Recording Material Practices for Perpetuity
The Endangered Material Knowledge Programme (EMKP) is a major programme to help preserve the knowledge of endangered material practices for future generations. It is the first programme of its kind relating to objects and will offer grants to researchers globally to undertake detailed fieldwork to record disappearing and endangered practices.
Societies around the globe are changing at an unprecedented rate, and specialist, locally-informed knowledge is in danger of being lost - knowledge that has helped communities thrive in unique environmental, social and cultural contexts. The programme will document what we might term the ‘made world’ and how people use, build, make and repair the natural resources around them to create their distinctive societies, homes and spaces. Recipients of grants will be working collaboratively with local communities for significant periods, observing and recording the different material practices in detail.
EMKP and the British Museum will preserve the records in perpetuity and make them publicly available, so source communities can access, develop, and strengthen their practices and the knowledge surrounding them or use it in innovative ways. The public can explore the rich material lifeways existing across the globe and researchers gain a detailed record of material knowledge and practice that can enrich research and ethnographic collections.
EMKP is generously supported by Arcadia (https://www.arcadiafund.org.uk), a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin and is hosted by the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the British Museum. The three-year programme will run from 2018-2021.