Learning/teaching materials: A skillshare workshop

Teaching Hotel, Maastricht, the Netherlands, 9th July – 12th July 2018


See syllabus

Course keywords

Skill; learning; expertise; workshopping

Guiding questions written before the workshop, and an invitation to participants

There is no neat abstract or conference statement as of yet. What this workshop is about is still uncertain and cannot be preconceived. We cannot know if, or what we will learn. What we know is that what the workshop is, will arise out of the staged performances and experiments, the unexpected conversations and correlations, the shared pre-readings, the interactions in corridors and over food, in moments of fun and moments of silence.

There are, however, some questions framing the workshop:

  • – How is learning related to the environment in which we learn?
  • – How does sensorality and materiality influence the development of embodied skills?
  • – How do available technologies shape our learning? How have technologies shaped learning in the past or in different global contexts?
  • – How can we document, communicate, interrogate or transfer embodied skills?

What are your own questions? What are you looking to find out during the workshop? What puzzles are you grappling with? We invite you to send us your own questions that you will be bringing to the event, or to contest or reword our questions above. Some questions we have received already ask;

  • – How do power, gender, race, class and other social categories shape the senses, both of the people we study and our senses as actors and analysts?
  • – While some phenomena, such as radiation, are registered but not consciously felt by bodies others, including the emotions of other people or animals, are registered by many people but considered a contestable form of sensing. What, therefore, gets to count as “sens-able” and “insensible?”


Learning conditions/environment

Taking the matter of how environments shape learning and how learning shapes environments seriously, we consider the venue of the event in a number of ways.

  • – This is a dedicated place of teaching and learning, a hotel school, run by students. The students and their teachers will weave in and out of the workshop in different ways.
  • – The hotel school has its own geographical, botanical, historical, architectural specificities, all materials which become part of our workshop arrangements sometimes explicitly when we venture into nearby woods with local guides for instance, sometimes less explicitly, at least in terms of how the workshops are framed, but it remains a constant and specific environmental and sensory
  • – Despite this, during the workshop we hope that the Hotel School will be transformed into a place of imaginative possibilities. Learning and teaching with materials becomes abstracted from the site, questions asked that will be transported to other conversations, inspiration, collaborations and relations taken to other projects.


Pre-workshop homework

There may be required reading, depending on which workshops you attend. These will be sent to you individually and will also be available on a shared SurfDrive. Recommended readings are also listed on the ‘Materials’ section of this site.

If you are interested, please consider contributing any texts you consider key to their understanding of skill development. These will also be made available as part of a living bibliography on this site as well as our SurfDrive.

Throughout the workshop

  • – There will be a number of activities which speak to the teaching and learning of skills running throughout, details to follow
  • – There will be no spaces for checking email but instead, writing paper and postcards will be left in your room for correspondence and notes throughout and after the conference. For this, you might use the onsite Post Office. We hope that participants will use this workshop as a ‘digital detox.’
  • – Alexandra Supper, an anthropologist at Maastricht University with an interest in academic conferences, will be acting as our resident ethnographer throughout.
  • – Academic and filmmaker, Paul Craddock, will be creating a film based around the workshop.


Post-workshop assignments

At this stage we have no pre-set ideas of what will come out of this workshop – there will be digital and paper material traces for sure, and we hope a variety of creative and scholarly projects inconceivable in advance. At the very least we will ask you to put some thoughts on paper while we are together, but we will talk more about this during the workshop.

We hope that this workshop will be the start of an ongoing conversation and provide a range of tangible outcomes. Depending on interest from participants and publishers, this may take the form of an edited book or a journal special issue. The MCS website will be updated with workshop material, including video lessons, interviews, and Paul’s film.

Following the main workshop, there will be a PhD workshop on the craft of writing. The programme and materials will be sent directly to the PhD students and instructors.



See attendees

MCS Team

Anna Harris, Maastricht University

Rachel Allison,   Maastricht University

Andrea Wojcik, Maastricht University

John Nott, Maastricht University

Sally Wyatt, Maastricht University

Harro van Lente, Maastricht University

Carla Greubel, Maastricht University


MCS International Advisors

Jeremy Greene, Johns Hopkins University

Kristen Haring, Stanford University

Rachel Prentice, Cornell University

Janelle Taylor, University of Washington



Selase Dorledzi, Practical Education Network, Accra

Tom Igoe, New York University

Sabine Wildevuur, Waag, Amsterdam



Jenny Boulboullé, Utrecht University

Joeri Bruyninckx, Maastricht University

Valentijn Byvanck, Marres, Centre for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht

Jessica  Capra, Marres, Centre for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht

Paul Craddock, Smart Docs Limited & University College London

Ludger van Dijk, University of Antwerp

Sven Dupré, Utrecht University

Thijs Hagendijk, Utrecht University

Rachel Harkness, University of Edinburgh

Annapurna Mamidipudi, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

Marion Poortvliet, Dutch Crafts Council

Erik Rietveld, University of Amsterdam

Ulrike Scholtes, University of Amsterdam

Kate Smith, University of Birmingham

Alexandra Supper, Maastricht University



See materials


Joeri Bruyninckx – Learning from field guides, walks in the Hotel School grounds

Ellis, Rebecca (2011). Jizz and the joy of pattern recognition: Virtuosity, discipline and the agency of insight in UK naturalists’ arts of seeing. Social Studies of Science, 41(6): 769-790.

