UCL Anthropology


Previous Seminars

Anthropology in the Professional World Seminar Series 2018-19

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 2019

20 November - Dawn Walter

Dawn Walter is a social anthropologist who set up her own research company, Mundy & Anson, in Bristol in 2017. She is also the Founder of the annual Anthropology + Technology Conference, which brings together social scientists and technologists working in industry and academia to collaborate across the disciplines.

[Cancelled] 27 November - Gregory Thompson
Theatre Director and Programme Leader, UCL MA Creative and Collaborative Enterprise

Gregory Thompson is an award winning theatre director creating productions that combine ensemble performances with innovative stagings and actor-audience relationships. He’s directed for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Young Vic amongst others in the UK and his own company AandBC has performed Shakespeare all over world. Recent work includes directing THE WINTER’S TALE in Urdu in Karachi, Pakistan and HAMLET in Nepali in Kathmandhu, Nepal.

At UCL Gregory applies the principle and practices of ensemble theatre together with social theory and Lean Startup to enable students to create innovative enterprises where the way they do things is as important as what they do. In this talk Gregory will talk about setting up the New MA in Creative and Collaborative Enterprise which is run in collaboration with the anthropology department, and will outline how social theory and ethnography can be valuable in the framing and making of new enterprises.

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

Anthropology in the Professional World Seminar Series 2017-18

Spring 2018

21 February

Dr Richard Montgomery
Anthropology and Development: a View from DfiD

Richard is Director of the Asia, Caribbean and Overseas Territories Division of the Department for International Development.

17 January 

Hannah Mills
Rachelle Keeling Lombard
IPSOS Ethnographic Centre of Excellence


Rachelle Keeling Lombard studied as a cultural anthropologist before taking her PhD in Palaeoanthropology. She worked in television and documentary production before moving into ethnographic film work for market research, first in South Africa and more recently in London. Hannah has worked in the Ethnography Centre of Excellence at Ipsos MORI for the past three years, working in the automotive and FMCG fields before specialising in healthcare work. She recently won the 'Young Researcher of the Year' award at the 2017 Association of Qualitative Researchers conference.

The IPSOS Ethnography Centre of Excellence undertakes research work on a wide range of issues, often making a core use of ethnographic film. They have a growing presence in London, plus a network of anthropological researchers and ethnographers across the world. 

Autumn 2017

11th October - Gabrielle Ackroyd
Freelance Ethnographic and Anthropology Consultancy

1st November - Casey Scott Songin, British Museum
User Experience Research at the British Museum

29th November - Daphne Stylianou, Design Researcher, Stby London
Design Research and Consultancy as an Anthropologist

Organisers: Adam Drazin a.drazin@ucl.ac.uk and Ruth Mandel r.mandel@ucl.ac.uk

Anthropology in the Professional World Seminar Series 2016-17

Spring 2017

1st February - Stefana Broadbent, Cleanweb

Building iywto.com: How a digital anthropologist becomes a digital social innovator

Stefana Broadbent is the cofounder of Cleanweb an organisation that uses the web to address climate change, which operates IYWTO the most extensive existing platform of green digital services. Between 2014 and 2016 she was Head of Collective Intelligence at Nesta in London.

8th February - Dan Podjed, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
The Future of Applied Anthropology in Europe

Dan Podjed is a Research Fellow at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, an Assistant Professor for Anthropology at the University of Ljubljana, and a Development Fellow at the IT company CVS Mobile.  Since 2012, he has been coordinating the Applied Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA). He is also the founder and organiser of Why the World Needs Anthropologists, annually organised since 2013.

CANCELLED - 1st March - Anna Zavylova and Meredith Smith, Stripe Partners

Embodied Knowledge: using ethnography to build strategy

Stripe Partners is a London-based consultancy, which offers ethnographic research of different kinds.  It is established by anthropologists, and employs a number of ethnographers and designers. Anna is an anthropologist, while Meredith trained in design and innovation management.

