The GDRI: anthropology and art history

Signature du GRDI, juin 2006 © musée du quai Branly, photos Anthonin Borgeaud - Click to enlarge, open in a new window
Signature du GRDI, juin 2006 © musée du quai Branly, photos Anthonin Borgeaud

When it opened, the Musée du quai Branly wished to work in collaboration with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) to set up a high-level interdisciplinary research network devoted to development and diffusion of anthropological and historical study of the arts.

The network’s scientific vocation is to promote in-depth research on practices and products submitted to qualitative aesthetic judgements. The term « art », therefore, is employed in a highly inclusive sense, referring not only to material and immaterial products recognised as being artistic in nature, but also, in its original sense of ‘ars’, to know-how and technical skills in as far as these latter are subject to qualitative assessment. The term anthropology employed to characterise such research is also to be taken in its widest sense – here, the word does not refer to a disciplinary sector, but rather to an approach embracing a range of perspectives more usually divided up among different areas of specialised study.

The GDRI makes up a network of international institutions that have agreed to develop research on a specified set of scientific themes. Financing comes from all parties involved, and the group’s mission is to set up teams to carry out innovative research projects, to facilitate mobility of personnel from partner institutions, and to organise seminars, workshops and colloquia. GDRI duration is for four years, renewable.

Network partners

  • in France, the Musée du quai Branly, CNRS, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Université de Paris X-Nanterre, Université de Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne, Ministère de la culture et de la communication, Université de Provence Aix-Marseille I, Collège de France, and the Ecole Normale supérieure;
  • abroad, the University of East Anglia (Great Britain), University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) (Mexico), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (United States), and the Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde (Germany).

The Musée du quai Branly’s Education and Research Department will act as group coordinator, leading and organising the GDRI and initiating invitations for submission of projects. The GDRI will have two monitoring and selection boards, a « management committee » composed of representatives of partner institutions, and a « scientific piloting committee » made up of recognised figures in the scientific community appointed by the partners. The respective roles of these boards are, for the former, to monitor progress of research projects and use of budgetary resources allocated to them, and more generally to pilot the GDRI’s scientific activities, and for the latter, to advise the GDRI upon scientific orientation and to evaluate work programmes submitted by members from partner institutions.

The GDRI will accept projects by doctoral and post-doctoral students as well as by teacher-researchers and curators. The first invitation for submission of collective projects will go out in the spring of 2006, and work programmes will commence on 1 January 2007.