Professor Trevor H J Marchand
BSc (Arch) BArch (McGill) PhD (London)
Prof Trevor Marchand's Inaugural Lecture: The Pursuit of Pleasurable Work: an Anthropology of Craft and Craftspeople
I am currently Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, with expertise in the subjects of architecture, craftwork, skills, and learning.
After completing studies in architecture (McGill 1992), I received an 18-month Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Award to carry out field research on the traditional mud-brick masonry practices and ornate wall decoration in the Hausa Emirate of Zaria, Northern Nigeria. The study employed an ethnographic approach for investigating architecture, craft skills, and apprenticeship training. These topics, along with embodied learning and knowledge, have remained central to my work as an anthropologist.
My PhD in social anthropology (SOAS 1999) was grounded in ethnographic and historical data collected during a 13-month apprenticeship with minaret builders in the South Arabian city of Sana'a. That resulted in a first monograph, Minaret Building & Apprenticeship in Yemen (2001). With funding from the MBI Al-Jaber Foundation, I am presently curating a new exhibition on Yemen: ‘Architecture that fills my eye’, which will be accompanied by an educational programme (July – September 2017, London).
In 2001 I resumed fieldwork in West Africa, this time labouring and apprenticing with a team of mud-brick masons in Djenné, Mali. The study was supported by the British Academy, and resulted in a second monograph, The Masons of Djenné (2009). The book was recipient of the Elliot P. Skinner Award (Association for Africanist Anthropology), Melville J. Herskovits Award (African Studies Association), and Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology (Royal Anthropological Institute).
Ongoing research with Djenné masons generated a special issue of the IAI journal Africa, titled Knowledge in Practice (2009, co-edited with Kai Kresse); a first documentary film, The Future of Mud: a tale of houses and lives in Djenné (2007, co-produced with Susan Vogel and Samuel Sidibe); and a major exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects titled Djenné: African City of Mud, accompanied by a public lecture series (2010). More recent studies with the mud masons resulted in a second documentary film, Masons of Djenné (2013), and a long-term exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Mud Masons of Mali (2013 to 2017, co-curated with Mary Jo Arnoldi). Details for the exhibition can be found here, and the film (in four parts) can be viewed here
In 2005 I was awarded a 3-year ESRC Fellowship to study craft knowledge and vocational training in England alongside fine woodwork trainees (RES 000-27-0159). Again, I employed an apprentice-style method in order to investigate skill learning and practice and to document social relations, professional aspirations, and the economic challenges to succeeding as an independent furniture maker in the UK. Research was carried out over a 2-year period at the Building Crafts College in Stratford, East London, earning me a City & Guilds Diploma in fine woodwork. The long fieldwork yielded a detailed ethnography of training and craftwork (The Pursuit of Pleasurable Work, monograph forthcoming), and a number of publications that include comparative analyses with craftspeople in Arabia and Africa. The study also allowed me to advance a theory of embodied cognition and communication grounded in Dynamic Syntax theory and cutting-edge research in the neurosciences. I organised a lecture series and a workshop on ‘learning and knowledge’ that resulted in a special issue of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, titled Making Knowledge (2010).
In 2013 I took up a one-year British Academy mid-Career Fellowship to further my studies with woodworkers. This time I focussed on the complex and evolving relationship between the human brain, hands, and tools; and, relatedly, on bench-based problem-solving with tools and materials, in the flow of practice. Included in the resulting outputs is the edited volume Craftwork as Problem Solving (2016) and the documentary film The Intelligent Hand (2015), which is featured on the RSA Inequality in Education Network website and can be viewed here.
Ultimately, my continuing research with craftspeople aims to expand popular definitions of ‘knowledge’ and promote greater appreciation for skilled work. In 2014, I was awarded the Rivers Memorial Medal by the Royal Anthropological Institute for my contribution to the discipline. I left my post at SOAS in 2015 in order to dedicate more time to research, writing, and other creative activities. In addition to my forthcoming exhibition on Yemen’s architecture, new research has included a commission from Craftspace to conduct fieldwork with Ugandan-British artist Andrew Omoding. My study documented the artist’s creative processes and problem-solving strategies. The results are featured in an exhibition, Radical Craft, which tours the UK for 20 months in 2016-17, and in my film The Art of Andrew Omoding (2016), which can be viewed here
A podcast of Trevor Marchand’s interview for Social Science Bites.
Professor Trevor H J Marchand - Craft Knowledge, Learning and Apprenticeship
PhD Students supervised
- Cristiana Strava, At Home with Modernity: Exploring Place-making on the Margins of Casablanca.
- Gunvor Jónsson, At the End of the Railway Line. Malian Female Traders in the Senegalese Capital.
- Jamila Dorner, Learning Bharatanatyam: Bodily, Sensory and Social Enskilment in South Indian Dance.
