Workshop Series

What’s art got to do with it? Exploring arts-based teaching, knowledge-making and impact in the social sciences

Should anthropologists and development sociologists care about the arts? There is an increasing interest among NGOs, grassroots organizations, and policy makers in arts-based and creative formats as possible instrument for achieving citizen participation, empowerment, awareness raising, and the decolonization of knowledge and representation. A range of urgent social and academic questions, such as climate change or more-than-human interrelations, also have led artists, scientists and grassroots organizations to team-up to craft newly imaginative modes of research and knowledge translation. In this workshop series, we explore the possibilities these developments might offer to social scientists and how we might integrate them into our teaching practices.

The workshop series are open to and intended for interested social science scholars and students (in anthropology and development, but also beyond these disciplines), artists, and professionals or stakeholders. The workshops are given by invited experts with long-standing experience with arts in their research and teaching practice. They will mix hands-on exercises with critical reflections on the merits and limitations of arts-based formats. Together, the workshops address five interrelated dimensions of arts in social science:

  • arts-based formats in teaching and student-learning
  • arts-based formats for knowledge-making and representation
  • arts-based research methods
  • arts-based formats for generating social impact and change
  • challenges of working with arts-based formats in the (neoliberal) university

The workshop series is part of the larger innovation project ‘Integrating arts-science-society connections in a curriculum-broad educational track’ at the Anthropology and Development Studies department of Radboud University, and builds on the previously organized Advancing and Innovation Methodology Seminar Series.

Workshops will be held on-site at the Radboud University (Nijmegen). Not always there also is a possibility to join online. Participation in workshops is free-of-charge, but it does require registration in advance.

More specific information about each seminar can be found below, as well as a link through which you can register to join one of the workshops. If you like to receive our newsletter with information on new workshops and related events, please sign up here.


WORKSHOPS 2022/2023

4. Seeing and learning otherwise: An experiment into mapping human-nature relations differently

Arita Baaijens

25 April 2023

This workshop will be presented offline only.

In this workshop author and explorer Arita Baaijens will introduce her experiments in learning about human relatedness to nature beyond the customary scientific approach, in which she was trained during her study in biology. What are (standardized) dimensions of the way nature is conceptualized and corresponding methods of study? What can we learn from other research methods, and how can we use those methods in our academic practice? Drawing on her long term involvement with pastoralist/herding/nomadic communities, ensuing artistic experiments and creative writing, she will explore other-than-language ways of perceiving and understanding the landscape around us, by inviting participants into a deep mapping exercise.

Arita Baaijens is a biologist by training, writer of several acclaimed books, and avid traveler. Her continuous fascination lies in the human relations to nature and the landscape. Once, a long time ago, she replaced her steady job for a more uncertain life of traveling and writing. She began her journey by crossing the Sahara desert for over 15 years with her own caravan of camels. Later on she explored the iconic landscapes and cultures of Siberia and Papua New Guinea. Her journeys have taught her new perspectives on the entanglement between humans and nature. Now, back in the Netherlands, she initiates cross-media projects that challenge the domineering relation the Dutch maintain with nature. She does this through deep mapping, the rewilding of the Dutch technocratic language, and through finding new more-than-human polities, that allow other beings and entities, such as the North Sea, to co-govern their own future.  See for all projects and work: Website Arita Baaijens.