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Material Culture and Visual Anthropology
University College London (2009-2013)
Graduate Specialization - Maori Studies
University of Auckland, New Zealand (May 2007)
Master of Arts (History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture)
University of Alberta, Canada (May 2006)
Charting Material Memories: a material ethnography of visual and material responses to woollen trade blankets in Pacific North West of North America and Aotearoa/New Zealand
Primary Supervisor: Professor Susanne Kuechler
Secondary Supervisor: Professor Christopher Pinney
Start date: October 2009
Expected Completion date: 2013
Interests and Research
My current project further develops on research started in my Master of Arts and Graduate Specialization studies that looked at trade blankets in Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand. This project is a combination of an historic and contemporary material ethnography of the material nature and uses of woollen (trade) blankets that were produced in the United Kingdom, and a direct examination of the pluralistic histories of these objects when re-worked and recycled by contemporary artists. This project considers why artists and contemporary cultural practitioners use blankets, and more specifically questions how and why certain material culture and narratives are consumed at specific historical moments—how does materiality, memory, and consciousness affect these trends? And, what is the knowledge that is generated from the social relations that coalesce around blankets?
This research is supported by the:
Overseas Research Scholarship
Canadian Centennial Scholarship Fund (Canadian High Commission London)
Fred Sandback Archives (Private Donor Graduate Award)
Collaborative Curatorial Projects
Ethnographic Terminalia Exhibition – Co-Curator
2013—Chicago, IL, USA (Washington Park Arts Incubator—UChicago)
November 2012—San Francisco, CA, USA (SOMArts Cultural Center)
November 2011—Montreal, Canada (Eastern Bloc Center for New Media and Interdisciplinary Art)
November 2010—New Orleans, LA, USA (The Du Mois Gallery)
December 2009—Philadelphia, PA, USA (Crane Arts)
Journal Articles, Book Reviews, and Book Chapters
- Book Review—Craft/Art : Art\Craft—Extra/Ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art, ed. Maira Elena Buszek. Duke University Press, 2011. Forthcoming June 2013 Museum World.
- Book Review—(Re)Staging the Art Museum. ed. Tone Hansen. Henie Onstad Art Centre, Norway. 2011. Forthcoming June 2013 Museum World.
- Peer Reviewed Article—Woollen Blankets in Contemporary Art: Mutability, Mobility, and Materiality in the work of Sonny Assu. Forthcoming Material Culture Review Journal—Objects in Motion (Spring 2013).
- Book Chapter—An Unexpected History Lesson: meeting ‘colonial girls’ through knitting, weaving, spinning, and cups of tea. Palgrave Macmillan (Edited: Michelle Smith and Kristine Moruzi), Forthcoming 2013.
- “Introduction” Kate Hennessy, Fiona P. McDonald, Trudi Lynn Smith, Stephanie Takagarawa, Craig Campbell, Maria Brodine. Visual Anthropology Review (peer-reviewed). Vol. 27. Issue 1. Spring 2011.
- “27 Works.” Kate Hennessy, Fiona P. McDonald, Trudi Lynn Smith, Stephanie Takagarawa. Visual Anthropology Review (peer-reviewed). Vol. 27. Issue 1. Spring 2011.
- “Collaborating and Curating.” University College London Anthropology News (2011).
- “Charting Material Memories.” Material World Blog. December 2010. www.materialworldblog.com
- Dispersant Exhibition Essay, “Materialising the Unseen” for the OuterEdge Project at Sanderson Gallery (New Zealand) by Meliors Simms. April 2012. Link to Essay and [PDF]
- Exhibition Essay, “Lilong: a sensory reading of place.” Lilong (Video Installation) by Valentina Ferrandes at the Muratcentoventidue | Arte Contemporanea (Bari, Italy). Published January 2012.
- Field Guide Exhibition Essay, “Visual Iterability” for Finding Aid art installation by Trudi Lynn Smith. SAAG Gallery (Canada). June 2010.
Works in Progress: Articles, Book Reviews, Book Chapters, etc...
- Book Chapter—“Decoration and Tlingit Button Blanket Robes” in Why Decorate?’: Comparative approaches to artistic production (Editor: Wendy Morrison). Prepared for University of Oxford Press (2013).
- Book Chapter—“From raw wool to a ready-made material: The material transformation of woollen blankets in contemporary art—value and meaning” in Raw No More (Edited by Susanne Kuechler and Adam Drazin). Prepared for Berg (2013).
- Article—Recycling the 18th Century: framing an epoch as a concept through contemporary art in Aotearoa New Zealand. Prepared and Ready for Submission (2011).