- Karin Ahlberg, "They are destroying the image of Egypt": Tourism, Egyptian nationhood and infrastructures of image making.
- Niamh Jane Clifford Collard, Crafting Knowledge Through Textiles in Ewe-speaking Ghana
- Robert Simpkins, Playing in Kōenji: making street music in a Tokyo neighbourhood (working title).
Previous PhD Students
- Diana Ibanez Tirado, Subjectivity, Temporality and Everyday Life in Kulob, Tajikistan
- Anna Portisch, Kazakh Craftswomen and their Textiles
- Patrick Meier, Urban Space and Identity Construction in Aleppo, Syria
- Deborah Whelan, The Trading Store in South Africa
- Philomeena Keet, Cos-Play and Youth Identity in Tokyo, Japan (with D. Martinez)
- Leila Zaki Chakravarti, Gender and Factory Workers in Cairo, Egypt (with D. Kandiyoti)
- Cleo Cantone, Women’s Space in the Senegalese Mosque (Art & Archaeology, with G. King)
- Takis Geros, Christianity and Community in Damascus, Syria (with D. Martinez)
- Kris Chapman, Participation & Performance in Japanese Martial Arts
- Elena Moreddu, Sacred Space in Sardinia (Studies of Religion, with C. Zene)
- Keiko Miura, Heritage & Conservation in Angkor, Cambodia (with A. Turton)
- Alison Brody, Gender and Ethnicity in Thailand (with A. Turton)
I have taught a number of core courses in anthropological theory, two regional culture and society courses (Near & Middle East and West Africa), and I have developed specialised courses in Anthropology of Urban Space, Place & Architecture; Anthropology & Linguistics; Anthropology of Gender, Sexuality & the Body; and Media Production Skills.
The course on urban space, place and architecture is an outgrowth of several key research interests. It introduces various approaches to studying space and the built environment, and engages critically with the historic, social, and cultural constructions of these concepts. The principal aim is to challenge notions of ‘space’ as a reified entity that is conceptualised and inhabited in a universal manner, and to cultivate a more complex understanding of the processes by which humans manipulate, produce, and reproduce space and buildings – as the most visually significant manifestation of any material culture.
Before my departure from SOAS, I created a new course, Crafting the World, which introduces students to the study of skill and learning.
I was Undergraduate Tutor for anthropology (2002-2005) and Research Tutor (2008-20012 and 2014-2015). As convenor of the MPhil Research Training Seminar, I employed Action Learning principles and methods, which I continue to use in the supervision of my PhD students and in mentoring postdoctoral students and junior research associates.
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- Special Study Programmes
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Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2009) The Masons of Djenné. Bloomington Indiana: Indiana University Press. (winner of the AfAA Elliot P. Skinner Prize, the ASA 2010 Melville J. Herskovits Award, and the RAI Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology)
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2001) Minaret Building and Apprenticeship in Yemen. Richmond: Curzon.
Edited Books or Journal Volumes
Marchand, Trevor H. J. , ed. (2016) Craftwork as Problem Solving: ethnographic studies of design and making. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate. (Anthropological Studies of Creativity and Perception)
Fardon, Richard and Harris, Olivia and Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Nuttall, Mark and Shore, Cris and Wilson, Richard A., eds. (2012) Handbook of Social Anthropology. London: Sage.
Marchand, Trevor H.J., ed. (2010) Making Knowledge: explorations of the indissoluble relation between mind, body and environment. Special Issue of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Kresse, Kai, eds. (2009) Knowledge in Practice: expertise and the transmission of knowledge. Edinburgh University Press. (Africa: Special Issue)
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2016) 'Introduction: Craftwork as Problem Solving.' In: Marchand, Trevor H. J., (ed.), Craftwork as Problem Solving: Ethnographic Studies of Design and Making. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, pp. 1-29. (Anthropological Studies of Creativity and Perception)
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2016) 'Embodied Learning.' In: Callan, Hilary, (ed.), The Wiley Blackwell International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.. (Forthcoming)
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2016) 'Built Environment.' In: Callan, Hilary, (ed.), The Wiley Blackwell International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.. (Forthcoming)
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2015) 'Trevor Marchand On Craft.' In: Edmonds, David and Warburton, Nigel, (eds.), Big Ideas in Social Science. London: Sage, pp. 118-127.
