunitat de la ciutat canviant”. Maria Buhigas, arquitecte en cap de l’Ajuntament de Barcelona, Marc Montlleó, Director de Medi Ambient i Eficiència Energètica de Barcelona Regional, Tomás Sánchez Criado, investigador sènior Ramón y Cajal en el grup de recerca CareNet-IN3 de la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya i Marina Cervera, directora Executiva de la Biennal Internacional de Paisatge. Modera Isabella Longo, directora de projectes de BIT Habitat.
  • 13.00-13.30 h Aperitiu – treball en xarxa

*Cal inscripció prèvia

accessibility caring infrastructures city-making ecologies ecologies of support ethics, politics and economy of care more-than-human older people publications urban and personal devices

Reassembling Ageing, Ecologising Care?

Upon Patrick Laviolette and Aleksandar Bošković’s invitation, I have written the Anthropological Journal of European Culture’s Editorial Response to Issue 32(1) on Materialities of Age & Ageing.

Reassembling Ageing, Ecologising Care?

Welfare states and market actors across the world have transformed what ageing as a process and being old as an embodied identity might be today, through a wide range of equipment, services and infrastructures. This ‘material’, when not ‘materialist’ drive is the object of analysis of the proposals gathered in AJEC‘s 32(1) special issue, which features different case studies aiming to foreground hitherto under-analysed ‘age-related matters’ to offer conceptual and ethnographic proposals to better understand what the editors call ‘landscapes of ageing and pressing gerontological concerns.’ The backbone of this special issue addresses how ‘material culture’ works in anthropology might be affected by what in other neighbouring disciplines like STS and Ageing studies is being addressed as a ‘socio-gerontechnological’ approach: that is, a joint attention to how ageing is a material process, as well as how materials inscribe or support peculiar meanings or ontologies of ageing.

Drawing from the recent experience of teaching the StudienprojektAgeing Cities: The Crisis of Welfare Infrastructures’ – and particularly reflecting on a field trip where we visited Benidorm and other ageing enclaves in the Costa Blanca (Alicante, Spain) – in my editorial response I wish to take issue with the need to widen this material agenda around ageing bodies and their situated enactments, thinking beyond classic ‘material culture’ objects of study – the home and everyday technologies – and venturing into wider and more convoluted urban arenas, with their variegated scales and material entities. These problematisations, I believe, would force us to provide less metaphorical uses of ecological vocabularies, hence addressing the challenges that these materialised ‘landscapes’ entail for to our conceptions and practices of care: perhaps pushing us to consider the very environmental effects of ageing-friendly modes inhabiting and terraforming, and the new forms of care these landscapes – deeply affecting, in turn, ageing processes — might need?

Recommended citation: Criado, T. S. (2023). Reassembling Ageing, Ecologising Care? (Editorial Response to Issue 32(1) on Materialities of Age & Ageing). Anthropological Journal of European Cultures32(2), v-xii | PDF

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How would animals and architects co-design if we built the right contract? > Design For More-Than-Human Futures

Martin Tironi, Marcos Chilet, Carola Ureta and Pablo Hermansen have edited a gem of a compilation, opening a space to think about the design of worlds that are not only human.

As the editors state, the book Design For More-Than-Human Futures: Towards Post-Anthropocentric Worlding, explores a “search for a transition towards more ethical design focused on more-than-human coexistence”, being “an invitation to travel new paths for design framed by ethics of more-than-human coexistence”. For this “Questioning the notion of human-centered design is central to this discussion. It is not only a theoretical and methodological concern, but an ethical need to critically rethink the modern, colonialist, and anthropocentric inheritance that resonates in design culture. The authors in this book explore the ideas oriented to form new relations with the more-than-human and with the planet, using design as a form of political enquiry”.

It was a luxury to be able to participate with a collective proposal that is as fun as it is challenging, together with long-time collaborators and mates Ignacio Farías and Felix Remter.

Our contribution describes a pedagogic experiment – part of the Design in Crisis: Sensing like an animal design studio at the TU Munich’s MA in Architecture in 2017 – where beavers were treated as epistemic partners for rethinking architectural practice, thus engaging their capacities in attempts at designing with them.

How would animals and architects co-design if we built the right contract?

