The Anthropologist as Sparring Partner
Instigative Public Fieldwork, Curatorial Collaboration, and German Colonial Heritage
Schlagworte:anthropology, art, curating, colonial heritage, museums, ethnography, Berlin
Anthropological fieldwork is a collaborative practice, based and reliant on interactions and relations of trust and exchange. Yet, it is limited and enabled by the openings and closings, the stability and instability of relations between interlocutors, fieldworkers, and the many things that matter in between and around these relations. This article reflects on a series of public conversations called gallery reflections, which were instigated as a collaborative ethnographic practice with and within the gallery of the institute of foreign cultural relations (ifa) in Berlin-Mitte. The series addressed the legacies of German colonial heritage and the public role of anthropology against the backdrop of the construction of the Humboldt Forum and museum transformations. Investigating the notion of the anthropologist as sparring partner, this article probes into possible ways of conceiving curatorial-ethnographic collaborations as ‘instigative public fieldwork’.