UCL Anthropology


Hermione Spriggs

Hermione Spriggs

UCL Email: h.spriggs@ucl.ac.uk
Websites: hermione-spriggs.comwww.uclmal.com
Year of start: 2018
Supervisors: Martin Holbraad and David Burrows (Slade School of Fine Art)
Fieldsite: London/ Canada

PhD Research

Traps as Artworks and Artworks as Traps

Animal traps are perspectivist technologies, capable of interfacing between worlds or jurisdictions. Like the Guyana spring trap that “turns fish into fruit” (Gell 1996), traps mobilise subjects across ontological registers and elicit extraordinary effects from unpromising materials. This research asks how hunters render something out of nothing and presence out of absence, creating value and mobility from scant resources.

The journey begins with a fictional exhibition described by Alfred Gell in his 1996 essay “Vogel’s Net: Traps as Artworks and Artworks as Traps”, and an ethnography of animal trapping techniques both in London and in Northern Manitoba. Treating traps as sites in which a range of often contradictory perspectival relations come into focus – hunter and prey, human and non-human, society and nature, economy and environment – this ethnography zooms out to situate the nexus of the trap in a broader mesh of natural, social, economic and political relations, and zooms in to consider the multi-sensory aesthetics of trapping as a form of “art practice” geared towards beyond-human thought and perception.

In cross-cutting between beyond-human anthropology and practices of making, a new space opens up for the production of “impossible” art forms that conflate different perspectival systems and find ingenious ways to transform their current situation into a new one.

Research interests

Hermione Spriggs is an artist, researcher and exhibition-maker exploring practical methods for perspective-exchange. Her collaborative project the Anthropology of Other Animals (“AoOA”) doggedly attempts to elicit extraordinary effects from unpromising materials and explores the hidden links between “craft” and “being crafty”. Born in Yorkshire, Spriggs holds an MFA in visual art from UC San Diego and is a member of the Social Morphologies Research Unit and the UCL Multimedia Anthropology Lab. She is currently undertaking practice-based PhD research at UCL based between the Department of Anthropology and Slade School of Art, and is curator and contributing editor for the exhibition and publication project "Five Heads: Art, Anthropology and Mongol Futurism" (UCL Department of Anthropology/ Sternberg Press).


  • Spriggs, H ‘Drawing into Being the trap as a diagram for practical exchange between art and anthropology’ (Dec 2019) Journal of Material Culture, Special Issue ‘Traps and Trapping’, 24(4), Corsin Jimenez, Nahum-Claudel & Willerslev (Eds) 
  • Spriggs, H (Ed.), ‘Five Heads (Tavan Tolgoi): Art, Anthropology and Mongol Futurism,’ Sternberg Press, 2018 
  • Spriggs, H (2016) ‘UURGA (irregular loop), Drawing figure-ground reversals in art and anthropology’, Journal of Material Culture, Vol 21:4, pp 405-428
  • Spriggs, H (Contributing editor, 2013) ‘A New Methodology for an Anthropology of Things’, The Fox Vol IV 
  • Spriggs, H & Barton, G (2013) ‘Architecture and Trapping’, 30:60:90: A Journal of Emergent Architecture and Design, David Hayes (Ed.), Princeton University Press

Presentations, Conferences & Exhibitions


  • Air Matters, Waterman's Art Centre, London (10th Oct 2019 – 4th Jan 2020)
  • All the rain Promises and More... exhibition & catalogue text, Arusha, Edinburgh (opening 25th July 2019)
  • The First Limonum Symposium, an ESTAR(SER) gathering, Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers, France (July 8-13)
  • The use·ful·less·ness of the Experiment, Colleex EASA Network Second Workshop, 4-6 July, Cieszyn, Poland
  • Morphologies of Invisible Agents. Space Studios, London (26th April – 18th May)
  • Multimedia Anthropology Now, online exhibition and panel discussion, UCL Department of Anthropology (ongoing)


  • International Symposium on Practices of Attention, 33rd Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil
  • ASA conference ‘18: Sociality, matter, and the imagination: re-creating Anthropology, Oxford University
  • Five Heads (Tavan Tolgoi): Art, Anthropology and Mongol Futurism, greengrassi & Corvi-Mora (Curator)
  • New Subjectivities in Mongolian Futures, panel conversation and publication launch, Arts Catalyst, London
  • Art House Jersey, ‘Encounters’ residency, organised by Helena Hunter as part of DIY 2018
  • East Side Projects, Expanded Studio Residency with Laura Cooper
  • Stories in the Making, Royal Anthropological Institute, exhibition, SOAS/ British Museum, London
  • Art Materiality and Representation, Royal Anthropological Institute conference British Museum, London