In the face of multifaceted environmental crises of anthropogenic origins, recent developments in architecture and urbanism aim to explore other materials, technologies, resources, and modes of collaboration. Yet, what if what was at stake was not the redesign of architectural forms and urban landscapes, but the very redesign of urban design and architectural practice themselves? This chapter offers a collective speculation of this, where the “more-than-human” is treated as more than the content of a design brief; demanding instead an opening to other-than-human capacities in co-design processes and to the unpredictabilities resulting from terrestrial and multispecies interdependencies. How to care, then, in architectural practice for terrestrial and multispecies entanglements? Rather than providing guidelines or general principles to do so, this chapter describes an experimental approach to relearn architecture practice from animals. Following STS and environmental humanities multispecies concerns, it describes a pedagogic experiment where urban animals were treated as epistemic partners for rethinking architectural practice, thus engaging their capacities in attempts at designing with them.

Recommended citation: Farías, I.; Criado, T.S. & Remter, F. (2023) How would animals and architects co-design if we built the right contract?. In M. Tironi, M. Chilet, C. Ureta & P. Hermansen (Eds.) Design For More-Than-Human Futures: Towards Post-Anthropocentric Worlding (pp. 92-102). Routledge | PDF

materials multimodal research projects

Appreciating multimodality: A practice of proliferating nuances?

[Originally published in the Multimodal Appreciation project website]


Most of our discussions in the project Multimodal Appreciation seem to pivot around the idea of values: how can multimodal projects be valued, and what are the values of this kind of projects? The multimodal might seem to be expanding or unsettling the values of given or conventional text-centric anthropological practice, doing it so in different ways from other areas of practice where this has been attempted for years (ethnographic films or exhibitions, design anthropology, etc.). Also, some of these productions pose great challenges to understand their worth in anthropological terms, even if they could be discussed in the terms of other areas of practice (the arts, curatorial approaches, etc.)

However, what do we mean when we talk about values? When we debate amongst anthropologists, there seems to be enough of a constructivist consensus that this term doesn’t mean a set of predefined ethical or moral compasses to judge after the truth of a project has been settled (as in classic science/values divides) its good and bad prospects. Rather, what we tend to highlight are the criteria being mobilised, when not the codified conventions and forms of institutionalised ‘taste’ when approaching a given work or process.

Some of these notions might be articulated in words or other semiotic languages, and there might even be a discursive field providing conditions of legibility, helping us articulate about what might be relevant in these productions. For instance, collaborative anthropology or ethnographic film, with their journals, books, meetings and training workshops, have developed a very nuanced series of conditions to render a given project legible. However, these discursive fields and codified conventions, when they exist, are not always enough. Even if they might be useful, when only thinking about them we run the risk of ‘explaining away’ a project’s series of tensions or aspirations with already existing terms and approaches.

What becomes amply evident whenever we’re in the presence of any kind of ethnographic project (be it multimodal or not) is that, Bourdieu notwithstanding, taste doesn’t simply seem to be in the embodied predispositions we have come to be raised in as anthropologists or as people. Taste, in more sensory and practical terms, seems to partake of a more cumbersome process of educating attention (Ingold 2001). Indeed, appreciation is a process that needs to be elucidated in variegated embodied practices, many times plunging sensorially in the peculiar social and material world a project offers. This also happens, needless to say, when we read, a heavily material practice (if anything because typography or the readability of a page, not to speak of our vibes and reactions, are as important there as when we visit an installation).

Come what may, I’d love to suggest that ‘appreciation’ might have something to do with developing a taste for multimodal projects in their singularity, learning to value its nuances, and bring all of that to bear in settings where we approach complicated judgements (although, aren’t they all?) to decide about a project’s worth. Perhaps the virtue of those projects where we lack the conventional and codified words is that they force us to describe and, potentially, find words to articulate them. Yet, this description might need to go beyond simply ‘indexing’ a project, as if this could be done once and for all, also considering how documentation might contribute in a process of finding ever-growing nuances. But also, we need to be able to describe the settings and the conditions, the dispositions, we create to come to terms with a project.

