Knowing Things: Materiality and the Production of Knowledge

Network Lead: Emma Martin (ICP)


This group aims to be a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative research group that reflects on the agency, affect and aura of material culture in the processes of knowledge production. The group will identify, develop and exchange theories, practices, and methodologies applicable to a wide-range of academic disciplines. Equally, the group will take a broad view on materiality and it hopes to incorporate researchers working on everything from art to anthropology, hair clips to highways, and sheet music to scientific instruments. 

Planned activities

The group aims to hold an annual conference, plus a series of focused seminars and workshops. We plan to co-produce research and things with colleagues in Manchester’s cultural institutions and create a materiality-based research methods programme for doctoral students. A long-term aim is to create an OA journal that provides PhDs and ECRs with valuable publishing and editorial experience. 


The group’s core membership includes researchers from across the School, Faculty, and the wider University. There is also a desire to incorporate those who think with things professionally – including colleagues from Manchester’s museums, libraries, archives, workshops, laboratories and studio spaces. The core research group includes: