Nathalia Sofie Brichet
IVH, Sekretariat og drift
Grønnegårdsvej 15, Opdates når der aftales skriveplads, 1-11
Researching and exhibiting Agriculture and Extractive Industries
Currently I’m based at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences where I focus on how optimized agricultural industries in Denmark respond to increasing demands for a green transition. I do this by exploring how materialities (bodies, infrastructure and technologies) structure, enable or obstruct a green transition in Danish agro-industries. Concurrently I research an old Study Collection used for teaching agricultural and veterinary students since the 18th century. I investigate how previous research in Danish husbandry has shaped the Danish farming landscape in various ways. As such I use the Collection as a material archive of priorities within the history of Danish husbandry where it enables an analysis of how the now optimized, efficient and globally competitive sector came about.
Together with the Collection’s preservation specialist Annika Normann Andersen and associate professor Frida Hastrup I work to make new exhibitions in a newly furbished gallery venue available at the former Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University of Denmark – now Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences.
Simultaneously I collaborate with the Design Museum of Denmark, the National Museum of Greenland and a group of artists to open an exhibition on the gold and ruby mining industry based on my former fieldworks in Greenland (2013-2017). The two exhibitions are expected to open in 2021/22.
In 2018 I worked as a postdoc for the Medical Museion where I explored the potentials of a highly treasured object – a sample of cholera-infected feces that was collected and sealed in a glass bottle in 1853. I did this in dialogue with a group of scientists who recently revisited the unique bottle and voiced a wish to open it.
I’m a former postdoctoral researcher with the AURA project headed by Professor Anna Tsing (“Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene” http://anthropocene.au.dk/da/) (2015-2018). Before that I was part of the research project “Natural Goods? Processing Raw Materials in Global Times” headed by associate professor Frida Hastrup (http://naturalgoods.saxo.ku.dk/) at the University of Copenhagen, which funded my postdoc research in 2013-2015. In both projects I explored extractive industries in Greenland and Denmark, focusing mainly on gold, rubies and brown coal. I asked what kind of landscape is produced as a result of former (gold) mining activity and how environmental standards are qualified in the field. Further I investigated what it takes, apart from a geological deposit, to make valuable Greenlandic rubies. And finally in the AURA project and through interdisciplinary fieldwork we investigated the kinds of life that re-inhabit the sandy dunes and the unstable ground that resulted from brow coal mining activities. Overall our research was experimenting with forms of collaborative praxis, multispecies noticing and ways of doing fieldwork in a world where nature is traversed with human activity.
I received my PhD in Anthropology in 2012 from University of Copenhagen. In my PhD at the National Museum of Denmark I investigated the collaborative reconstruction of a former Danish plantation in Ghana and how people involved engaged with a colonial past that in the project was framed as a ‘common heritage’. I explored what happens when differences in such collaborative heritage work meet and awkwardly interact, without glossing over the tensions involved. For more see: https://www.matteringpress.org/books/an-anthropology-of-common-ground
Since my PhD I have been engaged in exhibition work, using fieldwork to collect, discuss and exhibit anthropological analyses in collaboration with people I engage with, be they interlocutors, curators or colleagues from museums in Denmark, Ghana, Great Britain, Greenland, US Virgin Islands and mainland USA. I have curated collaborative exhibitions at the National Museum of Denmark, the National Museum of Ghana, the Moesgaard Museum, and the Maritime Museum of Denmark.
Exhibiting and collecting things and analyses via fieldwork activities have long been an integral part of my anthropological praxis. I started out making a rather big collection in relation to my PhD about the reconstruction of a former Danish Plantation in Ghana. Apart from being in close dialogue with people involved this collection was inspired by an early and rare collection of every-day objects from the same area in Ghana.
Together with Frida Hastrup I was the initiator of a large collection called – Collecting Climate Change – that entailed asking 15 researchers to collect what they saw as the gradual changes in the climate in 15 different places around the world. I myself collected from COP15 in Copenhagen 2009. The collection was a collaboration with the EU funded research program “Waterworlds. Natural Environmental Disasters and Social Resilience in Anthropological Perspective”, headed by Professor Kirsten Hastrup and initiated in 2008. Most of the items are now kept at the National Museum of Denmark.
In relation to the AURA and Natural Goods projects I have collected objects in the brown coal beds and in Greenland – both telling stories about extractive industries and the landscapes they leave behind. The collection formed the basis for the exhibition on brown coal mining in Denmark that was opened at Moesgaard Museum in 2016. The collection from Greenland will be an integral part of the exhibitions to be opened at the Design Museum Denmark, and the National Museum of Greenland.
In 2011 I made a short film about amulets for the Welcome Collection in relation to the exhibition Miracles and Charms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZgvzyduNhs
If you have any questions or want to know more, do not hesitate to contact me.