8th March - Anita Herle, Senior Curator, Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, Cambridge
Museum Anthropology: Connecting People and Things

Anita Herle (BA, M.Phil, PhD, FRAI) is Senior Curator for World Anthropology, with particular responsibility for the Pacific and the Americas.  She has regional interests in Torres Strait, Vanuatu, Fiji and Canada. Her research topics include museum anthropology, the early history of British anthropology, art and aesthetics, and visual histories.

Autumn 2016

Cancelled - 26th October - Anna Zavyalova & Meredith Smith (Stripe Partners)
Embodied Knowledge: using ethnography to build strategy

Stripe Partners is a London-based consultancy, which offers ethnographic research of different kinds.  It is established by anthropologists, and employs a number of ethnographers and designers. Anna is an anthropologist, while Meredith trained in design and innovation management.

30th November - Elizabeth Cory-Pearce (Tavistock Institute)
Anthropological Threads in the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations Archive

The talk will be presented by Dr Mannie Sher, Dr Sadie King, and Dr Elizabeth Cory-Pearce.

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1947 that applies social science to contemporary issues and problems. The core purpose or ambition of the Institute is the study of human relations for the purpose of the bettering of working life and conditions of all humans within their organisations, communities and broader society. The Institute has a history of working with organisations and sectors that are required to look at systemic questions in order to achieve greater and more effective change. We engage in evaluation and action research, organisational development and change consultancy, and executive coaching and professional development all in the service of supporting sustainable change and ongoing learning. We publish the results of such work in our peer-reviewed journals, Human Relations and Evaluation, and we train students in or for any branch of that study. We operate as a bridge between policy and research, asking always 'What does this data mean?', and, 'How can we apply it to make sense of it in a way that will serve the purpose for which we work?' We work nationally and internationally to promote a learning culture in organisations and communities, developing individuals, groups and organisations in their capacity to think through their actions, and to put into practice new insights that enhance the quality of conversation and engagement. 

The Tavistock Institute Archive Project - of which our talk is a part - is the product of a unique collaboration between the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) and the Wellcome Library of the Wellcome Trust. The Archive Project is a cultural project which aims to celebrate and re-imagine the work of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations by making its archival material accessible, and engaging newly with it. Over 300 boxes of material dating back to the Institute's formation will be sorted, categorised and described. Our talk is a part of this project, and in it we attempt to begin to show the Institute's contribution to the evolution of applied social science in the public domain. The Archive Project aims to start new conversations; develop our audience; and invite engagement with new practice. The opportunity to come and talk at UCL is contributing to that emerging practice.

Organisers: Hannah Knox h.knox@ucl.ac.uk, Adam Drazin a.drazin@ucl.ac.uk and Ruth Mandel r.mandel@ucl.ac.uk

Anthropology in the Professional World Seminar Series 2015-16

Spring 2016

9th March
Anthropology in Industry meetup

Anthropology in Industry is "a space to discuss how anthropology is being applied in industry, to network with others, share experiences and gain inspiration".

This month's meeting, hosted by UCL anthropology, will focus on Anthropology in Not-For-Profits. We have a panel of speakers to discuss their experiences of working in not for profit organisations.

For further information and to sign up for the event please go to the event registration page

Autumn 2015

14th October - Dawn Nafus, Intel
Traversing: Doing Anthropology Inside and Outside Markets

Dawn Nafus is a senior research scientist at Intel Labs, where she conducts anthropological research to inspire new products and services. She has published widely on experiences of time, gender and technology, ethnography in industry, and most recently, quantification. She co-leads the Data Sense project, which created data processing and visualization tools for nonexpert use (www.makesenseofdata.com). She is the editor of Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life (MIT Press) co-author of The Quantified Self (MIT Press 2016) with Gina Neff.

4th November - Jim Mott, Bamm London
Smile Don't Smile: From the field to the cutting room floor

Jim is an Associate Director at BAMM London, a collective of photojournalists, videographers, strategists and researchers. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork across the world for some of the worlds biggest brands in technology, automotive, finance and FMCG. Jim is a regular speaker at research industry events, most recently he has spoken on Material Culture at the AQR annual conference and on the Material Culture of luxury at the MRS luxury conference. 

