Chiara Garbellotto

Tal Adler

Grounded in social anthropology, critical museum studies, and feminist STS approaches, my research project studies multiple modes of doing Biodiversity in public engagement activities at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin. The on-going major structural and infrastructural renovations at this museum make it a particularly exciting research context. Matters engaged include citizen science, coexistence of different epistemic cultures, emergence of publics, digital media, and the “participation issue”.

In order to understand the complexity of my research ecology, I direct my ethnographic attention to group and mediated formats. I specifically attend to guided tours, workshops, talks, and CS projects. In these activities – which unfold according to various purposes, means, and thematic focuses – multiple biodiversities are done differently . Issues of sexual selection, adaptation, extinction, eco-services, and scientific practice itself are assembled and distributed differently.

I research these activities as constellations of situated processes of always partial and temporary co-productions. I do not consider them as isolated events, but as part of a broader ecology – that goes beyond the institution’s walls – of professional technologies and discourses of PE, political and cultural environments of science and museums legitimation, and negotiations among different modes of caring for a more-than-human world.

Moving from this position, I have two main aims for my PhD: on one side to learn how the semiotic-material entanglements of actors, specimens, animals, and digital media co-produce specific interspecies modes of relating; on the other, to explore the potential of concepts such as diffraction and ethnographic intervention for museum PE practice through the co-production of transdisciplinary workshops.

Academic background

In 2016 I received a master’s degree in Museums, Galleries, and Contemporary Culture from the University of Westminster, London. My final project dealt with informal learning experiences of participatory workshops in exhibiting contexts.

In 2012, I gained a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology from the University of Bologna – from which I also gained my bachelor’s degree – with a dissertation in Museum Anthropology. In 2011, I undertook a four-month ethnography at the London-based Wellcome Collection, examining verbal and non-verbal processes of meaning construction during guided tours of the permanent exhibition “Medicine Now”.

Professional background

In 2016 I worked as assistant exhibition registrar for the foundation La Biennale di Venezia in the frame of the Architecture Biennale dealing, among others, with the pavilion A World of Fragile Parts realised by the V&A.

In 2015 I conducted a four-months work placement as part of the artistic project “Museum of Contemporary Commodities” co-founded by artist-researcher Paula Crutchlow, Cultural Geographer Ian Cook, and University of Exeter. The project was hosted at London-based Furtherfield Gallery.

In the same year I was Engage Volunteer at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, London.