To find out more about each university’s course follow here.
WORKSHOP SESSION 1 11:30
Anthropology of Heritage: Economic Development
In this session, we will explore some of the social changes initiated by heritage-based economic development by looking at case studies of heritage tourism in Antigua, Guatemala and Machu Picchu, Peru. We will discuss issues such as gentrification and infrastructure, overcrowding, power relations, and cultural resilience.
Room: BP Lecture Hall
Alanna Cant, The University of Reading
What is love?
Romeo & Juliet, Beyonce & Jay-Z, Anna & Kristoff… popular culture supplies us with plentiful images of star-crossed lovers, powerful chemistry, and romantic proposals. Are these a good guide to what love looks and feels like? And is love a universal human experience? In this workshop, participants will be encouraged to reflect on what love means to them, what their own experiences have taught them about love, and about the power of culture to shape expectations of relationships, desire and intimacy. We will then explore anthropological case studies of heterosexual and same-sex love in different societies around the world before circling back to consider whether or not these encounters alter our own conceptions.
Jessica Johnson, The University of Birmingham
Learning to play the game: how migrants become ‘legal’ in Italy
Whether motivated by humanitarianism or a desire to control borders, contemporary debates on migration in Europe consistently focus on “illegal” border crossings. Much less is known about the everyday workings of immigration law inside borders. Drawing on in-depth fieldwork in Italy, this workshop will explore how migration processes actually play out on the ground and the unexpected consequences that are produced.
Anna Tuckett, Brunel University London
Crises, which crises? Doing anthropology in the 21st century
Critical political economists have coined the term “poly crisis” to capture the many upheavals holding planet earth and humanity in their grip. Climate, global warming, global warring, greed-elation (as an inflation driven by runaway corporate profits), the lingering Covid-19 pandemic, supply chain insecurities, housing prices, are but some of the many challenges facing humanity. This workshop casts the spotlight on some of anthropology’s many research pathways for capturing lives in crises. We invite participants to delve with us into the many uprisings, revolutions, technological advances as well as backlashes and ruling class repressions across human responses to crises, past and present and in time and space. The workshop will address themes from social anthropology and biological anthropology.
WORKSHOP SESSION 2 12:25
Falling in Love with a Robot?
Anthropologists do fieldwork in many different places; they may go to study the culture of remote islands and secluded villages, but they are as likely to be studying scientists in laboratories or engineers on building sites.This workshop looks at our everyday relationship to technology. Participants are invited to reflect on their own use of technology (smartphones, laptops, chatGPT etc.) and about the emotional bonds that we form with our devices. What does it mean to be human in a world in which machines are programmed to simulate human communication and contact? Through anthropological case studies we will explore how roboticists from different cultural backgrounds think about “human nature” and how they imagine the next twenty years of human-machine interaction.
Fabio Gygi, SOAS University of London
Bodies and Performances
In the West, a beautiful body is often defined as a thin body. It may be surprising to learn, then, that in other cultures entirely different ideals of beauty exist. Among Fijians, for example, a full, rounded body is desirable, and is proof that a person is well cared for by their family and community. Bodies and bodily performances are important across all cultures and have been throughout history. Quite often, however, the very same bodies or practices carry different meanings depending on the respective cultures. In this workshop we will explore some anthropological approaches to the body, considering practices such as tattooing, piercing, scarring, masking, and wearing clothes, and find out how they express differences in individual, ethnic, religious, or gendered identities. Students will be venturing into the space of the British Museum to gather examples from past and contemporary peoples, which we will discuss together.
Evan Killick, University of Sussex
Conspiracy Theories and Their Truths in Times of Confusion: Anthropological Perspectives
Conspiracy theorizing thrives in times of radical uncertainty, such as during the Covid pandemic or in relation to the war in Ukraine. Partly because of the negative connotations of the term “conspiracy theory,” there is a strong tendency to dismiss them out of hand. By contrast, an anthropological approach starts with the “actor’s point of view” to examine what role such theories play in navigating an uncertain, opaque, and unjust world. Simultaneously, anthropologists emphasize that a “point of view” is always socially constituted and can be manipulated to various effects. The session will present examples of Lab-leak theorists, online Covid truth-seekers, and Ukraine War denialists to examine both the worldviews of the involved, and the truth trajectories of their theories.
