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Title: How women make : exploring female making practice through Design Anthropology
Author: Levick-Parkin, Melanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 8425
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the process of female making as a creative and socio-political act and how/where/why this creative labour gets ‘spent’, in terms of energy, outcomes and beneficiaries as well as how it might be situated in the context of contemporary Western Design ontology. Fieldwork took place over a period of 10 Months, with 11 female participants in two countries, during a number of repeat encounters, which included co-making, participant and ethnographic observations as well as informal interviews. The findings are presented as focused narratives based on three of the participants, through a series of ethnographic/auto-ethnographic accounts, which each conclude in a discussion based on my thematic analysis of that particular woman’s making. Drawing on the fieldwork with all 11 women, the three chapters which follow weave together data and theory into thematic discussions and analysis. The research documents and makes visible both the women’s making practices and things acting upon it, through observations of the participants making, and conversations and co-making with participants. A design anthropological approach of ‘anthropology as correspondence’ (Gatt & Ingold, 2013; Ingold 2013a) informed all data collection, with informal interviews providing the core data and focus of analysis, supported by analysis of visual data such as photography and moving image, as well as field notes and reflective auto-ethnographic writing, based on my experiences with the women and their making. As a design anthropological study, it situates and analyses female creative practices in a broader human ‘making’ context, whilst utilising a range of ethnographic, practice-led and co-creative methods, situated within a framework of a feminist inquiry and design discourse. Key theorists informing the analysis are Karen Barad (2007, 2008), Elizabeth Grozs (1999, 2010), Erin Manning (2016), Doreen Massey (2005) and Tim Ingold (2007, 2013a), whilst building on the work of Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock (1981), Cheryl Buckley (1986) and Sheila Rowbotham (1973/a, 1973/b), amongst many others. Key theories triangulated within the discussion and analysis stem from Material Feminism, Design Anthropology and Design Theory. This triangulation, woven around and into the observations and accounts of lived experiences, forms an emergent proposition which considers how female enactments of creative labour can provide us with ways to critique and un-ravel contemporary Design ontology, its modes of production and consumption. Drawing on post-capitalist scholars such as Kathy Weeks (2011), amongst others, and the writing of Raoul Vaneigem (1967/2006), the penultimate chapter ‘Implication for Design Pedagogy’ discusses why the implication my findings should be considered in relation to design pedagogy and education yet to come, and to ‘futures yet unthought’ (Grosz, 1999).
Supervisor: Pahl, Kate ; Kontopodis, Michalis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available