How materials matter - design, innovation and materiality in Melanesian society
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Until recently, most periods of technological development, such as the Iron Age, were linked to changes in use of materials. However, it has become increasingly evident that the driving force for materials innovation and design is information technology.   

In this talk, Professor Graeme Were, University of Bristol, examines materials innovation from a Melanesian perspective. He reveals how plant materials used in design projects are selected on the basis of their informational capacities and so are productive of thought and action. Their selection criteria – such as inbuilt capacity for decay, holding dye, permeability – is optimised for specific uses in the environment and the range of contexts to which they will be exposed. In doing so, Graeme offers an anthropological approach to making, whereby materials innovation is central to shaping new forms of sociality.   

Graeme’s work investigates issues relating to museums, material culture and heritage in the context of Vietnam and Papua New Guinea, with a particular focus on knowledge practices. 

As part of this talk you are also invited to participate in a live Q&A session with the speakers. 

This event is part of a new series of talks exploring cultural anthropology. By examining the commonalities of humans across the world, we can better understand the nature and extent of our diversity as a species, and ultimately discover more about ourselves. 

Date:  23 February 2021
Time: 19:00-20:30
Free to access online – Book your place.   

Once you have booked your place you will receive a link to access this live-streamed event online via Zoom Webinar, please join the call via the link provided 5 minutes before the event begins.   

If you have any queries or require any additional information about attending this online event please do not hesitate to contact The Arts Institute team.

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