HOW WE WORK

The CIE hopes...

To inspire possibilities that social, cultural, political and aesthetic theories and practices offer to transgress conventional boundaries between theory and method, and to think with in creating conditions of possibility for reimagining the past, present and future of the worlds we inhabit.

 

To challenge canons and conventions through interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and anti-disciplinary hospitality and experimentation that follows thinking, feeling, being and doing in the world in myriad known and unknown ways, cultivating a love of storytelling and listening, attentive to the twists and turns in the social and political lives of sentient beings.

To generate ethical/political projects that strive to be meaningful to those who participate in it them, whether individuals, received or constructed kinship constellations, self-defined temporary collectivities, intentional communities of practice, or more formally defined communities and organizations.

Our projects are engaged with everyday life, with bodies, memories, and social rituals, with singularities and collectivities entangled in histories, cultures, and politics. We want to learn how to listen respectfully to the lives of others; to pay close attention to bodies, voice and sensations; to invite imagination to flourish, and humour to inspire us as we celebrate the ties that bind, and critique the lines that divide. The common ground we share is a critical passion for creative ethnography.

 

We chose the words imaginative and ethnography to name our Centre to signal our commitment to shifting away from conventions of privileging the products of our research and towards considering as inseparable those processes and practices that shape scholarly and artistic co-creation and through which our work emerges and circulates.

As we use it, the term “imaginative” acknowledges imagination and creativity as practices central and significant to all human social life, including our relations with non-humans, and with lands, seas, and atmosphere. Taking “imagination” seriously is necessarily accompanied by a commitment to open-ended inquiry that can embrace risks, challenges to orthodoxy, and anticipations of unintended outcomes.

“Ethnography,” in our usage, refers to a theoretically-infused methodology: embodied, affective processes of co-creation and circulation that are generated through multiple entanglements always interwoven in relationships shaped by history, culture, and political power. We experiment with ways to elaborate and enrich, and challenge and subvert conventional ethnographic methods employed by anthropologists and artists such as participant observation, interviews, documentation, and archival research.

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