Dr Malafouris awarded ERC grant for 'Handmade: Understanding Creative Gesture in Pottery Making'

26-02-2018 by Robyn Mason

Dr. Lambros Malafouris, School of Archaeology at Oxford, has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council Consolidator Grant for his project Handmade: Understanding Creative Gesture in Pottery Making. The ERC bestows the Consolidator Grants to outstanding researchers who have a scientific track record showing great promise, and between 7-12 years of experience after the completion of their doctorates.

Dr Malafouris' project (HANDMADE), grounded on Material Engagement Theory, is a cross-disciplinary study of the process of making by hand, focusing on clay and the craft of ceramics and exploring questions about skill, memory, distributed intelligence, material agency, selfhood, tradition and innovation. HANDMADE wants to explore what are the main ways by which the creative potential of clay becomes realised through the hand and how it affects the people that come to work with it. HANDMADE will study the creative ecology of pottery-making through sustained multi-sited participant observation in several traditional ceramic workshops spread around mainland Greece and the Islands. The project will combine methods from anthropology, archaeology and embodied cognitive science to investigate what exactly happens when people use their hands to create material forms. The basic hypothesis is that handmaking more than just a bodily skill should be seen as a form of thinking with and through clay. The broader aim is to use the knowledge about the creative entanglement of the hand and the clay and lay down the basic conceptual foundation for a cognitive archaeology of handmaking over the long term.



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