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Research & Evidence: The Intelligent Hand

For many anthropologists, their work involves delving into obscure corners of humanity’s past; for Trevor Marchand, a Canadian-born anthropology professor in England, the field offered him a way to look into the work of living master artisans, identifying what it took to build their skills, and why such difficult, physical work still matters.


“I think it’s extremely important,” he says, “for the general public to understand the diversity of knowledge that goes into producing something with the body.” Marchand, a former architect, has now spent his career parsing, identifying, and describing every layer of that knowledge base. For the past 17 years, he has been teaching classes on this topic as a professor of anthropology at London’s prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies.


For those of you who have followed our work recently, Marchand spoke eloquently about these issues in a documentary short we recently presented, called “The Future is Handmade.” Now he goes further in another mini-doc, which he directed himself, called “The Intelligent Hand.” Since the film, which follows a group of wood-working students at East London’s Building Crafts College, might be a bit long for some of you (it’s just over 20 minutes) Marchand was kind enough to allow us to present a condensed version, of about six minutes, which you can see below.


See the complete blog HERE