Factish Field: An Art and Anthropology Summer School

New Observations Factish Field: An Art and Anthropology Summer School

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(NB:This is an external event, bookings and further information can be found through the website given below)

10th - 14th June 2013

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  • Image Credit : Bete & Deise, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, 2012




Collective and LUX have collaborated to develop a week long Summer School, to coincide with the film festival, which considers the current discourses around art and anthropology.
Consisting of a series of in conversation events, talks and discussions, workshop sessions, artists' presentations and  film screenings, the Summer School is a unique opportunity to be part of a small, dynamic group with unparalleled access to leading artists and thinkers in these fields.

Factish Field takes as its starting point the French anthropologist Bruno Latour’s concept of the ‘factish’, a combination of fact and fetish as a way of thinking about the relationship between facts and beliefs. Latour argues that there are no facts separable from their fabrication and suggests that fetishes, objects invested with mythical powers, are fabricated, and that "facts" are not. 

Throughout the week, both artists and anthropologists will be paired for a series of in conversation events, and will develop workshops in which the group will consider some of the‘big’ questions surrounding both anthropological and art practices, where they intersect and diverge, and the potentially creative, generative serendipities that might be found in the margins that exist between the two disciplines. Topics include:

  • Context – where does it play out? In the field, studio, gallery, academia?

  • Fieldwork – how can artists and anthropologists share research methodologies?

  • Making – where are the links between theory and practice?

  • Public – who is the audience? And how is it distributed?
Ethics – who makes the rules and how are they imposed or regulated? Is it important that they are?

Factish Field is supported by Creative Scotland

. For further details and booking information visit their website.


Sven Augustijnen studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, the Hoger Sint-Lukas Instituut in Brussels, and at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. His work concentrates mainly on the tradition of portraiture and the porous boundaries between fiction and reality, using a hybrid of genres and techniques to disorienting effect. His films have been included in exhibitions and festivals in Athens, Basel, Fribourg, San Sebastián, Siegen, Rotterdam, Tunis, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Vilnius, among others. In 2007 he participated in the documenta 12 magazine project, in collaboration with A Prior Magazine. In 2011 he received the Evens Prize for Visual Arts. He lives and works in Brussels.

Mark Boulos currently lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland and Amsterdam, Netherlands. Boulos received his BA in Philosophy from Swarthmore College and Deep Springs College, USA, his MA from the National Film and Television School, London. Solo exhibitions include: AR/GE Kunst Galerie Museum, Bolzano (2010), and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008). Group shows include: the CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco (2012), Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2011), New Frontier at Sundance Film Festival (2011) and the Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2010). Boulos’ work has also been exhibited at the 6th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2010), the 2nd Biennale of Thessaloniki (2009), the Biennale of Sydney (2008), the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, the Bloomberg Space, Hayward Gallery, the Barbican Gallery, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, London. He has received awards from the Netherlands Film Fonds, the Fonds BKVB, Film London, the British Documentary Film Foundation, and Arts Council England.

Andrea Büttner studied art, art history and philosophy. In 2010, she completed a PhD on shame and art at the Royal College of Art, London and was awarded the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Recent solo exhibitions include Andrea Büttner, Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes (2013); Andrea Büttner, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (2013); Andrea Büttner, International Project Space, Birmingham (2012); Moos/Moss, Hollybush Gardens, London (2012); The Poverty of Riches, Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy and Whitechapel Gallery, London (both 2011); and Three New Works, Artpace, San Antonio, Texas (2011). She participated in Documenta 13 (2012) and the Bienal de São Paulo (2010). She teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts, Mainz and lives and works in London and Frankfurt am Main.

Duncan Campbell lives and works in Glasgow and produces films that look at representations of the people and events at the heart of very particular histories. Combining archive material with his own footage, his work questions the authority, integrity and intentions of the information presented. Recent solo exhibitions include the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2012), Belfast Exposed (2011); Artist’s Space, New York (2010); Tramway, Glasgow (2010); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2009); Ludlow 38, New York (2009); Kunstverein Munich (2009); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2009); MUMOK, Vienna (2009); Tate Britain, London (2009); Baltic, Gateshead (2008); ICA, London (2008); and Art Statements, Art Basel 38 (2008), where he was awarded the Baloise Art Prize. Group exhibitions include Manifesta 9, Genk, Limburg, Belgium (2012), ‘British Art Show 7’ (2010); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2010); ‘Fight the Power’, Museo Nacional Centro de Reina Sofia, Madrid (2009). Campbell will represent Scotland in the 55th Venice Biennial.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh is an artist based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She received her art education at Goldmiths' College, London during the eighties and lives in the Netherlands again since 2004. Her practice explores social relations through an investigation of gesture in the public sphere. Van Oldenborgh often uses the format of a public film shoot, collaborating with participants in different scenarios, to co-produce a script and orientate the work towards its final outcome, which can be film, or other forms of projection. The double screen installation La Javanaise (2012) was shown at the Berlinale Forum Expanded 2013, Bete & Deise (2012) premiered in the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Supposing I love you. And you also love me (2011) was first shown in the Danish Pavilion of the Venice Biennial 2011, Pertinho de Alphaville (2010) at the 29th São Paulo Biennial 2010. Van Oldenborgh has also participated in the 4rth Moscow Biennial 2011, the 11th Istanbul Biennial 2009, at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Images festival Toronto 2010 where she received the Marian McMahon Award. She has exhibited widely, including at the Generali Foundation, Vienna, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Sztuki Lodz, Van Abbemusem Eindhoven, Muhka Antwerp. She was awarded the Hendrik Chabot Prize 2011 from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, the Netherlands. Wendelien van Oldenborgh is represented by Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam.