That is, we might need to learn to approach and describe our appreciations and evaluations or judgements as processes where the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ (however situated and relational they might be) are enacted in peculiar settings and through particular practices. I’d love to suggest that to do this, we could draw from the fertile conceptual and descriptive ground of valuation studies: an interdisciplinary crossroads of pragmatist philosophy, STS, economic anthropology and sociology, and cultural studies of taste, which has taken valuation and evaluation, worth and judgement practices as a peculiar area of inquiry (Lamont 2011). Peculiarly, this means paying attention not just to the peculiar social life of devices to materialise our evaluations – ranks or lists, and their power to enact cuts in between nuances – , but also to the practices of valorising (Vatin 2011), whereby we give value to things or change their values. Even if our project will need to deal with both valuation and evaluation, in this post, I’d love to stress the relevance of considering what valorisation brings to understand what’s at stake in multimodal appreciation.

A practice of proliferating nuances

Tasting workshops are, perhaps, an interesting case in point–or should I say ‘food for thought’?–to discuss these valorisation processes.

Some ten years ago I took part in an olive oil tasting one, in the shop of one of Spain’s biggest olive oil producers. In it, we not only learnt to differentiate by name the different kinds of olives used for different commercial varieties, such as: arbequinahojiblancapicual. None of that would’ve mattered much had we not been plunged in tasting their nuances. To do so, we were offered samples, poured in wide blue cobalt glasses. We were instructed to hold the glass with the whole hand, since the heat might create an emulsion of the oil’s vapours, which was going to be crucial for our first approach: smelling, first undirected, then suggesting hints (“can you smell the slight taste of dry tomato?”).

Later, we were to try them out: directly drinking from the glass doing exercises with the tongue (since different nuances are to be sensed by different parts of the mouth, we were told). After we had done this repeatedly for a very longue while, cleansing our palate eating thinly cut apples to try out the sometimes ‘too complicated to feel’ contrasts between different varieties, we were instructed to try out their maridaje (coupling) with breads, salads or different dishes. Always going from undirected to more focused attention, we slowly were provided a simplified version of the charts expert tasters use to make the nuances of each oil apprehensible: their colours, the composition, etc.

Even if this was only a rookie training to start a path of becoming olive oil amateurs, the whole workshop stressed the enormous relevance of tasting: however commoditised and standard their production might have become, beyond regular contrasts and distinctions, each breed of olive oil needs to be tasted, and that’s why expert tasters are involved in the regular production process. In the peculiar ‘economies of qualities’ we seem to be living in, as Michel Callon et al. (2002) call them, making proliferate nuances is not only relevant to marketize only apparently similar goods – something that food portals, rating platforms, and food guides and prizes seem to have elevated to a whole mode of sociality –, but is also part and parcel of a process of experimenting with possible new goods, new products emerging out of tasking and its variegated effects. Much like in music or artistic works.

Indeed, one of the interesting appreciations this brings to the fore is the pragmatist understanding that we might need to approach valuation as operating a different notion of what an object, a good or a work is, far away from dualist bifurcations separating object from subject or culture. Rather than conceiving the production of objects we later value as if there was a Kantian version of them (the noumenon or das Ding an sich) beyond their valuation, the concern with valuation as a practice (Muniesa 2011) seems to plunge us in the problem that appreciation, the judgements enacted in peculiar circumstances can also affect the very things in themselves: not just that values might be relevant for their production but also that the boundaries of a work are not fully settled by the producer, since they grow or lose in nuances as such through these tasting practices.

Taste is, indeed, a collective activity, where rather than the producer alone trying to impose or negotiate its meanings, what matters are the wider series of meaning-making practices, where a work and its affordances (Hennion 2004, 2007) are appreciated inventing or repurposing different devices. An attention to appreciation or valuation as a mediated practice, in fact, requires us to pay attention to how peculiar socio-material conditions of appreciation– ranging from the material and embodied conditions to pay attention to the peculiar data sheets that enable us to focus on certain things and not others so as to register peculiar nuances – play an important role, partaking in granting different trajectories of the projects being valuated (Muniesa & Trébuchet-Breitwiller 2010).

