The Centre for Anthropology aims to be the leading research hub which locates digital technologies in the rich context of human society and culture... full description
The volume edited by Heather Horst and Daniel Miller is the manifesto for the Centre of Digital Anthropology and is the handbook for the Master... full description
Stefana Broadbent coordinates the MsC in Digital Anthropology .
Her research focuses on two main areas: the evolution of digital activities at home (information, leisure, communication and self expression) and the complex and highly automated work environments in aviation and process control. She has done extensive research on the use of communication technology at work and at home and is interested in the blurring of the two environments. Currently Stefana is studying youth mobility in a time of economic crisis looking at the role of digital media in the choices and planning of life trajectories. She is carrying out research in youth hostels as places of long term dwelling for young European migrants.
Dr. Broadbent is on the advisory board of the CNIL the French organisation for InfoSoc in Bruxelles
Dr. Broadbent has extensive experience working in the research departments of IT companies. She was responsible for the development of the User Observatory at Swisscom, she was in the Management Team of IconMedialab/LBi and ran CB&J, a research company specialized in human factors and user research..
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.
Areas: Melanesia, Polynesia, Australia, Africa (Mali, Madagascar)
Topics: exchanges, rituals, magic, food, aesthetics, materials, environment, heritage, innovation, methodology, history of theories.
Approaches: archaeology and ethno-archaeology, art history, Science and Technology Studies, Frankfurt School, non-linear theory, structuralism/post-structuralism, praxeology, ergonomy, cognition.
My main field research is in Oceania, and I did fieldwork in the Sepik area of Papua New Guinea. My doctoral thesis dealt with the cultivation and display of the Abelam’s long yams in Maprik area.
My research interests so far have focused on the study of the relationships between people and things through two related angles: techniques and arts, especially in the Pacific area (mainly Melanesia, Polynesia and Australia). This implies investigating knowledge, materials and skills as well as addressing dimensions such as rituals and aesthetics in relation to social dynamics and environment.
Following Mauss’s footsteps, my approaches combine Francophone anthropology of techniques (Leroi-Gourhan, Lemonnier), with Anglophone material culture studies, as well as archaeological and ethno-archaeological approaches. Other theoretical interests include the history of anthropology, notably the relationships between the different anthropological traditions, regarding the treatment of material culture and art.
Incoming book: Growing Artefacts, Displaying Relationships: Yams, Art and Technology amongst the Abelam of Papua New Guinea (Berghahn Books).
Based on my study of the decorated long yams of the Abelam in a contemporary Papua New Guinea village, my book asks the following question: “How does one make artefacts beautiful and powerful enough to act simultaneously as symbols, valuables and images?” Through the combination of anthropology of material culture, anthropology of art and anthropology of techniques, I unravel the process of making, decorating and displaying these long yams, and I show how this process merge agricultural techniques, social interactions, and cosmological knowledge. In the course of the book, after discussing the debated positions of techniques and arts within anthropological studies, I also address theoretical issues on agency of art, technology and determinism, as well as on exchanges, rituals and aesthetics.
Adam Drazin is an anthropologist who works on design and with designers. He obtained his PhD in anthropology at UCL in 2001, on the material culture of care in Romania. For the last three years, he has been lecturing in Ireland at Trinity College Dublin on themes including material culture, globalisation and migration, gender and the home.
Adam is running the new MA programme in Culture, Materials and Design. He aims to promote the broad spectrum of ways in which anthropology engages with design and materials, and explore how dialogues with institutions in the private and public sectors can advance anthropological understandings, particularly through the use of object-focussed design methodologies.
In the past, he has conducted postdoctoral research in Ireland on Irish-romanian homes and constructions of openness, and has worked as a design anthropologist with engineers and designers in companies including Intel and HP Labs. This latter work has included work on memory and remembering, the material culture of ageing, and the intersection of mobility and isolation in later life. He has also lectured in anthropology at NUI Maynooth and Dublin Business School; and has taught ethnographic methodologies to design students at the RCA in London, NCAD Dublin, and TU/e Eindhoven. He is an external examiner for the Glasgow School of Art’s BDes and MDes programmes, and has published in a number of journals and collections.
Haidy Geismar has a PhD in Anthropology and Material Culture from UCL (2003). She has long term fieldwork experience in both the South Pacific and within museums, in the Pacific, North America and Europe where she has worked both with South Pacific and with photography collections. She is particularly interest in the legal regimes and cultural frameworks through which culture is owned and has a book forthcoming from Duke University Press, which looks at the ways in which intellectual and cultural property regimes are articulated in the museums and cultural centres of Vanuatu and New Zealand. Recently she has been researching the digitization of cultural collections, the incorporation of indigenous protocols into museum databases and she is in the early stages of a book looking at new practices and forms of digital photography.
Dr. Geismar is also founder and chief editor of the Material World blog and has worked extensively with digital tools to enhance teaching and research practices.
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.
2011-2012: Developing geographic information systems for non-literate users. ESRI (the leading GIS manufacturers in the world - products include ArcInfo and ArcGIS) have committed $150,000 to bring me to work with their prototype laboratory in California on developing a stand alone GIS application for use by non-literate users - focusing on hunter-gatherers in the Congo Basin involved in ‘extreme’ citizen science.
2011-2012: Monitoring poaching and illegal hunting. Developing mapping software for non-literate hunter-gatherers to identify and map illegal hunting activities. With First Peoples Worldwide, Wildlife Conservation Society, Helveta Ltd. and Congolaise Industriel de Bois. US$20,000
2005- Ongoing: Extreme Citizen Science. Making tools and developing methodologies for scientifically valid data collection to be done by non-literate people. Together with Helveta, a UK firm specialising in traceability and monitoring software, I designed prize-winning icon-driven mapping software for palm-top GPS units to enable non-literate hunter-gatherers to map key resources they want to protect from damage by loggers. The system is now being used in Cameroon, Central African Republic and Nigeria and will soon be used in Gabon. Interest has been expressed for work in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
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.
Beginning in 2012 he will lead a team of researchers (funded via a £2.1 million ERC grant) in a major cross-cultural study of social networking spanning seven countries and five years. See the UCL-hosted project website and blog for further details.