The Society of Cultural Anthropology is pleased to introduce the inaugural Digital Curatorial Collective (DCC). The DCC is comprised of an international team of anthropologists working at the cutting edge of multimodal ethnography. Over the next three years, the DCC will develop a “concept studio” to emphasize the work that the multimodal advances in the discipline.
As a collaborative and conceptual space, the studio will draw together multimodal initiatives across institutions, practices and ethnographic arts as a nexus for a world of anthropologies. The concept studio is thus a meeting and mediating point between an anthropology concerned with production as a model and one that experiments with the sensorial complexities of the more-than-human world. Accessibility provides a model for reflexive, problem-based work that does not prescribe form or content.
The DCC will focus on:
- advancing a publishing model that integrates multimodal research more fully into the activities of the SCA
- using online platforms and the SCA website to support the ongoing experimental research of workshops/labs/studios working across multimodal initiatives
- staging encounters of mutual learning with artists, academics, librarians, activists, curators, and designers, especially those with (para)ethnographic practices.
The members of the collective are (alphabetically): Joella Bitter, Tomás Criado, Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan, Megan Gette, Andrew Gilbert, Marina Peterson, Jesse Weaver Shipley, and Leniqueca Welcome. You can read more about their work below.
Joella Bitter is Teaching Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research and teaching specialize in the anthropology of sound/music, embodiment, environment, technology, and city-making. Over the past decade, she has collaboratively curated multimodal conversations through exhibit-based anthropology conferences and workshops at various institutions and arts venues. She published the digital sonic ethnography, Gulu SoundTracks, together with music producer colleagues in Uganda, and has contributed to SCA’s Visual and New Media Review. This multimodal work inspired a recent piece for Anthropology News, “Ten Ways to Listen.” Joella’s research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the American Council for Learned Societies, and Duke University. You can learn more at joellabitter.com.
Tomás Criado is an anthropologist, soon to become a Ramón y Cajal Professor in Barcelona. He works on technoscientific activisms and the democratization of city-making, particularly on how bodily diversity comes to matter in urban knowledges and care infrastructures. As part of this work he has been invested in experimenting with platforms of multimodal ethnography and collaborative pedagogy, such as: the Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology; xcol, an ethnographic inventory; and the EASA's Collaboratory for Ethnographic Experimentation. For more information: www.tscriado.org.
Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at New York University (NYU) and an editor of the Multimodal Section of American Anthropologist. For the last decade, Gabriel has developed collaborative, multimodal, and speculative approaches to research how media consumption, production, and circulation shape understandings of gender, race, and urban space in contemporary India. A practicing filmmaker, he has screened his films in various festivals including the Tasveer International Film Festival, Ethnografilm Paris, Mustard Seed Film Festival, The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), and the German International Ethnographic Film Festival. Dattatreyan is the author of two books, The Globally Familiar (Duke University Press, 2020), and, with Sahana Udupa, Digital Unsettling (NYU Press, 2023). His writings have appeared in American Anthropologist, Cultural Anthropology, WideScreen, Television & New Media, and Visual Anthropology Review.
Megan Gette is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at University of Texas Austin, where her dissertation uses sensory ethnographic approaches to the atmospherics of the Permian Basin. She is a member of UT’s Bureau for Experimental Ethnography, and the ethnographic sound collective OS, which engages ethnographic questions with field recording, composition and forms of listening. She was a contributing/section editor of the Visual and New Media Review section of SCA’s Fieldsights for four years. Along with Andrés Romero, she created the con-text-ure series for multimodal scholarship. She also holds an MFA in Poetry, which informs an approach to ethnographic writing.
Andrew Gilbert is an anthropologist and will soon be a professor at the Institute for European Ethnology at Humboldt University in Berlin. With colleagues at the University of Toronto he is part of an initiative exploring the research possibilities of a network of five ethnography labs, and is also part of a new project sited at the Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology (HU Berlin) aimed at exploring ways to legitimize multimodal research in academic gatekeeping institutions. His most recent project is a collaborative graphic ethnography, provisionally entitled Reclaiming Dita (reclaimingdita.com). To learn more, visit https://www.andrewgilbert.com/.
Marina Peterson is Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin. Her work engages sound and urbanism, with earlier work on musical performance and more recent work on im/materialities of airport noise, through a study of mobilizations around noise at LAX with an emphasis on its atmospheric qualities and proliferations. Along with Craig Campbell and Casey Boyle, she co-directs the Bureau for Experimental Ethnography, which has organized a range of events and activities related to poetry, sound, films and images, book making, and more. Her multimodal work includes a special issue of Sensate Journal, a sound essay in VNMR, and electromagnetic and wind noise recordings. She also co-edited, with Gretchen Bakke, Anthropology of the Arts: A Reader and Between Matter and Method: Encounters in Anthropology and Art.
Jesse Weaver Shipley is the John D. Willard Professor of African and African American Studies and Oratory at Dartmouth College. He is an artist, filmmaker, curator, and ethnographer who explores the links between aesthetics and power. His work explores a variety of phenomena, including analogue and digital technology, popular culture, music, theatre, urban design, labor, race, gender and mobility, and his work examines both spectacular multi-media performance events and the mundane aspects of experience. His films and multi-media work experiment with storytelling and portraiture and have been shown across Europe, Africa, and the United States, including, Is It Sweet? Tales of an African Superstar in New York; Portrait of an Artist(S); Black Star; High Tea; Anatomy of a Revolution; and Burnt Images. He is the author of numerous articles and two books, Living the Hiplife: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music and Trickster Theatre: The Poetics of Freedom in Urban Africa.
Leniqueca Welcome is a multimodal anthropologist and trained designer. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at The George Washington University. Her research and teaching interests are postcolonial statecraft, racialization, gendering, securitization, visuality, and affect. Her work combines more traditional ethnographic methods with photography and collaging.