Dramatizing Ethnographic Fieldwork. Collaborative Laboratory and the Act of Intervening


  • Magdalena Sztandara Jagiellonian University
  • Grzegorz NizioÅ‚ek Jagiellonian University




What does it mean when an ethnographer intervenes in the public sphere or when a dramaturgist or theatre director conducts ethnographic research? What are the possibilities and values of such collaboration, and how it might be turned into engaged activities? In the following article, we attempt to answer these questions drawing from our pedagogical experience resulted from a joint effort of running and supervising a collaborative laboratory. For a year, groups of students (anthropologists, dramaturgists and theatre directors) jointly conceptualised, problematised and worked on the project about different masculinities. Throughout the project, all of us have been discussing, negotiating and exchanging our research methods, strategies and ways of exploring social practices by combining ethnography and performative. The outcome included thirteen interventions, understood as immediate social actions performed in the public space. The article aim is to engage with our teaching experiences and collaborative research efforts critically, as well as to problematise the real potential of the drama-based approach to ethnographic research. We argue that the form of collaboration between ethnography and performative arts opens not only new possibilities in methodological and pedagogical approach but also has transformative potential. The interventions performed in the public sphere might be understood as new modalities for disseminating research findings, which distort rather static and normative protocols of academic research presentations in Poland. They also allow reaching broader audiences and enabling more critical, intimate and involved understanding of different social and cultural practices.