18th November - Dr Barbara Hendrie, DFID, Deputy Director Global Partnerships
An anthropologist's journey from UCL to Ethiopia, to Number 10, Iraq, the UN, and back again

Dr Barbara Hendrie, OBE, is a social anthropologist with 25 years' experience of humanitarian and development policy and operations. She joined DFID in 1999 and since then has led DFID's work on Poverty Reduction Strategies in Africa, Security and Development, Drivers of Change, Combatting Extremism and Radicalism through social inclusion, and Emerging Powers. Dr Hendrie led the UK reconstruction programme in Iraq during 2006 to 2008, including a year based in Baghdad. She was DFID's Chief Social Development Adviser from 2005 to 2006; most recently she was on secondment to the FCO from 2009 to 2013, as Counsellor for Development and Human Rights at the UK Mission to the UN.  She is currently Deputy Director of DFID's Global Partnerships Department. Prior to DFID, Dr Hendrie managed humanitarian programmes in the Horn of Africa, and carried out extensive social research on famine, refugees, the international politics of complex political emergencies, and land reform. She spent several years living in a northern Ethiopian village, and has travelled extensively in conflict zones of Africa, including 'behind the lines' with guerrilla movements. Dr Hendrie also spent two years as an Assistant Lecturer at University College London Department of Anthropology.

9th December - Helle Thorsen and Christine Saab, Ipsos Mori
Anthropology and the Ethnography Centre of Excellence at IPSOS

Christine is an applied video anthropologist in the Ethnography Centre of Excellence at Ipsos. She has a background in social anthropology, anthropology of Japan and anthropology of the Middle East.

Helle is an anthropologist in the Ethnography Centre of Excellence at Ipsos. She has a background in social and cultural anthropology and business anthropology, and has worked in Sri Lanka, Kenya and across Europe.


Organisers: Hannah Knox h.knox@ucl.ac.uk, Adam Drazin a.drazin@ucl.ac.uk and Ruth Mandel r.mandel@ucl.ac.uk

Anthropology in the Professional World Seminar Series 2014-15

Spring 2015

14 January - Gemma John (AECOM)
Designing Workspaces: Corporate Anthropology at AECOM

Gemma John completed her PhD at St Andrews in 2009. Her doctoral work focused on the reception, implementation, and use of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. She has since held post-doctoral fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh and more recently at the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change at the University of Manchester. She completed a diploma in interior design at the Interior Design School in 2014. She now works for AECOM as a research and strategy consultant within Strategy+.


28 January  - Elizabeth Franz (Open Society Foundation)
Beyond the ivory tower: reflections on ethnography and advocacy in the field of migration

Elizabeth Frantz is the program officer for Asia and the Middle East for the Open Society Foundations' International Migration Initiative. Her role is to design and manage a portfolio of grants aiming to improve the situation of low-wage migrant workers employed in Asia and the Arab region. In that capacity, she funds research, convenes meetings of stakeholders, engages in advocacy work and provides grants and technical assistance to support the work of civil society organisations. Elizabeth completed a doctorate in anthropology in 2011 at the London School of Economics. Her PhD thesis examined labour migration from South Asia to the Arab region through a focus on Sri Lankan domestic workers in Jordan. Before joining the International Migration Initiative, Elizabeth worked as a consultant with the Open Society Foundations' Arab Regional Office in Jordan. She has also worked as a researcher on issues relating to refugees and asylum seekers at the American University in Cairo's Forced Migration and Refugee Studies Program in Egypt. She has carried out research in Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, and Turkey.


11 March - Lucia Laurent-Neva (Founder & Director Visual Signo & Co-Founder Semiofest)
Anthropology & Commercial Practice

Lucia is a designer and anthropologist specialising in design semiotics and material culture. She has extensive experience in the development of tools for cultural analysis and design innovation through the application of design theoretical principles, anthropological and semiotic thinking. She is skilled in strategy, product & brand innovation and creative development. Lucia has over 15 years of experience working for commercial and non-commercial clients around the globe. She is the founder of Visual Signo, UK and Co-Founder of Semiofest (A Celebration of Semiotic Thinking).

