Between 21st and 23rd May we hosted a micro-residency for 10 artists to collaborate with the Off the Grid team at the University of Edinburgh and experiment with new ways of visualising ethnographic data. The goal was to develop new methods of visualisation for the social scientists and to present these, along with documentation of the collaborative process at a public ‘pop-exhibition’ at the end of the micro-residency.
Ethnograms was planned and organised in collaboration with ASCUS, an Edinburgh based start-up dedicated to facilitating collaborations between scientists and artists. As part of this collaboration Alice Street worked closely with two Edinburgh based artists, Miriam Walsh and Jennifer Littlejohn, over the course of three months to design two ‘project packs’, one relating to Jamie Cross’s energy related research in Papua New Guinea and one relating to Alice Street’s health related research in Papua New Guinea. Each pack was itself an experiment in ways of visualising and materialising ethnography. The packs served as resource packs for the artists attending the micro-residency, were a key component of the final exhibition.
The opening evening of the ethnograms event consisted of a ‘think tank’ exploring the concept of the ethnogram and its implications for anthropological and artistic practice. Following presentations from Alice Street, Jamie Cross and Tristan Partridge from Off the Grid, participants showcased their research, described their engagement with diagrams, mapping and infographics, and set out their vision for the ‘ethnogram’.
Two full days were spent at Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, where two teams of artists and illustrators engaged with ethnographic materials from Off the Grid research, and worked closely with Alice Street and Jamie Cross to develop them into visual art pieces.