Anthropology, Permaculture and Earthship Ironbank
This presentation will explore the contributions that anthropology can make to the scholarship of permaculture through discussion of anthropological fieldwork that is currently being undertaken by Dr. Keri Chiveralls at the Earthship Ironbank workshops in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. Earthship Ironbank is the first council approved building of its type in Australia, a natural building project that utilises ‘waste’ materials (primarily car tyres), ‘natural’ materials (primarily earth and straw), and other conventional materials, to create a simple one-bedroom Earthship that would function as a living laboratory and bed and breakfast on Dr. Martin Freney’s property in Ironbank in the Adelaide Hills. Approximately 60 people, including Keri Chiveralls (as ethnographer and participant observer), participated in the workshop components of this project during the Easter and Summer workshops of 2014, mainly from a period of between 1 to 5 weeks, many of them camping on site, learning new skills, meeting new people and sharing ideas. The presentation reflects on the cultural significance of the workshops along with how interactions at Earthship Ironbank contributed to the broader development of permaculture practices beyond the workshops. The paper concludes with some reflections on the relationship between the disciplines of anthropology and permaculture.