Performative Ethnographies

What does it mean? Well, I hope to find out – by doing. With many thanks for the kind support from The Harbutt Fund, a fully funded #ethnohydro walkshop will bring artists, ecologists and others together for a days perambulation on the Somerset Levels.  My idea is a simple one – strolling the Marshes, getting to know each other. My loose strategy is to openly but subtly record our conversations, and to ask participants to (occasionally) talk with each other around various terms and topics. Not only will I learn a lot from these conversations, but I hope to develop some sound work out of it, sonic rhynes, if you will.

It seems that the term ‘performative ethnography’ has been around for about 10 years at least, and to quote from The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology can be understood thus: Performance ethnography takes as its working premise that a theatrical representation of what one discovers through participant-observation fieldwork provides a vibrant and textured rendering of cultural others. Performance for the performance ethnographer is typically understood as an aesthetic act within a theatrical tradition. In western cultures this artistic endeavour calls upon actors through their use of presentational skills to evoke others for the consideration of audiences.

This #ethnohydro walkshop is a micro-research activity intended to harvest material for a future work, provisionally entitled Sonic Rhynes.

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