Over the past two years I have convened laboratories as part of FAN (Future Anthropologies Network) at the bi-annual meetings of EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists) in Milan 2016 and Stockholm 2018. I have invited anthropologists attending the conference to conduct tentative research with local participants as they create their own superhero personas to reflect on urban change in their environment participating in the SuperMilanese, SuperSwede and the (forthcoming) SuperManc workshops.

A Swedish participant was so annoyed by the unempathetic street attitudes of Stockholm, that she created a superwoman with dancing legs to avoid people walking into her and a comfort cloud that would keep her feel safe.

The attending anthropologists conduct interviews with the participants that reflect on issues in relation to their urban environment. The participants create their own superhero alter egos by painting murals on the basis of the interviews and by enacting them. E.g. one woman in Milan transformed herself into a super version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin that would bring her fellow citizens out into the streets from their TV sets to reinvigorate the dying city atmosphere of Milan. The murals and performances function as sounding boards for the anthropologists as they ask the participants to reflect on them in order to inspire and develop the ethnographic fieldwork research. The workshops were created as part of laboratories on worldmaking and activism in relation to anthropology, that I convened with fellow FAN members Andrew Irving, Magda Kazubowski-Houston, Sarah Pink, Juan Salazar and facilitator Alexandra D’Onofrio. The workshops were video recorded and will be edited for an ethnographic film.


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