UCL Anthropology


Alex Tasker - Anthropology, Environment and Development MSc

4 February 2020

Alex Tasker AED MSc Alumnus

Studying anthropology, environment and development (AED) at UCL was a pivotal point in my career. In ten years of veterinary practice I had worked on several overseas projects and was looking to develop my analytical and academic abilities. The AED programme was a perfect step, equipping me with the intellectual foundations, practical research, and project management skills to move into more research-focused roles. I very much valued the way the course linked theoretical and pragmatic viewpoints, an approach which engaged students in lively debate and enabled us to bring personal experiences and interests into the teaching. Weekly sessions such as the Human Ecology Research Group (HERG) were an amazing opportunity to engage with a diverse range of scholars working on fascinating projects; having moved through a range of academic institutions I now recognise more than ever what a fantastic environment AED is for academics and practitioners alike.

Alex’s MSc thesis focused on NGOs and pastoralist communities’ perceptions of development in Northern Kenya. As a direct result of this work and the AED course he was able to secure PhD funding to explore some of the themes from his thesis further. He completed his PhD on co-created knowledge at the Institute of Development Studies and the University of Sussex in 2018; since then he has developed further research proposals at the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre, and he currently holds a Teaching Fellowship in the Anthropology Department at UCL. Alex continues to work with colleagues at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi and with the PASTRES project at IDS. In the future Alex aims to secure funding to explore how illegal and informal knowledge networks in refugee communities shape zoonoses and emerging diseases.