Organisers: Hannah Knox h.knox@ucl.ac.uk

Anthropology in the Professional World Seminar Series 2013-14

Spring 2014

29 January
Daniel Kaplan, CEO Fing (the Next-Generation Internet Foundation), member of France's National Digital Council
Digital Disruptions

12 March
Nicole Dewandre, Advisor for Societal Issues DG CONNECT  European Commission
Hyperconnectivity: policy-making confronted to post-modernity!

19 March
Jenny Winfield (IDEO)
(Title tbc)

Autumn 2013

20 November
Leisa Reichelt, Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service (GDS)
User Centred Government


Organisers: Stefana Broadbent

Anthropology in the Professional World Seminar Series 2012-13

Spring 2013

In the Spring Vocational Talks series, anthropologists working in industry talk about their work. Exploring the relevance of anthropological ideas, the talks are generally informal and conversational in nature, looking at how, why and where people do anthropological work, the benefits and the problems.

Wednesdays 6pm in the Daryll Forde Seminar Room (unless otherwise stated)

27th February - Anthropology and Design at Intel
David Prendergast, Chiara Garratini

6th March - Anthropology at Canonical
Charline Poirier

13th March - Anthropological Consultancy
Simon Roberts, ReD Associates

20th March - Social Design Roundtable
7pm Daryll Forde Seminar Room

Please make a note in your diary to come along and meet the speakers.

Organisers: Adam Drazin, Stefana Broadbent

Autumn 2012

21st November - "Filmic experiments between art, ritual and ethnography"

The first Anthropology in the Professional World event this term is a screening by an Aboriginal film collective from Australia, followed by a discussion.


Film Screening

5th December - "Zuckerberg on a Matatu: understanding local context to revolutionise the startup world"

Franco Papeschi (World Wide Web Foundation)

Mobile Innovation Labs in Africa. Currently active in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal - the labs aspire to be community catalysts, training centres and incubation hotspots for transforming ideas into start-ups able to generate useful, sustainable services to local communities.

Anthropology in the Professional World Seminar Series 2011-12


Spring 2012

18th January - "Global Design Research: Local Fieldwork, Global Insights"

Geke van Dijk, Baas Raijmakers from STBY in London and Josephine Wong and Daniel Szuc from Apogee in Hong Kong

In this presentation some of the partners in the Reach network (a network of user research companies in Europe, India, China and Japan) help organisations to develop global insights from connected local studies. Together they explore people's practices and preferences, to identify new opportunities for service innovation. The talk will be given jointly by Geeke and Baas who are based in Europe and Josephine and Szuc who are based in Hong Kong.

25th January"Mobile technology, innovation and entrepreneurship: A view from the grassroots"

Ken Banks from Kiwanja.net and Frontline SMS

In his talk, Ken will discuss the impact of mobile technology in developing world - with an emphasis on the African continent - and how local entrepreneurs are finding new and innovative ways of exploiting this rapidly advancing technology. It will also discuss how this empowers grassroots NGOs, provide the history and background to the FrontlineSMS text messaging platform, and highlight some of the challenges in developing usable, human-centred mobile tools which work in resource-constrained environments".

22nd February - "Doing semiotics"

Sam Barton from Added Value Cultural Insights Team

In the eighties a number of marketers started trying to apply semiotics and structuralism to the commercial world. Whats at stake for the commercial and academic worlds when they come together like this? 

CANCELLED 29th February - "Zuckerberg on a Matatu: understanding local context to revolutionise the startup world"

Franco Papeschi and Aman Grewal from World Wide Web Foundation

Mobile Innovation Labs in Africa. Currently active in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal - the labs aspire to be community catalysts, training centres and incubation hotspots for transforming ideas into start-ups able to generate useful, sustainable services to local communities.

21st March "Tales of entanglement from Microsoft"

Richard Banks and Alex Taylor from Microsoft Research in Cambridge

As part of a social science-led group in Microsoft Research, we've spent a lot of time thinking about the relations between design, social life and technology. Predictably, we've been concerned with technological innovation. However, using perspectives from both design and sociology, we've also pondered on the seemingly endless entanglements between the social and technological. In this talk we'll discuss examples of our work and offer a flavour of applying these perspectives in a corporation like Microsoft.