In a piece reflecting on the relevance of odour kits for perfume professional ‘noses’, Latour (2004) uses the notion of articulation to discuss the process of “being affected by differences” (p.210) in a broad non-linguistic sense, which he dims are neither just ‘words’ nor ‘objects’ out there, but what he addresses as propositions. Expounding on this process, he argues:

“To say that odours are propositions articulated in part by the training session, the odour kit and all the other institutions, is not to say that they are ‘things’ – primary qualities – named in ‘words’ by the (arbitrary or socially constrained) labelling activity of a human subject. This is the key philosophical difference […] The articulation of the perfumes does something to the odours themselves, which is at once obvious if one takes into account the enormous mass of transformations they undergo in the hands of the chemical industry and fashion cultures, and hard to swallow since we risk losing the obstinate obduracy of chemicals which are ‘out there’ whatever we, humans, do to them” (p.212)

Tasting, in a nutshell, cannot be disentangled from the process of valuation nor the things being valued, because in valorising we come to render the world articulate. The relevant feature of articulation is that it also appears as a crucial evaluative criterion, since what matters is whether these propositions and the socio-material practices through which they are being proposed are interesting or not, that is, whether they enable to register differences or nuances in relevant ways:

“Fecundity, productivity, richness, originality are crucial features of a good articulation […] ‘Boring’, ‘repetitive’, ‘redundant’, ‘inelegant’, ‘simply accurate’, ‘sterile’, are all adjectives that designate a bad articulation” (p.215).

Peculiarly, in Latour’s terms, interest as a criterion of appreciation is not only in the eye of the beholder, but in the devices and the process devised to render differences articulate. Interest should also be maximised in the things being valued, since it might also mean providing the chances to show their own interests: that is, maximising the possibility of the things under valuation to resist to the very valuations, forcing those who evaluate to further increase the nuances…

How could our project invent devices enabling us to make the nuances of the multimodal projects proliferate, as well as to articulate their contrasts and distinctive features, also making these projects grow in articulation as we appreciate them? Put otherwise, through which kinds of practices might we grant a more nuanced life to these projects? In our first steps, the reflective process of developing a ‘metadata sheet’ and our meetings to discuss lists of projects and their approaches appear to hold such a potential. But will it be enough? What criteria of appreciation of multimodal projects might these practices enable us to practice? Put otherwise, what forms of anthropological practice might we be helping to articulate in doing so?


Callon, Michel, Cécile Méadel, and Vololona Rabeharisoa. “The Economy of Qualities.” Economy and Society 31, no. 2 (January 2002): 194–217.

Hennion, Antoine. “Pragmatics of Taste.” In The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Culture, edited by M Jacobs and N Hanrahan, 131–44. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

———. “Those Things That Hold Us Together: Taste and Sociology.” Cultural Sociology 1, no. 1 (2007): 97–114.

Ingold, Tim. “From the Transmission of Representations to the Education of Attention.” In The Debated Mind: Evolutionary Psychology versus Ethnography, edited by Harvey Whitehouse, 113–53. London: Berg, 2001.

Lamont, Michèle. “Toward a Comparative Sociology of Valuation and Evaluation.” Annual Review of Sociology 38, no. 1 (August 11, 2012): 201–21.

Latour, Bruno. “How to Talk about the Body? The Normative Dimension of Science Studies.” Body & Society 10, no. 2–3 (2004): 205–29.

Muniesa, Fabian, and Anne-Sophie Trébuchet-Breitwiller. “Becoming a Measuring Instrument.” Journal of Cultural Economy 3, no. 3 (2010): 321–37.

Muniesa, Fabian. “A Flank Movement in the Understanding of Valuation.” The Sociological Review 59 (December 1, 2011): 24–38.

Vatin, François. “Valuation as Evaluating and Valorizing.” Valuation Studies 1, no. 1 (2013): 31–50.

Picture credits

Featured image: CC 2007 Olive oil tasting at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

In-text image: CC BY SA 2023 Example of a regulation cobalt blue olive oil tasting glass with watch glass cover

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Learning with others about neurodiverse spatial practice > GeoAgenda “Field Trips as Pedagogical Devices”

For the most recent issue of GeoAgenda, the journal of the Swiss Association of Geography, Julio Paulos and Sven Daniel Wolfe have put together a collection of short interventions around the theme “Field Trips as Pedagogical Devices”

The main question they sought to explore was: What are the educational benefits of urban field trips? This special issue of GeoAgenda aims to answer this question through a series of stories, experiences and reflections.

