Project Researchers, Doctoral Candidates

Chiara Garbellotto

© Tal Adler

“Knowing and caring for biodiversity. Public engagement ecologies at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin”

[working title]

Grounded in social anthropology, critical museum studies, and feminist STS approaches, my research project studies multiple modes of doing biodiversity in public engagement practices 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, and the “participation issue”.

In order to understand the complexity of my research ecology, I directed my ethnographic attention to group and mediated formats: guided tours, workshops, public talks, and a CS project. In these activities – which unfold according to various purposes, means, and thematic focuses – multiple biodiversities are done differently, assembling subjects and objects in different ways.

I research these activities as constellations of situated processes of always partial and temporary co-productions. Moving from this position, my main aim is to learn how the semiotic-material entanglements of humans, non-humans, and technologies, digital media in particular, co-produce specific interspecies modes of knowing and caring about environments.

Academic and professional background

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. My MA dissertation in Museum Anthropology was based on ethnographic research conducted at the London-based Wellcome Collection, where I examined verbal and non-verbal processes of meaning construction during guided tours of the permanent exhibition “Medicine Now”.

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 and Cultural Geographer Ian Cook, 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.

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

In the same year, I was intern project assistant for RAVE – East Village Artistic Residency. The theme of that edition was “Animal Spaces” and the artist in residence Tomàs Saraceno. It was co-designed in collaboration with the Politecnico in Milan (“Milano Animal City” project) and the Technische Universität Braunshweig (BioBerlin project).