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The Pursuit of Excellence: The Hacked Barbie

Images of Barbie dolls that have been manipulated and changed.

Source: FManfredi

PAR network member Federica Manfredi shares The Hacked Barbie.

This post is based on the project ‘EXCEL – The Pursuit of Excellence. Biotechnologies, enhancement and body capital in Portugal’, founded by the Foundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (PTDC/SOC-ANT/30572/2017) at the Instituto de Ciências Sociais – Universidade de Lisboa with the PI Chiara Pussetti.

“La Barbie hackerata” [The Hacked Barbie] is a workshop series and a dissemination activity from the project “Excel – The Pursuit of Excellence” (www.excelproject.eu) that investigates non-therapeutic and long terms body interventions aiming to enhance the social performativity in the Portuguese society.

Research shows that cosmetic and body practices are connected with pressures and logics of excellences following hegemonic and post-colonial models of beauty, based on discriminations of gender, age, sexual orientation, the color of the skin or the shape of the eyes.

The Hacked Barbie has been organized for the first time at the World Anthropology Day 2021 as methodological experiment to interrogate participants about body’s perceptions, its modifications and body-performances in daily life. The goal was to stimulate an anthropological gaze on daily practices directed to bodies, inviting participants to re-created their corporeality on a doll in a guided-process: which body-interventions can make the Barbie, a symbol of gendered perfection, more similar to me? In other words, how do I manipulate and construct my self through my body? What models and social pressures guide my choices, mould the relationship with my body and intervene in my bodily social performance?

From the first workshop, other 5 editions collected over 63 voices of participants from Italy, Portugal, Germany, United Kingdom and Brazil, during online and in-person meetings. We discussed cosmetic surgery, tattoos, anti-aging treatments, epilation, clothing choices and diet regimes under the entanglement of social excellence and personal well-being. Working sessions revealed gendered, aged, political, cultural and hide meanings related to body interventions, as well as fragilities and emotional negotiations with perceived social pressures on how to properly perform through the body.

Recent Covid-experiences crossed childhood episodes in participants’ narrations: through our works on the metaphorical plastic-flesh, the dialogue focused on disparities for the access of body treatments, gender discriminations and the pressures we experienced as teenagers, women, workers and members of a society supposed to pursuit idealistic colonial and hierarchical models of beauty, perfection and excellence.

For more information check out the following links:

The Pursuit of Excellence
Excel YouTube channel
Excel Facebook page

 

 

Federica Manfredi is a doctoral researcher in Medical Anthropology at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon. She explores contemporary extreme body interventions, especially body suspensions, with co-participated and experimental methodologies that allow to go beyond a logo-centric logic of communication. She is interested in pain, biohacking, tattoos and altered state of consciousness, explored through practice-based qualitative methodologies.

 

 

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In conversation 7: Dr Hakan Ergül

The “In conversation” series aims to demonstrate the wealth, breadth and depth of what constitutes Practice As Research.

In this episode, Dr Nicole Brown talks to Dr Hakan Ergül.

Dr Hakan Ergül is a Lecturer in Media Studies in the UCL Knowledge Lab of the Department of Culture, Communication & Media at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. Hakan received his PhD in 2006 from the Graduate School of International Cultural Studies, Tohoku University, Japan, with my 5-years ethnographic inquiry on Japanese television production.

Hakan’s short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals, and he is the author of Dedicated to Chrysanthemum (in TR: Krizanteme Adanmis, 2003) and Where Do the Noises Come From? (TR: Sesler Nereden Geliyor? 2009), anthology of short stories. His most recent books include Popularizing Japanese TV (author, Routledge 2019) and Universities in the Neoliberal Era (co-editor, Palgrave 2017).

Hakan’s current research examines the role of traditional and digital communication technologies in everyday life of vulnerable groups, including children, refugees, and urban poor from ethnographic perspective.

 

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Video hosted on the PAR YouTube channel.
Audio hosted on the PAR Buzzsprout channel and can be listened to on Spotify, Apple podcasts or on other RSS podcast apps.

The Practice As Research network with its resources is free and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and to keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it and would like to keep it going, please, consider leaving something in the tip jar. Thank you!

In conversation 6: Dr Helen Ross

The “In conversation” series aims to demonstrate the wealth, breadth and depth of what constitutes Practice As Research.

In this episode, Dr Nicole Brown talks to Dr Helen Ross.

Dr Helen Ross is a fully qualified Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and alongside providing support to other professionals and undertaking research, she currently works part time as a SEN teacher in a mainstream school. Helen is also Chair of the Wiltshire Dyslexia Association, where she supports the running of events, provides expert advice on pedagogy and contributes to the Association social media networks. She has recently become a Trustee of the British Dyslexia Association.

For more information about her work and her achievements, check out her web site.

