I originally trained as an artist and continue to work in painting, drawing, photography, video, and sound. During my earlier role as Photographic Officer at the Royal Anthropological Institute in London I spent time returning collections of 19th century anthropological photographs to their original communities in Sikkim, Himalayas; New Mexico, USA; and the Solomon Islands, South Pacific. I have curated exhibitions – such as The Impossible Science of Being at the Photographer’s Gallery in 1995 – and organised conferences - Beyond Text? Synaesthetic and Sensory Practices in Anthropology, University of Manchester 2007.
I teach visual anthropology – both theoretical and practice-based modules – and am concerned with helping students explore a really wide range of creative possibilities for using audiovisual media within an anthropological framework, and in collaborating with them as they develop their own working practices.
- PhD Social Anthropology, University College London 2002
Teaching and Supervision
I am interested in the practical and theoretical connections between anthropology and contemporary art.
To explore these overlaps I have collaborated and worked with artists – such as Dave Lewis (http://www.focaalblog.com/2015/08/03/dave-lewis-field-work/ ) – initiated conferences - such as Fieldworks: dialogues between art and anthropology, Tate Modern, London, 2003;– and published co-edited volumes – Contemporary Art and Anthropology (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Contemporary-Art-Anthropology-Arnd-Schneider/dp/1845201035 ); Anthropology and Art Practice (https://www.bloomsburycollections.com/book/anthropology-and-art-practice/); Between Art and Anthropology (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Between-Anthropology-Contemporary-Ethnographic-Practice/dp/1847885004 )
I am currently working on completing a book based on my recent three-year Leverhulme research fellowship – A Life More Photographic (looking at everyday photographic practices in the UK) - as well as continuing a project on artificial glaciers and environment, and providing ‘internet-in-a-box’ to communities in Ladakh, northern India.
In terms of audiovisual work I continue to experiment with the possibilities of using digital video, sound, drawing, animation, and photography within anthropology.
Publications and research outputs
Wright, Chris. 2013. "The Echo of Things": The Lives of Photographs in the Solomon Islands. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-5510-6
Cox, Rupert; Irving, Andrew and Wright, Chris, eds. 2016. Beyond text?: Critical practices and sensory anthropology. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-8505-5
Wright, Chris; Cox, Rupert and Irving, Andrew, eds. 2016. Beyond Text? Critical practices and sensory anthropology. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-8505-5
Wright, Chris and Schneider, Arnd, eds. 2010. Between Art and Anthropology: Contemporary Ethnographic Practice. London: Berg. ISBN 9781847885012
Charity, Ruth and Wright, Chris, eds. 1995. The Impossible Science of Being: dialogues between anthropology and photography. London: Photographers' Gallery. ISBN 978-0907879473
Wright, Chris. 2020. The New Art of Ethnographic Filmmaking. In: Phillip Vannini, ed. The Routledge International Handbook of Ethnographic Film and Video. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 49-60. ISBN 9780367185824
Cox, Rupert; Irving, Andrew and Wright, Chris. 2016. Introduction: the sense of the senses. In: Rupert Cox; Andrew Irving and Chris Wright, eds. Beyond text?: Critical practices and sensory anthropology. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 1-19. ISBN 9780719085055
Drever, John L.. 2016. Ochlophonic Study: Hong Kong. In: R. Cox; A. Irving and Chris Wright, eds. Beyond Text?: Critical Practices and Sensory Anthropology. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 110-111. ISBN 978-07190-8505-5
Wright, Chris and Cox, Rupert. 2012. Blurred Visions: Reflecting Visual Anthropology. In: Richard Fardon; Olivia Harris; Trevor HJ Marchand; Mark Nuttall; Cris Shore; Veronica Strang and Richard A Wilson, eds. The SAGE Handbook of Social Anthropology. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781446201077
Wright, Chris. 2009. Faletau's photocopy, or the mutability of visual history in Roviana. In: Christopher Morton and Elizabeth Edwards, eds. Photography, Anthropology and History: Expanding the Frame. Farnham, Surrey ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate: Ashgate, pp. 223-240. ISBN 978-0-7546-7909-7
Wright, Chris. 2018. Uncertain Realities : Art, Anthropology, and Activism. FIELD: A Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism(11), pp. 1-11. ISSN 2694-0094
Wright, Chris. 2008. “A Devil's Engine”: Photography and Spirits in the Western Solomon Islands. Visual Anthropology, 21(4), pp. 364-380. ISSN 0894-9468
Wright, Chris. 2004. Material and Memory: photography in the western Solomon Islands. Journal of Material Culture, 9(1), pp. 73-85. ISSN 13591835
Wright, Chris. 1998. ‘The Third Subject: perspectives on visual anthropology’. Anthropology Today, 14(4), pp. 16-22. ISSN 0268540X
Wright, Chris. 1997. ‘”An Unsuitable Man”: the photographs of Francis R. Barton’. Pacific Arts, 15/16, pp. 42-60.
Wright, Chris and Lewis, David. 1996. Tricky Positions: A Conversation Between Dave Lewis and Chris Wright. Anthropology Today, 12(2), pp. 12-16. ISSN 0268-540X
Further profile content
The New Art of Ethnographic Filmmaking
Book Section - Phillip Vannini, ed. The Routledge International Handbook of Ethnographic Film and Video. Routledge, pp. 49-60.
Ways of Working
Book Section - Anthropology and Art Practice Arnd Schneider and Christopher Wright (eds) Bloomsbury Academic
Grants and awards
A Life More Photographic: mediated presence and photography’s possible futures
Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship