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Workshop1 - Discussion - Geoffrey Lloyd

Geoffrey Lloyd (Needham Research Institute, Cambridge) - Response to the afternoon’s papers and discussion

Interestingly, Geoffrey Lloyd’s questions and comments posed in the response to the first  day of workshops’ presentations and debates corresponded directly to the themes of the upcoming Experimentality programme. Lloyd’s arguments can be classed in five separate but interrelated categories.

Workshop1 - Stephanie Koerner 'Rethinking Art and Science’s Histories – Implications for Cautious Promethean ‘Ways of Knowing’'

Stephanie Koerner (University of Manchester) opened her presentation by arguing that until quite recently very few historians are likely to been receptive to the suggestion that materials hitherto eclipsed by canonical accounts of art, science and modernity might have very direct bearing upon challenges posed by changes taking place in the dynamics of research and teaching institutions, and wider public affairs.

Workshop 1 - Stephen Pumfrey ‘On the emergence of modern experimentalism: the Renaissance and after'

 Stephen Pumfrey (History, Lancaster University) opened his paper by suggesting an exercise. He asked the participants to add one word to the phrase ‘An Experimental Christian…’. All the chosen words were nouns (music, art, ethics or other) and Pumfrey illustrated how the same phrase in early books of 1700 was itself treated as a noun, suggesting a different meaning and understanding of the term ‘experimental’. 

Workshop 1 - Homo Experimentalis - Discussion

Discussion following the first panel of the workshop (Homo experimentalis) was oriented around five main themes.

Workshop 1 - Christina Toren, 'Ethnography as ontological experiment'


Christina Toren (Anthropology, University of St. Andrews) opened her presentation by explaining that as a form of experiment, ethnography demands a great deal of us because, properly done, it leads us inexorably to questioning our fundamental understandings of the world and human beings and thus to a re-thinking of the analytical categories that inform the human sciences.


Doing alot of something can become obssesive! Breaking certain patterns becomes inevitable, as the sandwich of creativity becomes a little stale.  So we start adding, until we form a large overall shape of how things can progress.  This manefests itself for me, in the form of a strong mental flavour. Before I can say Johnny 2 steps, I'm cocooned in a web of senses that cross over with each other, the bits of knowledge become sensations, I am informed by the bus driver, the cake maker and the most smallest of things.

Workshop 1 - Robin Skeates, 'Archaeology as/and experiment'

Robin Skeates (Archaeology, University of Durham) presented his talk in two parts. Part 1, 'From experimental archaeology to experimenting with archaeology', looked at some of the different ways in which 'experimentality' has been understood and used by archaeologists. Part 2, ‘Experimentation in prehistory’ was a speculative attempt to consider experimentation in prehistory, with reference to Skeates’s own research on social and material lives of prehistoric people in the Central Mediterranean region.

Workshop 1: The Experimental Condition - Introductory session

In the opening session of the workshop, Michael Krätke and Bronislaw Szerszynski welcomed participants, thanked those who had helped make the programme possible, and introduced its themes and questions.

Welcome to Experimentality!

To coincide with the launch event of Experimentality, we are launching this new, community website for the programme. Powered by the open source software Drupal, this website will provide up-to-date information about forthcoming events in the programme, viewable by category (workshops or art events) or in calendar form.  As the year progresses, it will also contain documentation in different formats of the individual events - a record of talks, presentations and performances, but also of the ensuing discussion and debate. 

But it also provides an opportunity to get involved in the programme in a more interactive way. You can register on the website, using the link at top right, and then create a profile indicating your interests and activities.  You can then also create your own Experimentality blog, posting ideas and thoughts that relate to the questions being pursued in the programme.  Importantly, you can comment on the blog postings by others, including the description of individual events, which will enable us to explore topics in more depth than is always possible during the events. You will also shortly be able to upload a profile picture and follow site activity using Twitter.

We hope that this website will extend participation in the programme to those unable to attend events, but also to create a space for more continuous discussion and sharing amongst participants.

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