Chalmers Conferences, Transvaluation: Making the world matter

Participatory Art and Participant Observation: Exploring Social Relationships through Interdisciplinary Practices
Anna Laine

Last modified: 2015-08-18


This paper concerns participative practices that draw from both art and anthropology. Through an interdisciplinary perspective, it presents creative overlaps and possible exchanges between the respective knowledge fields. The particular setting is an intervention in a suburban London shopping centre that was part of an exploration of migration and diasporic existence. The event was organised by the author in collaboration with an artist and a refugee centre who have a background in the Tamil regions of Sri Lanka. It investigated Tamil relationships with the British environment, and challenged the lack of Tamil visibility. While this kind of interdisciplinary methods provide inviting challenges, the researcher often has to adapt to institutional claims of particular expertise at the stage of research disseminating. However, this paper suggests that maintained interactions between two disciplines, which both are directed towards qualitative social encounters and their performative effects, constitute a strong foundation for counteracting the current audit culture in academia.


participation, anthropology; art; methodology; research dissemination; diaspora


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