7 Pages

Landscape with statues: recording the public sculpture of Sussex

ByJill Seddon

Within anthropology, ethnography, archaeology and cultural geography, the concept of

fieldwork has become problematised. As social anthropologist Ulf Hannerz wrote, ‘we

do not seem to know what the field is or where it should be, if it is real or perhaps

virtual and even if there has to be one at all’ (Hannerz 2006: 23). Despite this, there

appears to be a consensus that fieldwork is fundamental to these disciplines; a recent

report on university archaeology courses concluded that ‘graduates felt they should

have been exposed to more fieldwork opportunities during their degree, and that this

element of the course should be compulsory and its importance emphasised’ (Jackson

and Sinclair 2007: 28). The importance of being ‘out there’ in the field continues to be

stressed, but the meanings of that experience and the deployment of the data gath-

ered through it have come under scrutiny. Recent cross-disciplinary debate has encour-

aged a move away from what once appeared an uncomplicated performance of set

procedures of recording and compiling data, towards a much more reflexive considera-

tion not only of the significance of the role of the fieldworker, but also of her/his acts of