My name’s Tomás Sánchez Criado (@tscriado) and I am an anthropologist with specialisation in STS.
Originally from Madrid, I spent a long time in Barcelona, and since 2015 I live and work in Germany.
Currently I am Senior Researcher (TV-L 13/5) at the Chair of Urban Anthropology and Director of the Stadtlabor for multimodal anthropology of Humboldt-University of Berlin’s Institute of European Ethnology. I am also Academic Coordinator of the Erasmus+ office of our institute.
My interests lie at the crossroads of Anthropology and STS, developing ethnographic and public engagement work around urban knowledge and material politics in a wide variety of settings where care is invoked as a domain or a particular mode of design intervention: such as, independent-living services, accessibility infrastructures, and more generally bodily diverse-activated forms of city-making (mainly pivoting around age and disability issues). I have come to be everyday more and more inspired to think of these issues in the vicinity of other environmental urban health concerns, such as climate catastrophe, urban pollution or interspecies relations.
These interests have also led me to experiment with multimodal anthropological engagements (exploring inventive forms of collaborative inquiry, ethnography & pedagogy where multimodality could be understood not just or not only as ‘in a plurality of media’ but rather ‘in a plurality of relational and epistemic modes’). In this vein, I currently co-curate xcol. An Ethnographic Inventory, a collaborative platform to document ethnographic inventions and the inventiveness of the ethnographic.
AN INSIGHT INTO MY MOST RECENT RESEARCH: ANTHROPOLOGY OF/THROUGH/AS CAREFUL DESIGN
Ever since I finished my PhD in 2012, my work has dealt monographically with different facets of the particular technical democracy of accessibility urbanism, for which I have been undertaking ethnographic and archival research on different struggles and distinct DIY and infrastructural projects.
On the one hand, I have been unfolding (1) an anthropology of careful design: That is, engaging in ethnographic studies of more or less participatory design processes, implementations, installations, maintenance/repair, as well as uses of more inclusive urban infrastructures. In particular, I’m interested in accessibility urbanism as a particular form of ‘techno-scientific activism’: that is, first, as a way of challenging technocracy through the circulation of traces and records of experience-based knowledge in particular documentation interfaces; and, second, as a way of exploring different self-experimentation and DIY methods, as well as sites and encounters to elicit bodily diversity and the appropriate socio-material affordances to host it.
On the other hand, I have experimented with other modes of engagement that might be addressed as (2) an anthropology through or, even, as careful design. That is, I have been exploring how design’s ecologies of practice might invite us to engage through design in a different kind of anthropology. For instance, working in such activist design settings might ‘activate’ us as researchers, impacting on our practices, and suggesting us to undertake more collaborative and experimental forms of collective inquiry, exploring alternative meeting formats, types of records or accounts. As a result, different fieldwork devices and formats might be created for an anthropological engagement–ethnographic, public, or otherwise–to matter in the articulation of interstitial worlds or ecologies of support, where bodily differences might be put in common. Much in this same vein, I am also interested in exploring how anthropology could be engaged as a form of urbanism, when searching to intervene in or have an impact on more democratic design practices through a wide range of ‘joint problem-making’ activities: be it when we contribute to ongoing re-materialisations (both doings and undoings) and the articulation of what these processes bring, or when we craft pedagogical devices to sensitise all involved to come to terms with bodily diversity and multi-sensory environments.
In an attempt at wrapping up this rather intense phase, I am currently working on a book project dwelling on all this, tentatively titled An uncommon city: Bodily diversity and the activation of possible urbanisms.
See the publications section.
RESEARCH: PROJECTS & VENUES
See the research: projects & venues section.
TEACHING & SUPERVISION
See the teaching & supervision section.
PREVIOUS CAREER EXPERIENCE
– 2015-2018. Senior Researcher (TV-L 13/4-5). Assistant Professorship of Participatory Technology Design, jointly appointed between the Munich Center for Technology in Society & the Department of Architecture, Technical University of Munich.
– 2014-2015. Lecturer in Social Sciences. Psychology and Educational Sciences Department, Open University of Catalonia. STS-b (Barcelona Science & Technology Studies) research group.
– 2012-2014: Assistant lecturer / Alliance 4 Universities postdoctoral fellow at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. STS-b (Barcelona Science & Technology Studies) research group.
– 2011-2012. Assistant lecturer. Psychology and Educational Sciences Department, Open University of Catalonia.
– 2007-2011. FPU-UAM PhD Fellow. Social Anthropology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) [Member since 2006, student representative from 2009 to 2010, part of the local organising committee of the 2016 4S/EASST Barcelona conference “Science and Technology by Other Means – Exploring collectives, spaces and futures“]
European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) [Member since 2014, co-convenor 2016-2020 of the #Colleex – Collaboratory for Ethnographic Experimentation network]
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie (DGSKA) [Member since 2019]
Network of Iberoamerican Anthropologists (AIBR) [Member since 2004, council member from 2005 to 2010]
Socio-Gerontechnology Network [Member since 2020]
– Visiting fellow at the following institutions: Instituto de Historia (IH), History of Science Dept., Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas – Spanish National Scientific Council (CSIC), Madrid (3 weeks, 3.2017; 5 weeks, 9-10.2017); UC, Davis – Departments of Cultural Studies and Anthropology (1 week, 4.2017); Instituto de Psicología Social, Universidad de la República, Montevideo (2 weeks, 12.2016); Instituto de Ciências Sociais (ICS), Research Group ‘Environment, Territory, and Society’, Universidade de Lisboa (3 weeks, 10.2016); Centre for Science Studies & Department of Sociology, Lancaster University (1 semester, 10.2009-2.2010).
– Alliance 4 Universities Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (2012-2014)
– FPU-UAM PhD Fellowship, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (2007-2011)
Collaboration in journals
- AIBR. Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana (Editorial Board & co-editor: 2005-2010)
- EASST Review (Editorial Board: 2016-2019)
- Medicine Anthropology Theory – MAT (International Advisory Board: 2020-)