MA in Material and Visual Culture
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Stefana Broadbent is a visiting researcher at the Department of Anthropology at UCL. Between 2004 and 2008 she was responsible for the development of the User Observatory at Swisscom. The Observatory runs ethnographic studies on the evolution of users? practices with information and communication technologies in Switzerland. Previously, she was in the Management Team of IconMedialab a multinational digital consultancy listed in Stockholm and was in charge of the hu-man computer interaction competence. In 1993 she founded CB&J, a company specialized in hu-man factors and user research that was acquired by IconMedialab in 1999.
In the last 15 years of applied research, there have been two main areas of investigation: the evolution of digital activities at home (information, leisure, communication and self expression) and the analysis of complex and highly automated work environments in aviation and process control. All of these projects had in common an ethnographic approach to capture evolving social practices and a design intent to inform and support the conception of new tools and services
Stefana holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive science from the University of Edinburgh, and a degree in Psychology from the Univesité de Genève.
See Dr. Broadbent's TED Talk, "How the Internet Enables Intimacy," delivered in July, 2009 (requires the Adobe Flash Player plug-in), or listen to her speak on the BBC's Forum radio broadcast in August, 2009.
Buchli works on architecture, domesticity, the archaeology of the recent past, critical understandings of materiality and new technologies and the anthropology of sustainability and design. He also teaches on the UCL Urban Studies MSc and supervises on the Mphil/PhD programme at the Bartlett and serves on the Board of the Victoria and Albert/Royal College of Art MA History of Design Programme. He has conducted fieldwork in Russia, Britain and more recently in Kazakhstan, where he concluded research based on a neigbourhood ethnography in the new capitol of Astana, Kazakhstan, examining questions of materiality, architecture and urbanism in the post-socialist period. In addition, he is writing a new book Immateriality which examines the significance of material cultures that paradoxically attempt to deny their own physicality and another entitled The Anthropology of Architecture (Berg 2011).
Currently he is starting new research in new materials and new technologies examining the rise of rapid manufacturing or 3-D printing. This research is part of a co-organised ESRC funded intiative entitled New Materials, New Technologies with Susanne Kuechler and Graeme Were in UCL Anthropology and Materials Sciences at Kings College London. In addition, he is a member of the Eco-Town Delivery Consortium: an industry based knowledge transfer initiative examining the development of carbon neutral living through which he is conducting a long term ethnographic project ‘Assembling the Carbon Neutral Subject’ and supervising research into the anthropology of ecologically sustainable development and design. More recently he has begun work as a member of the interdisciplinary Templeton Scholars Group on the origins of domesticity at the Neolithic site of Çatal Höyük in Turkey where he is examining long term culture change and processes of material iteration and innovation.
Coupaye focuses on the arts and anthropology of the Pacific, with an emphasis on the groups, material cultures and technologies of Melanesia. His doctoral thesis (SRU/UEA 2005), was titled Growing Artefacts, Displaying Relationships: Outlining the Technical System of Long Yam Cultivation and Display among the Abelam of Nyamikum Village (East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea). He is currently writing on the magic and social life of ritual objects among the Abelam.
Haidy Geismar came to UCL from the Dept. of Anthropology at NYU, where she was assistant professor in anthropology and in museum studies and taught courses on digital culture. She has written extensively on museums, issues of cultural property and archives, and has conducted fieldwork in New Zealand and Vanuatu. Her book Treasured Possessions will be out later this year with Duke University Press. She has papers in many leading journals such as American Ethnologist, Journal of Material Culture Studies, Comparative Studies in History and Society. She is joint founder editor of www.materialworldblog.com
Küchler is currently working on a new manuscript, which develops the theoretical implications of her past ethnographic research into the making of sculpture and the cognitive work of images. The Material Mind takes insights into the nature of innovation, won during long-term and collaborative research on the take up and transformation of cloth in the Pacific, to the context of the development of ‘mindware’ in laboratories. The manuscript offers a critical review of the existing theorisation of the aesthetics of the material [Materialästhetik] and sets out a new vision for the study of sculptural art and design, which takes into account the interface between the material and the cognitive as symptomatic of knowledge economies. Geographical: South Pacific; Papua New Guinea, New Ireland; Polynesia, the Cook Islands. And laboratories. September 2005-July2006: Invited Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin: The library research conducted during the year of residency concerned the evolving technology and fabrics supporting wearable computing and investigated its implications for the theory and methodology of material culture and anthropology. ‘Smart’ clothes and ambient intelligence provoke questions of how notions of mind and of life inform and are informed by prototyping, where it is the functionality of collections of artefacts which supports systemic relations between artefacts, and where a sociality with objects is mediated by such inter-artefactual relations. The initial work on the manuscript also concerned itself with a critique of current work on innovation, directing attention to the need for anthropological research to be conducted on the social history of the prototype in order to develop new methodologies and theories capable of handling emerging futures.
Miller has carried several research projects on the media which have resulted in publications including The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach (with D. Slater) Berg: Oxford 2000 and The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication (with H Horst) Berg: Oxford 2006, Tales from Facebook Polity 2011, and with Dr. M Madianou of Cambridge University Migration and New Media: transnationalism and polymedia (Routledge Sept 2011). He is currently working on the impact of social networking and webcam on transnational relationships and within Trinidad.
Tilley is a UCL specialist in archaeology, material culture and social identity. He has written a number of books on archaeological theory exploring the relations between hermeneutic, structuralist and post-structuralist perspectives and material culture.
Chris Tilley's research falls into two main areas (i) the exploration
of different theoretical perspectives in relation to the study of
material culture and (ii) the relationship of these perspectives to the
study of substantive archaeological and ethnographic data sets. These
concerns are reflected in his publications. Theoretically he have explored
the use and value of structuralist, post-structuralist, Marxist,
hermeneutic and phenomenological perspectives. His substantive analyses
have been very broad and wide ranging including the following: studies of museums and tourism, modern material culture, contemporary and prehistoric landscapes, topography and monuments, Bronze Age Scandinavian rock art, The Neolithic in south Scandinavia, Brittany, Britain and Malta, Artefact construction, ethnicity, heritage and identity in the western Pacific (Vanuatu), Landscape and installation art, Contemporary residential gardens and gardening in Sweden and England.
Pinney's research has a strong geographic focus in central India: initial ethnographic research was concerned with village-resident factory workers. Subsequently he researched popular photographic practices and the consumption of Hindu chromolithographs in the same area. His publications combine contemporary ethnography with the historical archaeology of particular media (see eg. Camera Indica and Photos of the Gods). The Coming of Photography in India, based on the Panizzi Lectures was published by the British Library in October 2008.
He is currently interested in cultural spaces which conventional social theory has tended to neglect: “more than local and less than global”, and spaces of cultural flow that elude the west. In addition to ongoing projects with an Indian focus (for instance, a filmic record of two central Indian Dalit intellectuals) he is also working on visual dimensions of cultural encounters from 1492 to the present, and thinking through Kracauer’s later work and the question of ‘multiple temporalities’. Current book projects include, Photography and Anthropology (forthcoming from Reaktion in April 2011), Zoom: Seeing and Believing in Colonial and Postcolonial India,Lessons From Hell (concerned with popular Indian depictions of punishment), a ‘visual history’ of modern India, and Visual Encounters.