Group Belfast-Buffalo-Newcastle

Project on care, Spring semester 2010


Academic partners

George Hughes (CDEN Artist in Virtual Residence and Assistant Professor in Painting)

The Visual Studies Department of the University at Buffalo

15 students taking the Painting Processes class.


Dr. Maruška Svašek (Senior Lecturer in Anthropology)

School of History and Anthropology, Queens University Belfast

46 anthropology students taking the module ‘Love, Hate and Beyond’



Students in Buffalo and Belfast receive texts and quotes from interviews provided by Dr. Maruška Svašek, based on the themes  

1. Care, proximity and distance 

2. Rituals of care 

3. Ageing and care


The art students created works of art, inspired by the quotes. The anthropology students discussed the theme of care, inspired by the quotes, and designed research projects around the theme of care.  Anthropology students gave written feedback to the works made by the art students. A blog was created to facilitate interaction. In addition, the anthropology students were asked to write self-reflective stories of care. As these students were designing and conducting small research projects around the theme of care, the self-reflective excercise aimed to stimulate then to think about:


  1. ethical dimensions of doing research on sensitive issues such as care
  2. emotional dimensions of fieldwork
  3. empathy as methodological tool


  1. the social dynamics and pressures and pleasures of care
  2. culturally specific discourses and performances of care
  3. other differences in terms of gender, age, etc.
  4. specific types of care (parental care, spouses, siblings, elderly parents, disabled people)
  5. the importance of rituals of care
  6. care-related emotions such as love, guilt, anger, fear, etc.

The stories of care were anonymised, and the authors were asked to read and reflect on each others accounts.  Most students agreed to the publication of their individual stories on this website. As a collection of individual accounts, the stories of care form an extremely rich, and often heartbreaking source of knowledge about grief and mourning that can be used as a databank by anyone visiting this website.