 

Subscribe to the recordings:
Video hosted on the PAR YouTube channel.
Audio hosted on the PAR Buzzsprout channel and can be listened to on Spotify, Apple podcasts or on other RSS podcast apps.

The Practice As Research network with its resources is free and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and to keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it and would like to keep it going, please, consider leaving something in the tip jar. Thank you!

Ageism and the mature professional dancer

Image of a dancer wearing red pointe shoes in red dust. Photograph taken whilst filming in the outback of SW Queensland.

Source: SYork-Price

In her “Ageism and the mature professional dancer” research PAR network member Dr Sonia York-Pryce, a mature professional dancer herself, investigated the role of professional dancers who extend beyond the industry expectations of acceptable age and analysed the contribution that they are making to current dialogues relating to ageism within Western dance culture. Sonia collaborated with mature professional dancers to produce dance films celebrating their craft and gathered data through a survey and interviews with practitioners working in the field, nationally and internationally.

Sonia says: “Putting an ageing woman’s body on film is a challenging thing to do, considered a negative thing by some, but there is a lack of this in the media, dance, or film so there is a need to make this more mainstream and acceptable. It has prompted many interesting conversations. Much of my practice as research goes on in the ballet studio where I experience ageing physically on a daily basis which gives me great insight into how many of the mature dancers in my research have adapted their practice to accommodate their ageing bodies in order to keep performing.”

For more details about here work, check out her web site.
And here are links to Sonia’s dance films:
Interprète/Inappropriate Behaviour
Utterly (in)appropriate
āj

Dr Sonia York-Pryce studied classical ballet at Elmhurst Ballet School, UK and the Royal Ballet School UK, and contemporary dance at the London School of Contemporary Dance and the Laban Centre, in London, UK. She has enjoyed artist residencies with Red Gate Gallery, Beijing China, photographing Beijing LDTX Contemporary Dance Company; and an interdisciplinary residency with Hospitalfield House, Arbroath Scotland. She has also photographed London Studio Centre’s Images Ballet Company.

 

The Practice As Research network with its resources is free and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and to keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it and would like to keep it going, please, consider leaving something in the tip jar. Thank you!

In conversation 5: Dr Margaret E. Collins

The “In conversation” series aims to demonstrate the wealth, breadth and depth of what constitutes Practice As Research.

In this episode, Dr Nicole Brown talks to Dr Margaret Collins.

Margaret E. Collins is an award winning composer whose recent focus has been the integration of non-western instruments into ensembles with western orchestral instruments. Meg earned a PhD in Music composition form Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, for her dissertation “Melting the Boundaries: The integration of ethnic instruments into western art music.” She composed eight works featuring seven different ethnic instruments: the Chinese xiao, the Native American flute, the Persian tar, the Persian santoor, the Irish uilleann pipes, and Irish tin whistles. Her song for treble chorus, flute and piano, “maggie and milly and molly and may,” was awarded First Prize in the Berkshire Children’s Chorus Composition Competition.
For more information about her work and achievements, check out her web site.

 

Subscribe to the recordings:
Video hosted on the PAR YouTube channel.
Audio hosted on the PAR Buzzsprout channel and can be listened to on Spotify, Apple podcasts or on other RSS podcast apps.

The Practice As Research network with its resources is free and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and to keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it and would like to keep it going, please, consider leaving something in the tip jar. Thank you!

Poetry As Research on SAGEMethodspace

 

Venn diagram outlining practice, teaching and research as three distinct areas and the section that overlaps in the middle is called Practice as Research

Source: NBrown

The founders of the Poetry As Research group Áine McAllister and Nicole Brown were invited to contribute to the SAGEMethodspace website. The SAGEMethodspace currently focuses on practitioner research and creative research practices. Áine and Nicole were asked to offer a brief introduction to Practice As Research and to Poetic Inquiry, as well as to highlight the community of poetic practitioners that we have established.

Here is our core argument:

There are now many terms in use to describe the research-practice nexus. […] In sum, practice as research is research that is carried out as part of practice or that is practice. […] Poetry writing has established itself as one such method of analysis and as a viable research output in itself, although it is still struggling free from the margins.

Click here to see the full blog post on SAGEMethodspace.

 

The Practice As Research network with its resources is free and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and to keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it and would like to keep it going, please, consider leaving something in the tip jar. Thank you!

Poetry As Research readings

Pile of printed journal articles for reading

Source: NBrown

The Poetry As Research group is a reading and discussion group offering an opportunity to learn about, review and critique poetic pieces emerging from autoethnographic or ethnographic research, poetic inquiry and other Poetry As Research work.

Here is a list of readings that have been discussed and that may be helpful for anyone interested in Poetry As Research:

Maynard, K., & Cahnmann‐Taylor, M. (2010). Anthropology at the edge of words: Where poetry and ethnography meetAnthropology and Humanism35(1), 2-19.

