In this talk I reflect on my ten years of anthropological engagement with hair – an intimate, emotive and tactile fibre saturated with human life. I discuss the particularities and challenges of working with hair as a material and of working across different media which include academic and non-fiction writing, public exhibition making, animation and craft. I trace how a project which began as research into the global trade in human hair developed into a form of public anthropology through collaborations with artists, designers, hair dressers, curators, film makers and members of the public and I reflect on how hybrid methodologies which combine visual, material and digital methods enable new sorts of conversation to open up within and beyond academia.
Emma Tarlo is a writer, curator and professor emerita of anthropology at Goldsmiths. Her publications include Clothing Matters (winner of the Coomaraswamy prize 1998), Unsettling Memories (2003), Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith (2010) and Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair (winner of the Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing 2017). She has curated several exhibitions on hair, most recently the exhibition Hair, Untold Stories, co-curated with Sarah Byrne at the Horniman Museum in London (2021) and currently on tour at Weston Park Museum Sheffield (until September 2023). Her most recent book is a non-fiction memoir, Under the Hornbeams to be released in January ( Faber 2024).
Wednesday, 07 June | 4.00 – 5.30 pm
Location: HZK | Central Institute Hermann von Helmholtz Zentrum für Kulturtechnik Campus Nord – Haus 3 | Philippstr. 13 10115 Berlin & online