Sample of Public Presentations
- The Politics of Materiality. The New School, New York City, New York (USA). TITLE: Political Materials—A Case Study of Woolen Blankets in Contemporary Art in Canada and the USA (April 2013)
- College Arts Association. New York City, New York (USA). Pacific Arts Association Sponsored Session. Session Chair. TITLE: The Home, The Museum, and The Gallery—illuminating the nexus between identity, materiality, and visual culture in the Pacific (February 2013)
- Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium. Textiles & Politics. Washington, DC (USA). TITLE: Woolen Trade Blankets in Contemporary Art: tracing the personal and social politics of art and material culture in Canada, the USA, and Aotearoa New Zealand (17 September 2012)
- Colonial Girlhood/Colonial Girls Conference and Workshop. University of Melbourne (Australia). TITLE: An Unexpected History Lesson: A Presentation of Memory, Femininity, and Materiality in Aotearoa New Zealand (15 June 2012)
- Royal Anthropological Institute—Anthropology in the World Conference. The woollen blanket and its value(s): a material ethnography of things, objects, and art (10 June 2012)
- 2012 Otsego Institute for Native American Art Workshop and Seminars—Native American Art: The Being of Objects. (May 2012). Invited.
- University of Oxford—Pitt Rivers Museum Seminar Series 2011 (Oxford, UK): “Charting Material Memories in the Pacific” (28 October 2011). Invited.
- International Visual Sociologist Association Conference (Vancouver, BC, Canada): “Archive as Practice: A Panel Discussion”. (7 July 2011). Invited Discussant.
- 7th International Conference on Small Island Cultures (Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia): Recycling and Tourist Art: a presentation of contemporary artists use tourist ‘kitsch’ and vintage goods in Aotearoa/New Zealand today (13 June 2011).
- Concordia University (CEREV LAB)—Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Funded Workshop. Curating Difficult Knowledge Workshop. Workshop Co-Facilitator. 16-17 May 2011. (Invited)
- Native American History Month Lecture Series at the Sealaska Heritage Institute (Juneau, Alaska, USA): Title: Charting Material Memories: an ethnography of visual and material responses to woolen trade blankets in the Pacific Northwest of North America and New Zealand (25 October 2010).
- [Record] [Create]: Oral History in Art, Craft, and Design Conference (Oral History Society (UK) and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England): Title: An Unexpected History Lesson: Oral Histories and the Fiber Arts in Aotearoa/New Zealand (July 2010)
- Recycling, Luxury, and Waste in the Long Eighteenth Century Conference (Université Paris Diderot, Paris, France): Title: Weaving and Wool: Materiality through Woollen Blankets in Eighteenth Century Aotearoa/New Zealand (June 2010)
- CASCA/AES 2009 Conference (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada): Title: Locating an Outsider's Identity-Indigenous Knowledge in Western Frameworks (May 2009)
- Western Springs College (Auckland, New Zealand) Satellite Lecture with interactive presentation (Year 10 Philosophy)-What is Art: Theories of Aesthetics (March 2009)
- The New Zealand Costume and Textile Section of the Auckland Museum Institute (The Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand) Migration and Adaptation Conference: Title: Weaving Connections: Examining the interconnectedness of European Trade Blanket Patterns in to Maori Weaving (March 2007)
- Guest Lecture Presented-Linguistic Anthropology 489/589 (Undergraduate/Graduate Seminar): Title: Ethnography of Communication - Discussing the Communicative Behaviors of Gossip and Field Work (February 2007)
- University of Auckland-Department of Art History Graduate Lecture Series 2006: Title: Taonga Abroad: Reconciling 'severed links' through a contemporary art installation at The Pitt Rivers Museum (20 July 2006)
- University of Auckland-Department of Maori Studies Graduate Seminar (5 August 2006): Title: Identity-Yours and Mine: A Presentation of Theories and Debates around Contemporary Ethnic Discourse (August 2006)
Directors—Society of Visual Anthropology
Visiting Scholar (Anthropology) New York University (NYU) (NYC, USA)
Visiting Research Fellow with Massey University (Wellington, NZ)
Visiting Scholar with Sealaska Heritage Institute (2010)
Ethnographic Terminalia International Curatorial Collective
International Visual Sociologist Association (not active 2013)
Canadian Society of Anthropologists (CASCA)/ American Ethnological Society (AES) (not active 2013)
American Anthropological Association
Pacific Arts Association
College Arts Association
Royal Anthropological Institute
Costume and Textile-Auckland Museum, New Zealand (not active 2013)
Textile Society of America
Zonta International (New Zealand)