Davis, C. (2021). Sampling poetry, pedagogy, and protest to build methodology: Critical poetic inquiry as culturally relevant methodQualitative Inquiry27(1), 114-124.

Carroll, P., Dew, K., & Howden-Chapman, P. (2011). The heart of the matter: Using poetry as a method of ethnographic inquiry to represent and present experiences of the informally housed in Aotearoa/New ZealandQualitative Inquiry17(7), 623-630.

Görlich, A. (2016). Poetic inquiry: Understanding youth on the margins of educationInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education29(4), 520-535.

 

Click here for more information on Poetic Inquiry and Poetry As Research on the PAR website.

The Practice As Research network with its resources is free and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and to keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it and would like to keep it going, please, consider leaving something in the tip jar. Thank you!

Play in the Pandemic

Source: Play in the Pandemic

PAR network members Prof John Potter and Dr Michelle Cannon share from their play in the pandemic research. The exhibition of work from the Play Observatory project, produced online with the Young V&A (formerly the Museum of Childhood) and designed by Episod Studios is now open: http://playinthepandemic.play-observatory.com

It is best viewed on a laptop or desktop and not on a mobile device.

Launched in March 2022, Play in the Pandemic is an online exhibition drawing on the work of the Play Observatory. The exhibition showcases children’s artworks, games and films from across the UK that were contributed as part of the Play Observatory project. It celebrates how children have demonstrated resilience, resourcefulness, and creativity through play, supporting and reflecting their wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-22.

The Play Observatory was funded from October 2020 to March 2022 by the Economic and Social Research Council under the UK Research and Innovation `COVID-19 Rapid Response` fund. The work was undertaken by researchers from IOE, UCL’s Faculty For Education and Society, Prof John Potter, Dr Kate Cowan and Dr Michelle Cannon, The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Dr Valerio Signorelli, and, the School of Education at the University of Sheffield, Dr Yinka Olusoga, Dr Julia Bishop and Dr Cath Bannister.

For more information, visit the Play Observatory 

The Practice As Research network with its resources is free and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and to keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it and would like to keep it going, please, consider leaving something in the tip jar. Thank you!

In conversation 4: Cymbeline Buhler

The “In conversation” series aims to demonstrate the wealth, breadth and depth of what constitutes Practice As Research.

In this episode, Dr Nicole Brown talks to Cymbeline Buhler.

Two adult person wearing coats, twirling.

Source: CBuhler

Cymbeline Buhler has been a theatre artist for over twenty years. She has held Artistic Director positions at Western Edge Youth Arts in Melbourne and Backbone Youth Arts companies in Brisbane. She has developed over twenty original theatre productions that have shown in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Cymbeline is currently undertaking doctoral research investigating her arts practice within ‘Theatre of Friendship, Sri Lanka’, an ongoing peace-building arts network she founded in 2012. Her work has been located in spaces such youth engagement, disability arts, cross-cultural theatre and cross-generational communication.

Download more images from Cymbeline’s past projects here.

Subscribe to the recordings:
Video hosted on the PAR YouTube channel.
Audio hosted on the PAR Buzzsprout channel and can be listened to on Spotify, Apple podcasts or on other RSS podcast apps.

The Practice As Research network with its resources is free and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and to keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it and would like to keep it going, please, consider leaving something in the tip jar. Thank you!

In conversation 3: Prof Haidy Geismar

Cover of Prof Geismar's book "Impermanence"

Source: UCL Press

The “In conversation” series aims to demonstrate the wealth, breadth and depth of what constitutes Practice As Research.

In this episode, Dr Nicole Brown talks to Prof Haidy Geismar.

Prof Haidy Geismar is a social anthropologist with research interests in intellectual and cultural property, indigenous rights and colonial histories and legacies, new forms of cultural representation, the affects and effect of digitisation, the anthropology of art, critical museology and the South Pacific (especially Vanuatu and New Zealand).Current research projects include Finding Photography – a collaboration with collections care researchers to explore the social networks and materials underpinning contemporary digital art photography, and Collecting in Context – a project exploring the applicability of new digital collecting platforms in diverse cultural settings. Prof Geismar is committed to museum practice, with long-term affiliations to a number of different museums, including the Tate and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and she has curated a number of exhibitions, including Port Vila Mi Lavem Yu (Port Vila, I love you) in Honolulu, Hawaii, in May 2011, and part of which then travelled to the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Prof Geismar’s work is available on the website https://www.haidygeismar.com/index.html and her two books Impermanence: Exploring continuous change across cultures and Museum object lessons for the digital age are free to download from the UCL Press website. 

Subscribe to the recordings:
Video hosted on the PAR YouTube channel.
Audio hosted on the PAR Buzzsprout channel and can be listened to on Spotify, Apple podcasts or on other RSS podcast apps.

The Practice As Research network with its resources is free and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and to keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it and would like to keep it going, please, consider leaving something in the tip jar. Thank you!