Law, John, and Michael Lynch (1988). Lists, Field Guides, and the Descriptive Organization of Seeing: Birdwatching as an Exemplary Observational Activity. Human Studies, 11(2/3): 271-303. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20009028

MacDonald, Helen (2015). Identification, please. New York Times June 19, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/magazine/identification-please.html


Tom Igoe – Making and moving light



Sven Dupré, Thijs Hagendijk and Jenny Boulboullé – Imaginative ethnographies of making (in history)

Kotsioris,Evangelos , 2016–2017 Emerging Curator, Introduces the exhibition Lab Cult, youtu.be/hjvtHgRyfE4 #CCALabCult

Vergunst, Jo, ‘Seeing Ruins: Imagined and Visible Landscapes in North-East Scotland’, in Monica Janowski and Tim Ingold (eds), Imagining Landscapes: Past, Present and Future (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), 19-37.


Erik Reitveld and Ludger van Dijk – Exploring the skill of workshopping

Van Dijk, L. & Rietveld, E. (2018). Situated Anticipation (Under review, PDF available from authors)


Kate Smith – Attending to and articulating the material world

Bille, Mikkel, Frida Hastrup and Tim Flohr Soerensen, ‘Introduction: An Anthropology of Absence’, in Mikkel Bille, Frida Hastrup and Tim Flohr Soerensen (eds), An Anthropology of Absence: Materializations of Transcendence and Loss (New York: Springer-Verlag, 2010), 3-22.

Clark, T. J., The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing (New Haven, 2008).

Dewey, John, Art as Experience (New York, 1958)

Gibson, James J., The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (London, 2014)

Hannan, Leonie and Kate Smith (2017). Return and Repetition: Methods for Material Culture Studies. Journal of Interdisciplinary History. XLVIII(I): 43–59. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/660244/pdf

Pamela H. Smith, Amy E. W. Meyers and Harold J. Cook, Ways of Making and Knowing: The Material Culture of Empirical Knowledge (Chicago, 2014).


Alexandra Supper – Workshop ethnography

Goodwin, Charles (1994). Professional Vision. American Anthropologist, 96(3): www.jstor.org/stable/682303


Sally Wyatt

Collins, H.M. (2001). What is tacit knowledge? In T. Schatzki, K. Knorr Cetina & E. von Savigny (eds). The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. London & New York: Routledge.

Solnit, Rebecca (2005). A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Edinburgh: Canongate.



See outcomes

Op-ed in Times Higher Education by Paul Craddock on use of videos in research.

Video of Marres event, Fieldnotes.

Logbook posts, see this website.


We are extremely grateful to those who are supporting this workshop: the Maastricht University Science and Technology Studies (MUSTS) research group, where the Making Clinical Sense project is based; Maastricht University’s Technology & Society Studies secretaries and the hotel school management staff planning the workshop; and the European Research Council (ERC) and the Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC) for making this event possible through their generous funding.



See logistics

Getting to Maastricht

South Limburg, the region which houses Maastricht, juts out from the south of the Netherlands only to be encircled by the borders of Belgium and Germany. This geography means that getting to the city can be something of a challenge. While also offering conference participants a valuable lesson in trans-European transport infrastructure, this should be borne in mind when making travel arrangements.

Airports offering relatively convenient public transport links with Maastricht are Eindhoven, Brussels and Amsterdam Schiphol. Maastricht can be reached by train in less than two hours from both Eindhoven and Brussels. The journey from Schiphol is around three hours but is comfortable and fairly straightforward. As the largest airports near to Maastricht, Brussels and Schiphol are the best options for participants coming from outside of Europe. Other international airports which are close-by but which offer less convenient public transport connections – routes from either taking between two and three hours – are Cologne-Bonn and Düsseldorf. See the map below for the locations of these airports (blue) as well as the conference venue (purple). Cars may be hired from each airport listed and road links are generally faster than public transport, there is parking available at the Hotel School.

Participants from the UK might also consider taking the Eurostar with a ticket to ‘any Belgian station’, changing in Brussels and then in Liège, where you will also need to buy an additional ticket to Maastricht. By the time of the workshop, Eurostar should also be running direct from London to Amsterdam, where there are direct onward connections to Maastricht.

Getting to and from the workshop venue

The workshop itself will take place just outside of the city, in the Hotel Management School Maastricht. As a place of teaching and learning, a hotel school run by students and their teachers, it offers a particularly apposite place for our discussions.

We can arrange transport for participants arriving on Monday 9th July, please let us know ahead of time if you would like transport from the city to the Hotel School, as well as what time you plan to arrive. If you would prefer to make your own way to the workshop, it is a 10 minute taxi ride or half an hour’s walk from Maastricht station. While there are no direct busses from the city to the venue, the 3, 9 or 30 leave from the station and stop in the vicinity of the Hotel School, the 30 will take you closest to the venue. You can also take a train from the main station to Maastricht Noord, the Hotel School is around a ten minute walk from this station.

Transport will also be arranged in order to get into Maastricht on Wednesday 11th.

If you have any questions, or any particular needs with regard to transport, please get in touch with our department secretaries, Cindy and Jacqueline, secr.philotss@maastrichtuniversity.nl.

If you have any questions or needs regarding your accommodation at the Hotel School, please get in touch with them directly, citing the Making Clinical Sense Workshop.

Hotel Management School Maastricht
Bethlehemweg 2, 6222 BM, Maastricht, Netherlands
+31 (0) 43 352 8282