xcol. An Ethnographic Inventory

A digital inventory–co-curated with Adolfo Estalella (Complutense University of Madrid)–for the documentation of inventive forms of ethnographic inquiry, which seeks to intervene in current forms of anthropological practice and learning.

xcol is an inventory of the endless invention that is integral to any ethnographic inquiry. It takes as its departing point the idea that ethnography is an act of invention: Anthropologists, and ethnographers in general, have to invent how to investigate with others. xcol documents and curates the relational inventions produced by anthropologists with their counterparts. The inventory offers four kinds of inventions: fieldwork inventions for ethnographic inquiry (field devices), pedagogical methodologies and venues for the apprenticeship of ethnography (open formats), interventions towards the inside of the discipline of anthropology drawing inspiration from our fields of study (intraventions), and material experiments in anthropological practice at the hinges of the ethnographic (prototypes). Anthropologists, ethnographers and close companions are invited to join this open inventory.

Its initial development was funded by the Laboratory of Experimental Visual Anthropology (LAAV) of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Castilla y León, Spain (MUSAC). PIs: Adolfo Estalella & Tomás Criado.

The project was awarded the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) ‘Making and Doing‘ Award 2021.


Adolfo Estalella

Carmen Lozano Bright

Funding Body: AEI

Programme: Ramón y Cajal

Reference: (RYC2021-033410-I) 

Start date: 2020

End date: 2025

Tomás Sánchez Criado

Principal Researcher


Adolfo Estalella

Principal Researcher