19 Jan 2015 2:00pm - 7:00pm Room SG1, Alison Richard Building


Professor Wenzel Geissler (Anthropology, Oslo)
Professor Roger Kneebone (Medicine, Imperial College London)
Dr John Manton ((Research Associate, Division Social Anthropology)
Professor Mike Pearson (Performance Studies, Aberystwyth)
Dr Guillaume Lachenal (Paris-Diderot)
Mariele Neudecker (Bath Spa)

Jointly convened by Civic Matter and the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network.

For some, performance is a science that elicits knowledge about the world. For others, science is performance, and there is little doubt that science at least in part relies on performative qualities to take effect. Contributors to this panel share an interest in science and performance, either way. From the performance of landscape in contemporary archaeological excavation and site-specific theatre, to taking seriously the operating theatre as a performative space by re-enacting 1970s surgical practices; from the well-marketed reality-TV thrills of contemporary emerging virus science, to the quiet stage of an abandoned research station in the rainforest, and its reanimation by aged protagonists, the participants will engage in a conversation about the contact zones of science and theatre, and the possibilities and pitfalls of performance, staging and re-enactment in the history and anthropology of science.

Keynote : Roger Kneebone

Session 2

Keynote : Mike Pearson


Joint event with Civic Matter: Infrastructure as Politic (Faculty Research Group)

Open to all.  No registration required

Part of the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network (CIPN), series





Roger Kneebone (Imperial)
Backwards through the keyhole: re-enacting the surgical past




Performing African Laboratories

Wenzel Geissler (Oslo) – Tanzania
Mariele Neudecker (Bath Spa) – Tanzania
Guillaume Lachenal (Paris Diderot) – Cameroon
John Manton (Cambridge) – Nigeria




Mike Pearson (Aberystwyth)
'No joke in petticoats’: interpreting the remains of early Antarctic expeditions


Open discussion



Mike  Pearson teaches Performance Studies at Aberystwyth University, UK. Formerly an Artistic Director of Cardiff Laboratory Theatre (1973-80) and Brith Gof (1981-97). He continues to make performance with Pearson/Brookes (1997-present). He is co-author of Theatre/Archaeology (Routledge: 2001) and In Comes I: Performance, Memory and Landscape (Exeter University Press: 2006).

Roger Kneebone is a clinician and educationalist who leads a multidisciplinary research group at Imperial College London. His innovative work on contextualised simulation builds on his personal experience as a surgeon and a general practitioner, and his interest in domains of expertise beyond medicine. He recently conducted simulation-based re-enactments of surgical operations in the 1980s.

Guillaume Lachenal teaches history of science at the University Paris Diderot. He is a fellow of the Institut Universitaire de France. His research is on the history and anthropology of biomedicine in Africa, especially Cameroon. He combines the approaches of science studies, anthropology of health, and colonial and postcolonial studies to examine biopolitics and biosciences in Africa. His latest book is 'Le médicament qui devait sauver l'Afrique. Un scandale pharmaceutique aux colonies' (La Decouverte 2014).

Mariele Neudecker is a visual artist who lives and works in Bristol, UK. She uses a broad range of media including sculpture, video and installation and works around notions of the Contemporary Sublime. She is engaged, along with Geissler and Kelly, and the photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva, in a project in a quasi-abandoned scientific research station in East Africa. She is currently working on a solo exhibition at Galerie Haas, Zurich, Switzerland and ‘Uncanny Reality, Models in Contemporary Art’, Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague. http://www.marieleneudecker.co.uk/; http://www.bthumm.de/www/artists/neudecker/exhibitions.php; http://www.rehbein-galerie.de/Mariele-Neudecker-Works.52.html

Wenzel Geissler teaches social anthropology at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, and also works part time as director of research at the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. He has worked extensively on transnational scientific research in Africa. His ongoing collaborative research focuses on the remains and memories of medical science. He is a collaborator on the Memorials and Remains of African Science project. His latest edited volume is 'Para-states and Medical Science' (Duke UP, 2014).

John Manton is a research associate in Anthropologies of African Biosciences at the University of Cambridge, where he works on the history, heritage and commemoration of disease control, medical and agricultural research in West Africa. He has carried out extensive historical and ethnographic research in agricultural research sites, rural hospitals, and leprosy/TB centres, and writes on the history and legacy of leprosy control, on missionary medicine, drug research, urban sanitation, and agricultural research, in Nigeria and Cameroon.


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