As they suggest in their introduction (p.4):

Field trips are a common unit of study in geography curricula, and they are widely valued for the valuable hands-on learning experiences they provide. Nevertheless, they remain peripheral to most geography curricula. We don’t mean to suggest that field trips should be at the centre of teaching, but that a rethinking of teaching formats outside the classroom, and even within the classroom, is necessary to prepare students for the realities they will encounter once they graduate or leave academia. Field trips give students (and teachers) a vivid, first-hand understanding of (urban) environments. They allow for an exploration of the complexity, diversity, and multiplicities of urban life in a way that cannot be conveyed by classroom instruction alone.

This issue highlights these benefits, but also delves deeper into the issues of reflecting the standards of classroom teaching. In doing so, it calls for a more situated and experimental rethinking of university education.

Upon the gracious invitation of Julio (to whom I’d like to thank here), together with Micol Rispoli and Patrick Bieler we contribute to it with a short piece called:

Learning with others about neurodiverse spatial practice

In early 2020 Micol Rispoli (architect) and Tomás Criado (anthropologist) were working on a design experiment exploring how neurodiverse spatial practice might put architectural design practice in crisis. In previous months they had been engaging with a neurodivergent person and his family. They also had been revising standard architectural approaches to accessible design, in particular with neurodivergent people. But they felt they needed to discuss their predicaments with someone more experienced in these issues. Tomás, then, engaged his colleague Patrick Bieler (anthropologist), an experienced researcher on these matters, to join the conversation.

What follows is the account of a trip to the sights of Patrick’s fieldwork, where we tried to learn together what neurodiverse spatial practice might do to urban design.

Recommended citation: Rispoli, M.; Criado, T. & Bieler, P. (2023). Learning with others about neurodiverse spatial practice. GeoAgenda, 2023/2: 18-19 | PDF

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Waste What? A game on the many ways we can reuse stuff

A game on the many ways we can reuse stuff

WASTE WHAT? explores how we can think about materials differently, trying out many ways to keep stuff in use. In the game you play as a material recovery initiative. Your goal is to creatively find new uses for discarded things, closing loops and reducing the amount of waste that is burned.

Original website

2 players or 2 teams /// Age ~10 – ∞ /// ca. 30 min.

A constant avalanche of materials flows through our cities every day: packaging, food that is never eaten, electronics that are quickly outdated, cheap textiles to feed the fast fashion frenzy, furniture and construction materials for temporary spaces. From production to recycling or disposal, these industrial-scale material flows produce emissions and other negative environmental impacts, and take a lot of labor to handle!

In many places around the world, citizen projects are working to do something about it, trying out many ways to keep stuff in use. These initiatives many times struggle to decide what is waste and what is not.

Your city is such a place, what will you do about it? Form a material recovery initiative and fight against things being turned into waste!

WASTE WHAT? An open-source cooperative game for 2 players or 2 teams.

As you repair, recombine and repurpose things, your knowledge and skills grow.

To maximize your impact you can also work together with other initiatives!

You can be specialized in different areas: Textile, Furniture, Bikes, Food, Construction and Electronics.

YOU WIN: If you finish 6 rounds, while keeping low CO2 levels.

YOU LOSE: If any player can’t pay rent at the end of a round or you emit all 3 CO2 tokens in the waste burning facility.

WASTE WHAT? is the main result of the project “Trash Games: Playing with the Circular Economy at Haus der Materialisierung” (2021-2022), funded by the Berlin University Alliance

CC NY NC SA Trash Games, 2022

The research process

Project team

– Vera Susanne Rotter (Project lead)

– Tomás Criado (Project co-lead)

– Ignacio Farías (Project co-lead)

– Isabel Ordóñez (Research and Development)

– Johannes Scholz (Project Coordination)

– Petra Beck (Artistic research and documentation, game development)

– Sebastian Quack (Game design)

– Marisol Escorza (Graphic design)

– Sophie Wulf (Student assistant)

– Adriana Flores Franz (Video documentation)

Acknowledgement for the support in the project

– Johannes Bassler (Textilhafen Berlin – Berliner Stadtmission)

– Simone Kellerhoff (Material Mafia)

– Jens Peitan (MHKW Ruhleben – BSR)

