Department of Social Anthropology

Dr Stephanie Bunn

Senior Lecturer

Dr Stephanie Bunn

Phone: (01334 46) 2997

Office: Room 57, United College

Availability: Tuesday 2-4pm


Pastoral nomadism, material culture, human-environment relationships, learning and skill, childhood, space and perception, vernacular architecture


I am an anthropologist specializing in Material Culture. My background is in the arts, having worked as a sculptor and curator before I came into anthropology. I obtained my PhD (2000) from the University of Manchester, based on research among pastoral nomads in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia.

See also the PURE research profile.

Academic qualifications

BA, PGCE, MA (Econ), PhD

Selected publications


2010. Nomadic Felts. London: British Museum Press

Edited volume:
SJ Bunn (ed and trans) 2007 Kyrgyzstan Firenze: Skira/Rizzoli

Web Publications:

2014. Woven Communities research website at

2008. (ed. with web designer Mike Arrowsmith) Sound and Anthropology  Interactive Proceedings from the Conference Sound and Anthropology , University of St Andrews June 2006. 

Selection of articles in journals and edited volumes:

2015. Who designs Scottish vernacular baskets? Journal of Design History

2015. Weaving solutions to woven problems. In T. Marchand (ed) Craftwork as problem-solving. London: Ashgate

2014. Making plants and growing baskets. In E. Hallam and Tim Ingold (eds) Making and Growing: Anthropological Studies of Organisms and Artefacts. London: Ashgate

2012.  Felt as a change-maker in contemporary Kyrgyzstan. In M. Ferris (ed). Making Futures: The Crafts in the Context of Emerging Sustainably Aware Agendas.

2012.  Form and space in the nomadic tent. In Toronto Studies in Central and Inner Asia No 11

2012.  A Making Point of View: Deep Knowledge from Local Practices with Special Reference to Felt-making in Kyrgyzstan. In Journal of Museum Ethnography, 24

2011.  Materials in the Making. In Redrawing Anthropology T Ingold (ed). Surrey: Ashgate

2011.  Moving people and the fabric of society: the power of felt through time and place, Central Asian Survey, 30:3-4, 503-520

2010.  Nomadic Felts. London: British Museum Scholarly and Academic Publications.

2010.  From enskillment to houses of learning. In Pathways to Anthropology. (eds) P. Basu and S. Coleman. Anthropology in Action Special Edition, Winter 2010. Pp45-59

2010.  Animal Knowledge: thinking through deer and sheep in Kyrgyzstan. In Animals and Science. M. Bolton and C. Degnen (eds), Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

2010.  Animal knowledge. In Animals and science: from colonial encounters to the biotech industry. M. Bolton and K. Degnen (eds). Cambridge Scholars Press (8500 words)

2009. Tush ki'iz/tus ki'iz: Kyrgyz and Kazakh embroidered tent hangings. Joint paper with Chris Martens. In Hali Magazine January 2009.

2008. Transformations. In Fieldnotes and Sketchbooks (text for conference installation at ASA Creativity Conference 2005). (Ed) Wendy Gunn. Hamburg: Peter Lang

2008.  Küt and Dzhut: Food and Famine in Central Asia. In Toronto Studies in Central and Inner Asia No 9

2007.  Tush ki’iz/tus ki’iz: Kyrgyz and Kazakh embroidered tent hangings. Joint paper with Chris Martens. In The Textile Museum Journal, Washington.

2005. From the Domestic to the Divine: Kyrgyz Textile Imagery. In Toronto Studies in Central and Inner Asia No 7

2003. The Relationship Between Land and People in Rural Kyrgyzstan. In Toronto Studies in Central and Inner Asia No 6
2002. Mobile and Flexible Vernacular Architecture. In Living in Motion.  Vitra Design Museum Exhibition Catalogue: Weil-am-Rhein.

2001. Collecting for the British Museum. In Behind the Scenes at the British Museum, (eds) Burnett, A. and Reeve, R. The British Museum Press: London


Research interests

'Since 2012, I have been working on the Woven Communities project, an AHRC funded ethno-historical and archival research project into Scottish vernacular basketry. The project is developing an interactive website, gathering data through both practical interventions and a blog in collaboration with local basket-makers, the Scottish Basketmakers Circle.

I am a participating member of the Knowing from the Inside Research group, an ERC funded project based at the University of Aberdeen, under Tim Ingold. This practice-focussed research project is concerned with the relationship between craft and anthropology. Recent seminars and events include at the Bauhaus in Weimar  (on sewing) and at the Vooruit in Ghent (on the creative act).'

My research among Kyrgyz pastoralists has focussed on human-environment relations, domestic textiles and the use of space in the nomadic tent. Within this, my main concern has been the relationship between the body, the home and the wider environment with a specific focus on pastoral nomadism, and on learning, the senses, orality and material culture.

During my early research I participated in the U.N.E.S.C.O. Steppe Route Expedition across Central Asia as the textile expert on their scientific team. I was apprenticed to two Kyrgyz feltmakers, and studied the collections of early nomads at the Hermitage and the Ethnographic Museums in St Petersburg. I collected and curated two exhibitions, one about tent textiles for the British Museum, and one about pastoralism and sustainability for the Earth Centre in Doncaster.

Recent research projects have included working with surrealist artist Eduardo Paolozzi to study the artist's relationship with materials; researching material culture and human-environment relations among Kyrgyz diaspora in post-civil war Tajikistan; a collaborative interdisciplinary project on Sound and Anthropology with the London College of Communication; and most recently, new developments in Kyrgyz fashion and textiles.

Recent curatorial projects including co-curating the exhibition From Quilts to Couture, (2011) at the Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, and a forthcoming exhibition, Seeing in the Wider Sense (2012) a collaboration between artists and anthropologists at St Andrews Museum



Research students

Linda Scott, Shuhua Chen, Lauren McGough, Margaret Loney, Arran Calvert, Lucie Hazelgrove-Planel and Mark Mcerlean


SA5020: Anthropology, Art and Perception 1

SA5021: Anthropology, Art and Perception 2

MRes Anthropology, Art and Perception, Anthropology and Eurasia, Living with Material Culture and contributions to several other courses.

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