Photo by Rea Mucovic ©
Marko and Lisa first met at The University of Chicago in 1998 where Lisa was beginning and Marko was finishing their graduate studies. They find common interests in Eastern spiritual and bodily practices—Lisa practices yoga and Marko practices aikido and karate—and anthropology of the senses such as visual arts and food, among other things. They have collaborated on conference presentations and panels on art and anthropology and recently, they have travelled to Serbia and Croatia where this program was conceived. In the Summer of 2015, we launched our first, successful month/long program with 12 willing students from the University of Alberta and Reed College.
Lisa is a lecturer of anthropology at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where she teaches students the study of culture through an artistic lens. Lisa’s ongoing fieldwork explores Manding music and culture in translocal communities between West Africa and New York. Becoming an apprentice to a musical master, Lisa learned to tune in to the more subtle aspects of culture. Her research explores timing, flow and wisdom embedded within Manding music that point to a greater Manding sensibility. In general, Lisa is interested in exploring different cultures through their arts, and the lessons that are gleaned from each culture that are transferrable cross-culturally. She has used ethnographic film for both research and representation, and on occasion, has been contracted to work on documentaries within her field of expertise. Professionally, Lisa has been a college-level study abroad advisor throughout Latin America, and has worked with NGOs on sustainable development in the Brazilian Amazon with the Kayapo tribe, and in small villages in Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Marko is an associate professor in the Anthropology Department, and an adjunct professor in the Art & Design Department at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Marko grew up in Belgrade where he studied clinical psychology, and received his doctorate in anthropology at The University of Chicago. He has written on Balkan political rhetorics (Serbian Dreambook: National Imaginary in the Time of Milošević, Indiana University Press, 2011), on Serbian places of power, Yugoslav car culture, performance art, and popular neuroscience. In research and teaching he is interested in the intersections of art and science, in cross-cultural study of dreams, in anthropology of time and space, and film as an ethnographic resource. Marko’s recent collaborations with visual and theatre artists now lead him to explore the convergence between ethnographic and artistic perception. He is an avid photographer and sound recordist as well as a long-time practitioner of Aikido.
A Belgrade native, Mirjana got her BA in Archaeology and MA in Anthropology from the Belgrade University. She is currently in the U of Alberta Anthropology Department PhD program where she is working on science in Socialist Yugoslavia and post-socialist Serbia.
Ildiko is an associate professor at the Department of Ethnology and Anthropology at Belgrade University, Serbia. She holds PhD from anthropological studies of consumption, and her teaching experience includes Anthropology of Material Culture, Consumption Studies and Anthropology of Socialism/Post-socialism. Ildiko’s research interests are diverse, ranging from politics of time and space in contemporary political rituals, to problems related to childhood and growing up during socialism. During the last decade her research focuses on cultural and symbolic aspects of economy, with a particular interest in post-socialist transformation in Central and Eastern Europe and in the global-local nexus of that process. Ildiko is theoretically and methodologically committed to ethnographic research and related qualitative fieldwork methods. She also studied solo singing and has rich experience in performing as a soloist and a singer in a capella choir.
I’ve come to see that it is the mundane rather than the abstract that can tell us so very much about a specific culture. I think its important to step away from the familiar and study the foreign because in the process it can illuminate so much about one’s home.
Open your mind along with your senses and let everything flood in. This sensitivity to your surroundings encourages a state of being in which alertness as well as readiness to learn takes over.
I learned many things in Belgrade and underwent incredible experiences – but in the end, this trip taught me nothing if not how to relinquish control and allow myself to be swept away by the tides of new adventures.
The process that helped develop me into a sensible ethnographer provided me – and I would say for others who likely had differing perspectives and nodes of sensing – with the space to make the observations I genuinely felt in the moment, and not some contrived production of a feeling for the sake of participating as an observer.