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Anthropology in the Professional World Seminar Series

The seminars will be held on Wednesdays at Daryll Forde Seminar Room from 6.00pm. All welcome.


Spring 2019

13th February - 3pm (please note change in time!)

The Organisation for Identity and Cultural Development

Bruce White

The Organization for Identity and Cultural Development (OICD) aims to assist practitioners in the field of conflict transformation, counter violent extremism and peace and cohesion building. By breaking down often complex theories from across academic disciplines into applicable frameworks, and by creating easy to follow methodologies that can allow researchers and practitioners to gain access to identity-relevant data in the field, the OICD hopes to make important dimensions and root causes of conflict (and cohesion) accessible and practicable.

 The founder and current director of the OICD, Bruce White, is an anthropologist and honorary research fellow in UCL's anthropology department. Over the last three years the OICD has welcomed UCL anthropology students into its internship program. In this session/seminar, Bruce is keen to meet UCL students interested in applying their anthropological interests to positive social transformation. We will discuss the ways in which anthropological perspectives and methods have unique and important contributions to make to the world, both within the identity-related field but also beyond. Bruce will give a background to the OICD and discuss some current projects as well as what the OICD internship involves. Former and existing interns will add their voices to the discussion and help answer any questions.

27th February - 6pm (please note back to usual time of 6pm)

More tea, fewer messages: applying anthropology(?) to work in the media, education and conflict

Dr Kathryn Tomlinson, Director of Programmes, Conciliation Resources

After her anthropology degree, Kathryn knew she wanted to work in international NGOs, ideally at a fairly senior level, and fifteen years later she got there - albeit not necessarily by design! Kathryn will talk about her career in education and conflict research, in media for development and peacebuilding programming and management. She’ll discuss how being an anthropologist has, and has not, influenced and aided her work. Kathryn can provide insights from her own career, and from seven years of senior management and recruitment, of how to enter and navigate some parts of development, government and applied research with an anthropological background.

Kathryn overseas the global programmatic work of Conciliation Resources, an international peace building organisation committed to stopping violent conflict and creating more peaceful societies, through working with people impacted by war and violence, bringing diverse voices together to make change that lasts. Prior to this she was Regional Director, Asia at the BBC’s International development charity, BBC Media Action, overseeing operations of six country offices. Kathryn has a PhD in social anthropology, gained after fieldwork in rural southern Russia with displaced Meskhetian Turks, and spent a year in Aceh, Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami, working with Peace Brigades International in support of local human rights activists.   She has worked in a number of education and conflict research roles, for research institutes, INGOs and the UN, including fours years at the Ministry of Defence, helping government to use social sciences to understand and talk to people.

6th March - 6pm

The Future of Applied Anthropology

Aga Szypicyn and Anna Zavyalova, Stripe Partners

Anna Zavyalova and Aga Szypicyn are consultants at Stripe Partners, an ethnographic research agency working across technology, retail and FMCG industries. They will be joining us to talk about their experiences, as a trained anthropologist and a graphic / experience designer, of working in a small but fast-moving team with world-leading businesses. They will talk about applicability of diverse ethnographic and design methods to real business challenges, and share day-to-day stories of running a project: from recruiting participants, to doing fieldwork and running workshops. They will discuss the joys and the frustrations of ethnographic immersions across the world, from Brazilian favelas to Shanghai street markets. They will discuss a range of research topics, including evolution of autonomous shopping, user perceptions of AI, home buying experiences and the future of urban mobility.

Aga is a Consultant and Design Lead at Stripe Partners. She holds an MA in Narrative Environments from Central Saint Martins and is an award-winning communication and experience designer running her own studio that specialises in branding and urban storytelling. She had worked with agencies including four23, Household, CCD Design & Ergonomics, where she designed customer experience solutions for adidas, Oakley, Virgin Money, The British Museum and Reebok. She’s also an RSA Fellow and an active member of Urbanistas and Women in Innovation platforms.

Anna is a Consultant at Stripe Partners. A trained anthropologist, she is passionate about applying the ethnographic method to real business challenges. She has worked on projects spanning technology, healthcare and retail industries. With a particular interest in AI, Anna has carried out ethnographic studies of spoken interfaces, Smart Home, driverless cars and pharmaceutical R&D. Anna holds a BA in Archaeology & Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Social Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen.

13th March - 6pm

Writing anthropology and beyond: a conversation with Sigrid Rausing and Tahmima Anam

Sigrid Rausing; Tahmima Anam

Sigrid Rausing is the editor of Granta magazine, and the publisher of Granta books. She trained as an anthropologist at UCL, carrying out doctoral research on a collective farm in post-socialist Estonia, in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Her PhD was later published as History, Memory, and Identity in Post-Soviet Estonia: The End of a Collective Farm (Oxford University Press, 2004). A decade later she published Everything Is Wonderful, a personal memoir of her fieldwork research year in Estonia (Grove Atlantic, 2014). More recently she wrote a memoir about addiction in the family, Mayhem (Hamish Hamilton), which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize (2018). In addition, she has published numerous essays, columns and opinion pieces for newspapers and journals. Having written three books of very different genres, from the scholarly to the more personal, she will discuss how anthropology has influenced her diverse work.

Sigrid will be joined by Tahmima Anam, an anthropologist and a novelist. Her debut novel, A Golden Age, won the 2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book. In 2013, she was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. She is a Contributing Opinion Writer for The New York Times and was a judge for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, she was educated at Mount Holyoke College and Harvard University, and now lives in London. Tahmima will also be reflecting on the role of anthropology in her writing.

Organisers: Adam Drazin a.drazin@ucl.ac.uk


Autumn 2018

24th October - Saul Parker
Am I an anthropologist? Exploring interdisciplinarity and storytelling in applied research.

Saul Parker is a former student of UCL Anthropology and the founder of Creatures of Habit, an insight and creative strategy studio. He works with organisations from Silicon Valley corporations to one-woman NGOs, and does fieldwork all over the world. His practice involves ethnographic and documentary methods, and explores social and cultural change.

5th December - Barbara Verardo
An Anthropologist at the World Bank... and beyond!

Barbara Verardo spent two years living in a tribal village in a forested area of Northern India in pursuit of her doctorate in anthropology from the London School of Economics. After sharing the daily plight of the dispossessed, she decided to devote her life to improving the living conditions of those in poorer regions. She joined The World Bank through its Young Professional Program, where she worked for 10 years as a social scientist and program manager in South Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands... until she realized that reducing poverty cannot be achieved by aid alone. In 2010 she embarked on an Executive MBA at the University of Oxford, and in 2013 left the World Bank to set up Village Invest - a social entreprise to make credit work for the financially excluded in India.

Organisers: Antonia Walford antonia.walford@ucl.ac.uk