Witnessing Craft: employing video ethnography to attend to the more-than-human craft practices of taxidermy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Abstract

A video-ethnographic study of a practicing taxidermist opens up new spaces of enquiry into the more-than-human geographies of craft and craftwork. In an attempt to witness the non-representational and more-than-human aspects of taxidermy craftwork I undertook a video ethnography of taxidermist Peter Summers based at the National Museum Scotland (NMS). Using a discreet HD video camera I filmed Peter performing various aspects of the craft during a number of workshop visits that took place over a three-year period. The resulting archive of video footage offers a ‘portfolio of ethnographic exposures’ (Dewsbury 2009: 326), enabling enquiry into the craft techniques it takes to separate a skin from a body and rearrange it in life-like form again. In this chapter I aim to elaborate on, and present aspects of, this video-ethnography in order to emphasise its potential for witnessing and exposing the sensory, affective and more-than-human registers of taxidermy practice. Overall the chapter aims to highlight video-ethnography as an effective and affective tool for studying craft practices, emphasising the serious empirical involvements required of researchers when engaging with the practices, embodiments and materialities of craftwork.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVideo Methods
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Science Research in Motion
PublisherRoutledge
Pages71-94
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-83273-9
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-73401-1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameRoutledge Advances in Methods Series

Keywords

  • Craft
  • Embodiment
  • Video ethnography
  • Taxidermy
  • Skill
  • more-than-human geographies

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  • Cite this

    Patchett, M. M. (2015). Witnessing Craft: employing video ethnography to attend to the more-than-human craft practices of taxidermy. In Video Methods: Social Science Research in Motion (pp. 71-94). (Routledge Advances in Methods Series). Routledge.