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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Tomás Criado

Short bio

My name’s Tomás Sánchez Criado (twitter: @tscriado | mastodon: @tscriado) and I am an anthropologist with specialisation in STS.

Between April 2018 and October 2022, I was Senior Researcher and Director of the Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology, where I remain attached as associate researcher.

I now work in Barcelona as Ramón y Cajal Senior Research Fellow in the Social Sciences at the Open University of Catalonia’s CareNet-IN3 group.

My ethnographic and public engagement work focuses on different instances of relational, knowledge and material politics in a wide variety of settings where care is invoked as a mode of intervention: be it as a practice of articulating more or less enduring ecologies of support; or as a particular mode of technoscientific activism democratising knowledges, design practice and infrastructures.

I am currently writing a book on how bodily diversity comes to matter in city-making, titled An Uncommon City: Bodily Diversity and the Activation of Possible Urbanisms. Besides, I’m beginning to imagine an expansion of this research line to the study of the genealogy and challenges of ageing-friendly cities / late life urbanism, paying special attention to the mutual transformations of bodies and urban infrastructures that the Euro-American ‘baby boomers’ are both an effect and a vector of. I call this “an inquiry into boomer landscapes“.

These interests have also led me to experiment with devices for anthropological inquiry (exploring inventive forms of collaborative inquiry where multimodality could be understood not just or not only as ‘in a plurality of media’ but rather ‘in a plurality of relational and epistemic modes’). As part of this work I have been invested in convening collective venues of multimodal ethnography and collaborative pedagogy, such as xcol. An Ethnographic Inventory, a collaborative platform I co-curate to document ethnographic inventions and the inventiveness of the ethnographic.

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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.

In this collective text, we introduce the vision and work of the Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology at the Humboldt-University of Berlin and propose to explore the values of multimodal ethnographic projects, broadly construed.

In the accounts compiled in this book, ethnography occurs through processes of material and social interventions that turn the field into a site for epistemic collaboration.

In the last decades, design disciplines have been encountering the social sciences and humanities in inventive modes. These new collaborations entail partial redefinitions of the disciplines involved therein.

In my contribution, I speculate on the possible futures for anthropological practice that might open up when, rather than studying or collaborating in corporate or professional design activities, we undertake anthropology as a careful design practice: to envision a future – for anthropology and beyond – there is perhaps no other way than to pry open the un- certain, but also deeply asymmetric and expertocratic conditions of the present.

Over the last decades, care has proliferated as a notion aimed at capturing a vast array of practices, conditions, and sentiments. In this article, we argue that the analytics of care may benefit from being troubled, as it too often reduces the reproduction of life to matters of palliation and repair, fueling a politics of nationalism and identitarianism.

Outlining the basic principles of a new academic field, Socio-gerontechnology, this book explores common conceptual, theoretical and methodological ideas that become visible in the critical scholarship on ageing and technology at the intersection of Age Studies and Science and Technology Studies (STS).

This text is an ethnographic account of a singular, Barcelona-based activist endeavour called En torno a la silla (ETS): a do-it-yourself and open design and making collective engaging in a very peculiar form of accessibility politics beyond a ‘disability rights’ framework.

In this chapter, we attempt to think with a concrete set of activist practices: The En torno a la silla collective, and in particular the research engagement afforded by its intense social and material explorations in the environmental intervention and remaking of wheelchair users and their surroundings.

This is an account of the transformations in our anthropological practice derived from working in the many interstitial spaces that opened up in the wake of the recent Spanish economic crisis.

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