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2015) 'Managing Pleasurable Pursuits: Utopic Horizons and the Arts of Ignoring and ‘Not Knowing’ among Fine Woodworkers.' In: Dilley, Roy and Kirsch, Thomas, (eds.), Regimes of Ignorance: anthropological perspectives on the Production and Reproduction of Non-Knowledge. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 70-90. (Methodology & History in Anthropology; 29)
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2015) 'Place-Making in the "Holy of Holies": the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem.' In: Mitchell, Jon and Bull, Michael, (eds.), Ritual, Performance and the Senses. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 63-84.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2014) 'Skill and Aging: Perspectives from Three Generations of English Woodworkers.' In: Hallam, Elizabeth and Ingold, Tim, (eds.), Making and Growing: Anthropological Studies of Organisms and Artefacts. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, pp. 183-202. (Anthropological Studies of Creativity and Perception)
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2013) 'The Djenné Mosque: world heritage and social renewal in a West African town.' In: Verkaaik, Oskar, (ed.), Religious Architecture: anthropological perspectives. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 117-148.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2012) ''Anthropologies to Come'. Part 4 introduction.' In: Fardon, Richard and Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Nuttall, Mark and Shore, Chris and Strang, Veronica and Wilson, Chris, (eds.), Handbook of Social Anthropology. London: Sage, pp. 225-228.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2012) 'Knowledge in Hand: explorations of brain, hand and tool.' In: Fardon, Richard and Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Nuttall, Mark and Shore, Chris and Strang, Veronica and Wilson, Chris, (eds.), Handbook of Social Anthropology. London: Sage, pp. 260-269.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2011) 'Negotiating Tradition in Practice: mud masons and meaning-making in contemporary Djenne.' In: Teutonico, Jeanne Marie, (ed.), Terra 2008 Proceedings. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute and Trust Publications.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2010) 'Embodied Cognition, Communication and the Making of Place and Identity: Reflections on Fieldwork with Masons.' In: Rapport, Nigel, (ed.), Human Nature as Capacity. Oxford: Berghahn. (Methodology and History of Anthropology)
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2007) 'Crafting Knowledge: the role of 'parsing and production' in the communication of skill-based knowledge among masons.' In: Harris, Mark, (ed.), Ways of Knowing. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 173-193.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2006) 'Endorsing Indigenous Knowledge: the Role of Masons and Apprenticeship in Sustaining Vernacular Architecture - the Case of Djenne.' In: Asquith, L. and Vellinga, M., (eds.), Vernacular Architecture in the Twenty-First Century. Theory, Education and Practice. London: Taylor & Francis, pp. 46-62.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2003) 'Process over Product: Case Studies of Traditional Building Practices in Djenne, Mali and San'a', Yemen.' In: Teutonico, J. M. and Matero, F., (eds.), Managing Change: Sustainable Approaches to the Conservation of the Built Environment. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, pp. 137-159.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2003) 'Rang Professionnel Laborieusement Acquis: devenir maitre macon a Djenne.' In: Bedaux, R. and Diaby, B. and Maas, P., (eds.), l'Architecture de Djenne. Gent: Snoeck, pp. 29-43.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Joffroy, T. (2003) 'Sensuous Mud / Sensuele Aarde (English and Flemish).' In: Les Maitres de la Terre. Belgium: Cultuur Centrum Brugge, 19-23, 43.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2003) 'A possible explanation for the lack of explanation; or 'Why the Master Builder can't explain what he knows': Introducing the Informational Atomism against a 'definitional' definition of concepts.' In: Pottier, J. and Bicker, A. and Sillitoe, P., (eds.), Negotiating Local knowldege. Pluto Press, pp. 30-50.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2000) 'Walling Old Sana'a: Re-evaluating the resurrection of the city walls.' In: Terra 2000: 8th International Conference on the study and conservation of earthen architecture. James & James Science Publishers Ltd, pp. 46-51.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2016) 'Craftwork and Education: 'The Intelligent Hand' at the Fab Lab.' Inequality in Education: The Tide - A journal .
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2016) 'JDY Peel (1941-2015), Obituary.' RAI Archives & Manuscripts .
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2015) ''It's in Our Blood': Mali's griots and musical enskilment.' Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 85 (2). pp. 356-364.
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2015) 'A Diary of Filmmaking with Djenné Masons: From “Studies of” toward “Studies with”.' Visual Anthropology, 28 (4). pp. 308-323.
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2015) 'The Djenné Mosque: World Heritage and Social Renewal in a West African Town.' APT Bulletin, Journal of Preservation Technology, 46 (2-3). pp. 4-15.
