This roundtable workshop, sponsored by the Museum Ethnographers Group with the support of Arts Council England, brings together anthropologists and museum practitioners to discuss museums as a major interface between anthropology and the world. The audience will be invited to debate the changing relationship between museums and anthropology and the role of anthropology in museums today.
Workshop convened by Claire Wintle, Chris Wingfield and Claire Warrior on behalf of the Museum Ethnographers Group Famously described as 'the institutional homeland of anthropology', the museum has been seen as a key site for anthropology, and a major interface between anthropology and the world. But the relationship between anthropology and museums is rich and complex, both historically and today. The discipline emerged and flourished amid the West's storehouses of material culture, nourished by Bastian, Tylor, Haddon and others who considered collections of material culture to be fundamental to the fledgling subject. Despite a twentieth-century shift in anthropology away from the museum and into the field, today the two are again closely entwined, and the museum is itself now the focus of anthropologists as a key area of study. This workshop will bring together a number of eminent anthropologists and museum practitioners to discuss this changing relationship and the role of anthropology in museum practice today. Following short presentations from each of the panel, the audience will be invited to debate key issues such as: the importance of the museum in disseminating anthropological research; how practices of display and collecting shift in relation to approaches in anthropology; how anthropology has been moulded through its contact with other disciplines in the museum; the relationship between reflexive anthropology and museology, and the potential futures of these complex liaisons.