The "Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology" aims at developing ‘an anthropology of/as urbanism’. It critically explores governmental, everyday, insurgent and more-than-human practices of city making. It also experiments with ethnography as a more-than-textual, multimodal practice.



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Petra Beck

Short bio

I’m an Anthropologist. For several years I worked in the film industry before I studied European Ethnology, Cultural Studies and Gender Studies at the Humboldt-University in Berlin.

My master thesis »Restopia. Selfstorage als urbane Praxis« explored the material side of urban development and the relationship between people, things and biographies through a fieldwork in 14 German Selfstorage Facilities. It won the Georg-Simmel-Award for urban research 2013.

I’ve worked since as a lecturer at the Institute of European Ethnology at the Humboldt University Berlin, and the Department of Sociology at Kassel University and as a researcher at the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS)/ TU Munich and the Centre Marc Bloch Berlin (CMB), where I’ve co-leaded the research group »Weltwissen und Erfahrungen des Globalen/ Expériences et savoirs du global« from 2016 to 2021.

Since 2022 I’m coordinating the Robert K. Merton Center for Science Studies in Berlin, and teach at the Department of European Ethnology at the University of Vienna.

My research interests are Material Culture Studies, (Audio)visual anthropology, Material Memory Cultures, Plastic Pollution, Waste, Cultures of Exchange and Circularity, Thingspaces and Human-Environment Relations.

I have been involved in several artistic projects in recent years, including: »Männer in Garagen«/ Sophiensäle Berlin (2014), »Architecture of Storage«/ DAZ Berlin (2018), »Wo Dinge wohnen«/ Wien Museum (2019), »Von Jedem Eins«/ Basis Frankfurt (2021), »M#tter«/ Gallus Theater Frankfurt (2022) and „Was die Toten hören“, Galerie Alice Guy, Institut Français Berlin (2023).

See personal website

Related publications

WASTE WHAT? is an open-source cooperative game, which explores how we can think about materials differently, trying out many ways to keep stuff in use.

Related projects