Marchand, Trevor H J (2014) 'Workshop 1: Craftwork as Problem-Solving.' Making Futures Journal, 3 . pp. 1-4.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2013) 'For the Love of Masonry: Djenne craftsmen in turbulent times.' Journal of African Cultural Studies, 26 (2). pp. 155-172.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2010) 'Embodied Cognition and Communication: studies with British fine woodworkers.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16 (s1). pp. 100-120.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2010) 'Preface and Introduction: Making Knowledge.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16 (s1). iii-v, 1-21.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2009) 'Negotiating License and Limits: expertise and innovation in Djenne's building trade.' Africa, 79 (1). pp. 71-91.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Kresse, Kai (2009) 'Introduction: Knowledge in Practice.' Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 79 (1). pp. 1-16.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2008) 'Muscles, Morals and Mind: craft apprenticeship and the formation of person.' British Journal of Educational Studies, 56 (3). pp. 245-271.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2007) 'Vocational Migrants and a Tradition of Longing.' Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, 19 (1). pp. 23-40.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2007) 'Fortifying Futures on Blessed Foundations: masons, secrets and guarantees in Djenné.' Mande Studies, 7 . pp. 89-98.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2006) 'Le rôle des maçons et de l'apprentissage dans la pérennité de l'architecture vernaculaire de Djenné.' Djenné Patrimoine Informations, 21 . pp. 14-16.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2005) 'Démêler le mystère de l’expertise des maçons.' Djenné Patrimoine Informations, 19 . pp. 8-12.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2003) 'Bozo-Dogon Bantering: Policing Access to Djenne's Building Trade with Jests and Spells.' Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, 14 (2). pp. 47-63.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'In the Shadow of a Master.' The British Yemeni Society Journal, 10 . pp. 8-15.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'Moulding Minaret Makers in Sana'a.' Bulletin of the Society for Arabian Studies, 7 . pp. 18-19.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'Defining 'Tradition' in the Context of Yemen's Building Trade.' Al-Masar Journal, 3 (1). pp. 3-25.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'Bozo-Dogon Bantering: Policing Access to Djenne's Building Trade with Jests and Spells.' Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Working Paper Series, 145 . pp. 23-47.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2000) 'The Lore of the Master Builder: working with local materials and local knowledge in Sana'a, Yemen.' Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Working Paper Series, 137 . pp. 1-17.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2000) 'Reconsidering the role of the Mosque Minaret in Sana'a.' Proceedings of the seminar for Arabian Studies, 29 . pp. 95-102.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (1999) 'Building Traditional Minarets in Sana'a, Yemen.' Proceedings of the Symposium on Mosque Architecture 1999, 4 . pp. 127-139.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2016) 'Review of: "African Children at Work" edited by Gerhard Spittler and Michael Bourdillon.' Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 141 (1). (In Press)
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2012) 'Learning, Education and Apprenticeship. [Review of] "Apprenticeship in Critical Ethnographic Practice" by Jean Lave.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 18 (1). pp. 209-210.
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2012) 'Review of "Indispensable Eyesores: an anthropology of undesired buildings", by Mélanie van der Hoorn.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 18 (2). pp. 471-472.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2011) 'Review of "The Art of Livelihood: creating expressive agri-culture in rural Mali" by Stephen Wooten.' African Arts, 44 (1). pp. 90-91.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2011) 'Review of "Dans la cite des marabouts" by Geert Mommersteeg.' Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute, 81 (3). pp. 503-505.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2008) 'Review of "Hausa Urban Art and Its Social Background: External House Decorations in a Northern Nigerian City" by Friedrich W. Schwerdtfeger.' Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute, 78 (3). pp. 469-470.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2008) 'Modernity's Artisanal Roots. [Review of] The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution by Pamela Smith.' The Senses and Society Journal, 3 (1). pp. 91-96.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2006) 'Review of "Landlords and Lodgers: socio-spatial organisation in an Accra community" by D. Pellow.' Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, 17 (2).
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2004) 'Review of The Archaeology of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa.' Antiquity, 78 (301). pp. 738-740.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'Review of "Tradition and Society in Turkmenistan" [by C. Blackwell].' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 65 (3). pp. 592-594.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'Review of "Imagined Masculinities: male identity and culture in the modern Middle East" edited by M. Ghoussoub and E, Sinclair-Webb.' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 65 (1). pp. 183-185.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2000) 'Review of "House Life: space, place and family in Europe" edited by Birdwell-Pheasant & Lawrence-Zuniga.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 6 (3). pp. 565-566.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2000) 'Review of "How We Think They Think" [by M. Bloch].' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 63 (2). pp. 325-326.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2016) Radical Craft: Alternative Ways of Making. [Shows/Exhibitions]
Marchand, Trevor H. J. and Arnoldi, Mary Jo (2013) Mud Masons of Mali, Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, in the African Voices Hall Focus Gallery. [Shows/Exhibitions]
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2010) Djenne: African City of Mud, RIBA Exhibition, March 3 - May 29 2010. [Shows/Exhibitions]
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2015) The Intelligent Hand, (21 minute documentary film). . Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73VwgChjTyo.
Marchand, Trevor and Arnoldi, Mary Jo and Durgerian, Pete (2013) Masons of Djenné, (22 minute documentary film). . Available from http://www.mnh.si.edu/exhibits/mud-masons/meet-mud....
Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Vogel, Susan and Sidibe, Samuel (2007) Future of Mud: a tale of houses and lives in Djenné (58-minute documentary film). Brooklyn, NY: Prince Street Pictures, distributed by First Run Icarus Films.