Atelier: NMS

Project Details


Atelier | Making Research Material Across the Arts and Social Sciences
In recent years, there has been a growing concern with materiality as a field of enquiry across the arts, humanities and social sciences. Not to be confused with the field of ‘material culture studies’, or with ‘historical materialism’, emerging research calls into question the binarism and anthropocentrism of critical theory and the cultural turn. The ‘new materialisms’, in their different ways, speculate on how things are material, singular and/or entangled. They have radically redefined post-human politics, agency, corporeality, criticality, representation, and time. In response to these concerns, a group of colleagues from the University of Edinburgh’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences established the Visual & Material Research Group, a network of arts and social sciences scholars and staff from museums and art galleries in Scotland.

Our meetings have foregrounded a number of ways in which disciplines within CHSS and our non-HEI partners each have their own protocols and methods for making material available for study in the form of objects. Yet, as we make radically distinct objects from the same material, what remains to be formulated within this multidisciplinary field are the concepts, equipment, and techniques that would generate the truly collaborative ability to fabricate common research objects.

How will the work be carried out?
Visual & Material Research Group recently formalised their research processes, academic and non-academic partnerships in the form of a network project entitled Atelier: Making Research Material Across the Arts and Social Sciences. The aim of the network is to develop models of making and enquiry that can bring together often separate visual and material research practices within the social sciences and humanities through the creation of an ‘Atelier’. Our Atelier is a commons that allows us to make shared research ‘objects’ through collaborative research practices.

A series of charrettes - participatory workshops involving interested colleagues across UoE and partners in the museum and gallery sector – will, in turn, focus on a particular object that will facilitate and contrast different methods of material enquiry. By engaging with ’things’ in the custody/field of our non-academic partners the charrettes will enable us to map and improve conditions for cross-disciplinary collaboration, shifting the emphasis away from doing research towards the creation of research objects.

Layman's description

We will invite three key academics working in the field of material studies to facilitate a three-day workshop at Edinburgh College of Art and the National Museums of Scotland. Up to 24 key stakeholders working in the field of material culture studies from around Scotland can apply join the charrette as Scottish Graduate Schools consortia participants.
On the afternoon of the first day of Atelier, three key academics working will present papers designed to elucidate new materialist approaches working with objects. On the second day all 30 participants will work in three groups of 10. Each group will spend one day identifying and working with a single artefact in the custodianship of the NMS. On afternoon of the third day, the groups will reassemble and present their work to the whole group.
The process of this Atelier will form the basis of a regular charrette series organised by the University of Edinburgh Visual & Material Research Group in collaboration with the NMS.
Effective start/end date5/01/1511/04/16


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