At the Art, Materiality and Representation conference of the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI)

The concept of the 'archive' had arguably received insufficient critical attention in anthropology until relatively recently despite its central role in research practices. However, recent work has highlighted the significance of archives for the future of anthropology (Kohl 2013), and ideas about the 'archive' as a static repository of history are being challenged. Interdisciplinary experimentations with forms of archive/archiving are increasingly emerging (cf. the anarchive) raising important questions about both the collaborative and processual nature of archives (Manning 2016).

This panel begins with the premise that archives, prone to decay, dissolution and re-arrangement, are permanently in process1. This perspective enables us to engage with cleavages and links between past knowledge and future imagination, as well as the role of representation. Our interest is not limited to objects, but also to the idea of the body (or collective bodies) as archives of experience. In particular, we are interested in the archive’s potential for collaborative artistic and ethnographic practices: What forms of collaborative work does the archive offer? In what ways can the collective sensibility of the archive be explored? What can we gain from a process-based notion of the archive? What implications does this have on the role of the archive in art and anthropology, and for the practices related to it in particular?

We call for papers and art/media interventions that explore a variety of contemporary understandings of 'archive' that open up for individuals, groups and institutions possibilities to produce creative anthropological and artistic work.

Please submit the paper proposal before 8 January 2018 online:

Proposals must consist of a paper title, a short abstract of less than 300 characters and an abstract of 250 words.

Panel organisers:

  • Dr. Jennifer Clarke (Gray's School of Art, RGU, Aberdeen) jenevive at or j.clarke5 at
  • Dr. Giulia Battaglia (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3/EHESS-IIAC-LAIOS) giu_bat at or giulia.battaglia at
  • Dr. Fiona Siegenthaler (University of Basel, Columbia University) Fiona.Siegenthaler at or Fiona.Siegenthaler at