– Elena Sofia Stranges (Ort-Schafft-Material)

– Frieder Sölling (Nochmall – BSR)

– Nora Wilhelm (Mitkunstzentrale)

events experimental collaborations multimodal

Ciclo de seminarios xcol > La invención etnográfica: el arte de hacer preguntas relevantes

Vivimos en una época de grandes crisis que evidencian la imposibilidad de sostener nuestros modos de existencia. Esta situación nos exige repensar y reformular nuestra práctica antropológica para contribuir de manera relevante a las problemáticas de nuestro mundo. A nuestro juicio, una de las posibles respuestas pasa por explorar y animar nuevos modos de indagación antropológica, porque son muchos los que reconocen las limitaciones crecientes de los métodos de investigación de las ciencias sociales: quizá insuficientes, demasiado rígidos y poco adecuados para abordar la complejidad de nuestra contemporaneidad. Las llamadas a una investigación etnográfica más atenta a la pluralidad de los sentidos, la incorporación de múltiples tecnologías digitales, la exploración de formas de colaboración o diferentes aproximaciones experimentales son algunas de las respuestas ante esta situación.

Esta serie de seminarios interviene en ese amplio debate sobre los modos de indagación de la antropología, y lo hace proponiendo una revisión de nuestra manera de conceptualizar la etnografía. Esta ha sido comúnmente concebida como un género de escritura, un método de investigación o una actividad de aprendizaje. Ciertamente todas esas visiones son valiosas, pero ignoran un aspecto central de la actividad etnográfica: la creatividad e improvisación que le es integral. Más allá de los métodos que nos guían en la ardua tarea del trabajo de campo, la etnografía requiere siempre creatividad e inventiva, tanto durante el trabajo de campo, como también más allá de este. Planteamos, por ello, la posibilidad de concebir la etnografía como un ejercicio de invención relacional.

Toda una serie de proyectos contemporáneos, que se alejan de los modos de hacer canonizados en manuales y guías metodológicas, ejemplifican una visión como la que proponemos. Estas investigaciones nos muestran que el trabajo de campo, y de manera amplia la etnografía, es más amplia, compleja y sofisticada de lo que solemos pensar. No pretendemos hacer una lectura revisionista con esta afirmación, todo lo contrario, un vistazo a la historia de la antropología nos enseña que, en realidad, esta siempre ha estado atravesada por gestos de creatividad relacional.

La serie de seminarios ‘La invención etnográfica’ presenta un conjunto de investigaciones que dan cuenta de los esfuerzos de antropólogos y antropólogas de orientaciones muy diversas por ampliar el repertorio de nuestros modos de indagación etnográfica. Cada uno de los proyectos que discutiremos presenta un dispositivo de campo o, expresado alternativamente, cada proyecto describe cómo disponer las condiciones del encuentro etnográfico para pensar y construir problematizaciones con nuestras contrapartes a través de una plataforma digital, una exposición, o la actividad colectiva de bordado. Tras cada una de esas investigaciones, y esto es lo que nos gustaría destacar, encontramos el esfuerzo denodado de antropólogos y antropólogas por formular preguntas relevantes para los tiempos que vivimos.

Cartel e imagen gráfica: Ignacio Serrano

Organizado por: xcol. An Ethnographic Inventory, en colaboración con GINADYC (UCM) & CareNet-IN3 (UOC)

Esta serie de seminarios sirve, también, de ocasión para presentar públicamente el libro ‘An Ethnographic Inventory. Field Devices for Anthropological Inquiry’. Los proyectos presentados en las distintas sesiones forman parte de él.

Cada seminario presenta uno de los proyectos etnográficos incluidos en el libro. Cada presentación, de unos 40 minutos, contará con acompañantes que responderán a ella. Posteriormente habrá un debate abierto con los asistentes de 30 minutos.

Detalles prácticos de los seminarios
Dónde: Seminarios online.
Cuándo: Jueves de 16.00-17.30 (CET).
Cuándo comienzan: Entre el 2 de marzo y 27 de abril de 2023.

Programa ‘La invención etnográfica’ (PDF).


2 de marzo, 16.00-17.30 CET

La invención etnográfica: antropología para un tiempo de crisis

Adolfo Estalella (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) y Tomás Sánchez Criado (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).
Acompañante: Andrea Ballestero (University of Southern California).