  • Visual Research Network ‘Creative Image,’ Granada Institute, Manchester  
  • Titanik Gallery, Turku, Finland. Third House, AoOA exhibition with Laura Cooper & Heini Neiminen
  • Inhabiting the Woods: new research and creative practice in the Caledonian pinewoods, Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen
  • In Other Tongues, ‘Underwood’ performance/ workshop for Dartington College creative summit, Devon


  • Traps: Technological mediations of human-animal encounter, CRASSH conference, Cambridge University
  • audibleVISIONS conference, Goldsmiths University dept of Music + Audiovisual research unit, London
  • The Viscous Shape, Skaftfell Center for Visual Art with The George Walker Geology Genter Breiddalsvik, Iceland
  • Museum of Jurassic Technology, ESTAR(SER) exhibition & symposium, Los Angeles
  • The Showroom, ‘DIY Decoy’ workshops and performance as part of Communal Knowledge, London
  • Closer to The Veg, installation and performance lecture at Fitzroy Park Allotments, London
  • Itasca, Bindery Projects, St Paul MN 


  • Global Committee, ‘Dust’, exhibition + durational performance, Brooklyn, NY (solo)
  • TIME BODY SPACE OBJECTS 4, ‘They were sunbeams…’ public performance for Island Arts Initiative, Boston, MA
  • ‘Fluid States – Performances of Unknowing', Museum of Contemporary Art, Panama City
  • ‘San Diego Keeps Her Promise: Balboa Park at 100”, San Diego Art Institute, CA
  • The Thing Is All Around Itself, Official Selection, Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York UK
  • Walking, Talking and Social Practice, Mildred’s Lane, Narrowsburg, PA


  • Those That At Close Range Resemble Islands, Art|Sci Gallery, UCLA Nanosystems institute, Los Angeles CA
  • The Thing Is All Around Itself, Hermione Spriggs Graduate Thesis Show, UC San Diego, CA (solo)
  • BOX HAS SIX SIDES, Bizkaia Aretoa. Sala Chillida Aretoa, Bilbao, Spain
  • Land Art Mongolia Third International Biennial, National Museum of Art, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Collective Affinities, MFA Graduate Exhibition, University Art Gallery UC San Diego, CA
  • Those That From A Distance Look Like Flies, Performance Lecture for the Lorquin Entomological Society, Bioquip, LA

Teaching Experience

  • Slade School of Fine Art, Postgraduate Teaching Assistant (PGTA) for Drawing Methodologies (2019-20)
  • The Showroom, London, ‘DIY Decoy’ workshops as part of Communal Knowledge public program (2016-17) 
  • Mildred’s Lane, Pennsylvania ‘Walking, Talking and Social Practice’, artist talk and hypnosis workshop (2015)
  • UC San Diego, Sixth College Writing Program, Teaching Assistant with Professor Teddy Cruz (2014)
  • UC San Diego Centre for Humanities research group ‘Something from Nothing: Fearless Speculations in Art, Science and Activism’, syllabus creation for the Sixth College Culture, Art and Technology program (2012–2013)
  • UC San Diego Department of Art History, Teaching Assistant (2012)
  • UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts, Teaching Assistant (2011-12)

Education History

  • PhD in Anthropology and Art Practice (UCL Anthropology/ Slade School of Art), Sept 2018 –
  • MFA in Visual Arts, University of California San Diego, 2014
  • BSc Anthropology, University College London, 2010

Honours, Awards & Funding

  • Richard Schlagman Art Book Award, nomination and longlist, Five Heads (H Spriggs, Ed), 2019
  • LAHP / AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, PhD funding award (Sept 2018 - 2022)
  • UCL Graduate Research Scholarship for Cross-disciplinary Training (Sept 2019 - 2020)
  • Arts Council England International Development Fund Grant, ‘The Viscous Shape’, (Awarded Feb 2016)
  • UCIRA Major Grant, ‘Malaise, a Trap for Atlantis’, University California Institute for Research in the Arts (Awarded May 2013)
  • Russell Foundation Grant, ‘Malaise, a Trap for Atlantis’,  (Awarded February 2013)
  • UCIRA Planning and Implementation grant ‘Slab City Generative Fieldwork’, University of California ( 2012)
  • UCSD International Fellowship, visual arts MFA (2011-2014)
  • Daryll Forde prize, UCL Anthropology Department (2010)