Dr Richard Baxstrom is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Houses in Motion: The Experience of Place and the Problem of Belief in Urban Malaysia(Stanford University Press, 2008), the co-author of Evidence of Forces Unseen: Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan (Fordham University Press, forthcoming 2014), and the co-editor of anthropologies (Creative Capitalism, 2008). He has also published work on urban anthropology, cinema, and art in such publications as Crossroads, Focaal, Republics of Letters, Parachute: review d'art contemporain, esse: arts + opinions, and Rue Descartes, and is currently completing his latest book entitled Film and Anthropology for the new Routledge series Critical Topics in Modern Anthropology.

Dr Rupert Cox is a Visual Anthropologist at the University of Manchester.  His doctoral research focused on issues of vision and visuality in the representation and practice of the Zen arts in Japan, and has developed into a diversity of research projects and publications on 16th century folding screens, 19th century automata and modern aircraft - linked by interests in the relationships between technology and the senses and in media practice as a means of conducting sensory anthropology. He has also recently conducted research with an artist and academic at University of the Arts, which combined different media in conjunction with an art installation to produce outcomes that are intellectually meaningful, artistically exciting and have a social impact. It is a project driven by the experience of working on an installation with the sound artist and anthropologist Steven Feld which resulted in an exhibition at the Whitworth art gallery (2007) that coincided with a major conference (Beyond Text) at Manchester University.

Professor Tim Ingold is Chair of the Social Anthropology department at the University of Aberdeen.  His distinguished career began in the 1970s with ethnographic fieldwork among the Skolt Saami of northeastern Finland, which examined the ecological adaptation, social organisation and ethnic politics of this small minority community under conditions of post-war resettlement. His current research explores three main themes, all arising from his earlier work on the perception of the environment, concerning first, the dynamics of pedestrian movement, secondly, the creativity of practice, and thirdly, the linearity of writing. Starting from the premise that what walking, observing and writing all have in common is that they proceed along lines of one kind and another, the project seeks to forge a new approach to understanding the relation, in human social life and experience, between movement, knowledge and description. At the same time, he is exploring connections between anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture (the '4 As'), conceived as ways of exploring the relations between human beings and the environments they inhabit.

Dr Amanda Ravetz is a visual anthropologist with expertise in the theories and practices of observational cinema; and the interdisciplinary connections between anthropology and art. She trained as a painter at the Central School of Art and Design, London and later completed a doctorate in Social Anthropology with Visual Media at the University of Manchester. She has edited and written for widely cited texts on Visual Anthropology and its relationship to art, including the widely cited 2005 volume Visualising Anthropology, with Anna Grimshaw.  Her current research projects concern artistic epistemologies; improvisation, play and reverie in art and anthropology; and collaborations through craft.

Dr. Angela McClanahan (summer School Leader) was initially trained in the ‘four field’ approach to anthropology in the US, which holds that cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology and linguistics together form a holistic approach to studying culture and cultural change.  der)She subsequently gained a PhD in Archaeology from Manchester University, and lectures in Visual Culture in the School of Art at Edinburgh Collge of Art. Her primary research interests include examining how people engage with and construct meaning from the material world, and she is currently examining ‘contemporary’ ruins and processes of ruination, as well as the ethical and sensual dimensions of ethnographic research and art practice.


Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival will be held from Thursday 13 June to Sunday 16 June 2013 in Edinburgh, hosted by National Museums Scotland and the STAR consortium. Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) is a collaboration between the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Over 60 new films will be screened alongside a conference 'New Observations' and a selection of special events and workshop about art & anthropology and the use of archival film.

The RAI Film Festival is held in collaboration with the Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California.

Our Sponsors

The Festival gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from:

UDDA NMS SSGS ED Unversity of Aberdeen StAndrews WILEY