La etnografía es un ejercicio de inventiva relacional, así nos lo muestran los proyectos de este ciclo de seminarios. Estos no siguen técnicas estándar ni se ajustan a convenciones metodológicas, por el contrario, antropólogos y antropólogas llevan a cabo sus investigaciones disponiendo de manera creativa las condiciones para sus encuentros etnográficos, ya sea creando infraestructuras digitales para la colaboración o comisariando exposiciones mientras investigan con artistas. A estos arreglos situados que disponen la situación etnográfica los llamamos dispositivos de campo que emergen de la inventiva relacional que es integral a todo encuentro etnográfico. Esta invocación creativa no debe entenderse como un llamamiento a técnicas novedosas o innovaciones metodológicas, todo lo contrario, se trata de reconocer que el encuentro etnográfico es siempre una situación que demanda de la creatividad relacional del antropólogo. Ante la constatación generalizada de que nuestros métodos son incapaces de responder a los desafíos de la contemporaneidad, creemos que animar la inventiva de la indagación etnográfica es una manera de abrirse a eso que nuestro colega Martin Savransky ha descrito como la imperiosa necesidad de especular con la posibilidad de inventar diferentes modos de hacer preguntas.

9 de marzo, 16.00-17.30 CET

Cómo curar/cuidar de nuestras preguntas etnográficas

Francisco Martínez (Estonian Academy of Arts).
Acompañante: Roger Sansi Roca (Universitat de Barcelona).

Las exposiciones suelen entenderse en antropología como técnicas de representación, sin embargo, también pueden usarse como un modo de indagación. Desde esta perspectiva, comisariar o curar) una exposición no es solo una manera de comunicar resultados de investigación sino un dispositivo para desafiar, inventar o cuestionar críticamente la realidad, siendo parte de una reconfiguración en curso de lo que podría ser el conocimiento y la política. Al hacer uso de las exposiciones como dispositivos experimentales, podemos mostrar nuestras preocupaciones y hacer que el campo etnográfico se despliegue de manera colaborativa e inventiva. Este modo de indagación ayuda a los etnógrafos a construir escenarios más distribuidos de producción de conocimiento, operando tanto como un objeto de indagación como un dispositivo disponible para diferentes actores para actuar-saber. De ahí que las exposiciones se puedan usar para abrir un espacio entre el conocimiento y la invención, así como nuevas formas de estar en el campo.

16 de marzo, 16.00-17.30 CET

Cómo producir una etnografía responsiva

Jorge Núñez y Maka Suárez.
Acompañante: Elisenda Ardévol (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).

Las plataformas digitales colaborativas e interdisciplinarias abren nuevos modos de investigación para participar en la producción de datos sobre problemas sociales apremiantes, como la violencia y la encarcelación, por ejemplo. La etnografía está particularmente bien posicionada para explorar los entendimientos de diferentes comunidades de conocimiento, así como para documentar las relaciones de poder entre varios actores. Medios como visualizaciones de datos, podcasts, estadísticas oficiales (y no oficiales), archivos legales o encuestas económicas, todos ellos son recursos que ofrecen la posibilidad de incluir diversas voces y puntos de vista. La posibilidad de combinar la etnografía con la investigación impulsada por plataformas digitales tiene la capacidad de generar colaboraciones inesperadas y permitir conexiones novedosas entre temas aparentemente no relacionados. El resultado es un espacio digital experimental para la producción de estudios receptivos.

23 de marzo, 16.00-17.30 CET

Cómo jugar a la etnografía

Ignacio Farías (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) y Tomás Sánchez Criado (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).
Acompañante: Marjorie Murray (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile).

