Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellows
2014 - 2015
DPhil, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, 2013
Iza is a social anthropologist whose current research interests centre on the social dimensions of creativity, motivation, life choices, and wellbeing. Her doctoral research examined the creation of meaning in life among older people in Osaka, and more recently she has explored narratives of hope and hopelessness in contemporary Japanese society.
Her current project is based on an ethnographic study of a group of young contemporary artists in Osaka, focusing on their experiences of the creative process as well as their ideas of meaningful work and the good life. Spanning a wide range of artistic genres, from improvised music and dance performances to multimedia installations, painting and sculpture, the project will aim to further our understanding of the world of Japanese contemporary art production through a focus on the social networks, values, and life choices of the artists themselves. At the same time, the research will seek to address broader questions about the relationship between cooperation, creativity and freedom in the context of art production. For example: how can or should artistic pursuits be balanced with other forms of work? What kinds of freedoms promote creativity, and when can too much freedom become a burden? What kinds of rules and constraints are beneficial for creativity? In what ways is creativity an inherently social process?