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Following Caroline Gatt's invitation to explore "anthropology otherwise" in an experiment set up as part of the project Knowing from the Inside (PI Tim Ingold), I initiated a collaboration on human sounds. It was situated in an academic context. There were some deadlines and I felt that my collaborator, a non-academic, considered me an agent of an institution that was putting pressure on her. Therefore, I asked less and less and did more and more myself, but I got stuck in a dilemma: this was no longer collaboration. I found myself in the role of the lawyer as Herman Melville portrayed it in his famous short story "Bartleby, the Scrivener": The lawyer's requests incited his scrivener Bartleby to do nothing except look out of the window. How can anthropologists convey the possibilities academia offers but also its requirements without being perceived as dominant? I discuss dilemmas that may occur in other collaborations and the conflicts that led to the failure of the collaborative project in which I had engaged. My aim is to show how anthropologists might communicate that they are only too well aware of the problematic aspect of anthropology but that anthropology opens up possibilities that are unique in academia.