Los juegos se han convertido recientemente en espacios relevantes para la experimentación antropológica, permitiendo enfoques alternativos al análisis crítico, el trabajo conceptual y la discusión ética. Pero, ¿cómo pueden los juegos volverse relevantes como dispositivos de campo para la investigación etnográfica? El uso de juegos en el campo implica más que hacer etnografía por medios lúdicos o jugar con sus contrapartes. De hecho, las prácticas de “diseño de juegos” y “testeo de juegos” ofrecen modos peculiarmente recursivos de investigación etnográfica. Por un lado, (i) la práctica de diseñar un juego posibilita modos de inventar y proyectar etnográficamente relaciones de campo; en lugar de inscribir o prescribir dinámicas sociales intrincadas, el proceso de diseño del juego implica una forma de exploración etnográfica del campo. Por otro lado, (ii) la práctica del testeo de juegos, más que simplemente permitir reflexionar críticamente sobre un juego dado, nutre relaciones para-etnográficas con los interlocutores. De hecho, en estos testeos también se pone a prueba la indexicalidad etnográfica del juego: desencadenar discusiones o reflexiones y comparaciones de las experiencias representadas en el juego con las que los participantes podrían haber tenido anteriormente, lo que permite la creación recursiva de prototipos.

13 de abril, 17.30-19.00 CET

Cómo mapear a la contra en la investigación etnográfica

3Cs, Sebastián Cobarrubias ((ARAID) y Maribel Casas Cortés (Universidad de Zaragoza).
Acompañantes: Gunther Dietz (Universidad Veracruzana) y Aurora Álvarez Veinguer (Universidad de Granada).

Desde su concepción y diseño hasta su producción y distribución, la práctica de elaboración de mapas puede convertirse en parte de un proceso de investigación y fuente de conocimiento. La cartografía puede ser de esta manera un dispositivo de campo para la investigación etnográfica y una forma gráfica de descripción densa que representa información y análisis que emergen de conocimientos situados. El proceso de mapeo puede facilitar el intercambio y catalizar la formación de identidades compartidas y formas colectivas a través de diferentes posiciones y experiencias vividas. Mapeando de esta manera, los esfuerzos etnográficos se convierten en “prácticas de tejido” dentro de campos abarrotados de creadores de conocimiento. Bajo esta agenda intervencionista de “tejer” entre poblaciones afectadas pero fragmentadas, el contramapa pretende transformar los territorios representados.

20 de abril, 16.00-17.30 CET

Cómo bordar la etnografía

Tania Pérez Bustos (Universidad Nacional de Colombia).
Acompañantes: Ana Mazzino y Sebastián Carenzo (Universidad Nacional de Quilmes).

La etnografía bordada se engendra, primero a partir de la necesidad empírica de comprender la continuidad entre las materialidades textiles y los cuerpos que bordan, y segundo, como un dispositivo metodológico a través del cual estudiar colectivamente y en proceso cómo sienten y se conectan nuestros cuerpos. Como primer descubrimiento, aprender a bordar muestra a la etnógrafa cómo su cuerpo sabe y escucha diferente cuando está inmerso en el hacer textil. Este proceso de aprendizaje crea un ambiente íntimo en el que la etnógrafa se relaciona con aquellos a quienes estudia (bordadoras y bordados) y es invitada, entonces, a explorar cómo bordar con otres o cómo invitar a otres a coser puede desvelar nuevas preguntas con las que bordamos lo que queremos entender etnográficamente. En este proceso, el aprendizaje del bordado como dispositivo de campo se transforma de un objeto para estudiar etnográficamente en un artefacto con el que formular nuevas preguntas etnográficas.

27 de abril, 16.00-17.30 CET

Políticas de la invención

Isaac Marrero Guillamón (Universitat de Barcelona) y Martín Savransky (Goldsmiths, University of London).
Acompañante: Olatz González Abrisketa (Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea).

La invención se encuentra en lo mundano y lo ordinario: en el juego lingüístico, en la improvisación social, y en todos esos momentos ubicuos que pueden animar los potenciales y posibilidades de la práctica etnográfica, ya sea para involucrarse en lo político, apuntar hacia nuevos horizontes de posibilidad, o revelar la dinámica cambiante, incierta y emergente en la que se constituyen las relaciones durante el trabajo de campo. La política, en este sentido, consistiría en el arte de imaginar, invocar, o cultivar nuevas posibilidades y arreglos de vida. Cuando todo esté dicho y hecho, cuando todas las garantías epistémicas y las prescripciones metodológicas hayan desaparecido, cuando el buen sentido y los mandatos moralistas hayan encallado, cuando todas las garantías de una base estable se hayan deshecho, todo lo que queda es el principio de invención: Nada se da, todo se inventa.