Playful theorising

18:37 by Cornelius Holtorf

Cornelius Holtorf and Emily Hanscam attended the Nordic TAG conference in Oslo where they ran a practical workshop entitled “ARCHAEOLOGY TODAY (IN COLOUR)”. The abstract explained that…

Participants in the workshop will enjoy their coffee while busying themselves in small groups around several tables using crayons to draw in a colouring book (Archaeology Today, C. Holtorf and D. Lindskog 2021). The aim of the workshop is to inspire discussion on some archaeological key issues and on the forms in which such thinking may be expressed and practiced in various archaeological formats. We will find out what happens when adults adopt what is (supposedly) a children’s’ activity: will it bring out the child in each of us or will participants long for more adult genres? What does that entail in the context of academic discourse, fieldwork reports, and for the future of theoretical archaeology? We will ask us together what’s the use of theory when you can go and paint in a book (and vice versa). [shortened and slightly edited]

In the event, we found that the practice of colouring was a thinking device and conversation opener. All participants felt that archaeologists need to make archaeological theorising more playful and more commonly break rules and conventions in the name of creativity…

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