Mathijs Pelkmans, London School of Economics and Political Science
Dexterous Digits: how 5 million years of evolution shaped our extraordinary human hands
The modern human hand is one of the defining anatomical characteristics of our species – empowering us to make and use tools that helped set us on an extraordinary evolutionary trajectory. In this workshop you will have a unique opportunity to directly examine the fossil evidence for the evolution of the human hand, beginning with our closest ape relatives, the hands of the earliest human ancestor, and through to modern humans (including the recently discovered hand fossils of Australopithecus sediba, Homo naledi, as well as Homo habilis, Homo floresiensis aka ‘The Hobbit’, and Neanderthals). The workshop will also offer participants the opportunity to use examples of lithic technology, and will be led by leading researchers in hand evolution from Professor Tracy Kivell’s APE Lab at the University of Kent.
Chris Dunmore, The University of Kent
Disease, Death and Dissection: Evidence for Health Care in Past Societies
This workshop will explore the evidence for disease and medical intervention on human remains from the medieval to the Victorian period. We will discuss how we can interpret this evidence to determine levels of health care in past societies.
Heidi Dawson-Hobbis, University of Winchester
WORKSHOP SESSION 3 14:10
Politics and Relationships in the US: An Anthropological Perspective
In this talk, Dr Siobhan Magee will discuss her research on marriage and other relationships in Virginia, USA. Personal relationships are very often at the centre of how people think about and discuss their lives, but they are also of great interest to governments, faith groups, activists, and the general public. The talk shows how marriage laws in Virginia have changed in line with changing attitudes towards ‘race’ and sexuality. It also discusses how changes to marriage law might themselves have the power to change social attitudes. How do anthropologists learn about history and memory in the place where they are doing research? How might they explore both big news stories and very personal memories?
Siobhan Magee, University of Edinburgh
And So What Have we Learned from Brexit?
Since the Referendum vote on EU membership in 2016, the issue of “Brexit” has continued to be one of the most contested and divisive issues in Britain in recent times. Plenty of political debates circulated (and continue to do so!) that mobilise the idea that residents of “left behind” places delivered the result and used the referendum as protest. This workshop interrogates this idea and explores what people in one of the most deprived areas in the north of England have to say about Brexit, their vote, their community and their futures. The scales of uncertainty surrounding this momentous, protracted time in Britain’s current emerging history are manifold and the claims to expertise and knowledge no longer resonate with the experiences and perspectives of ordinary citizens in Britain. Everyone has an opinion, but not one person has a clear answer. What are we to do as anthropologists?
Katherine Smith, University of Manchester
Exploring Cross-cultural Universality and Diversity in the World’s Music
Music is a human universal, yet there is huge variation in traditional musical styles, genres and instruments across cultures. Anthropologists can therefore study music as a window into both human universality and diversity. In this interactive workshop, we will use music as a case study to explore how anthropologists use cross-cultural data in our research. We will use publicly available folk music databases, including audio recordings and written descriptions, to investigate both the opportunities and challenges of cross-cultural research. We will focus in particular on the issue of objectivity in research – to what extent is it possible (or even desirable) for researchers to catalogue and analyse musical diversity in an impartial manner? All welcome – no musical training necessary!
Sally Street, Durham University
7 Million Years of Human Evolution in 45 Minutes!
In this interactive workshop you will work with others to learn about shifts in what counts as biological knowledge and to think about how we use the human body to make difference and index social identities. Be prepared to speak from your heart, to learn things that will go against your gut reactions and to encounter others in the room in ways that could re-make your world – and theirs. No preparation necessary except an open mind. Darwin’s dangerous idea? And then some!
Simon Underdown and Sam Smith, Oxford Brookes
From Pith Helmets to Post-Colonialism: A very brief introduction to contemporary anthropologies
The workshop includes a quick history of anthropology, how and why we do research and overview of current domains at UCL, their relevance to the world today and big issues and broader professional applicability outside of academia.
Daniel Artus, UCL
WORKSHOP SESSION 4 15:05
Bringing them Home: the contribution of forensic anthropology for the repatriation of soldiers remains
During the 20th century, many countries have lost thousands of civilians and soldiers around the globe in cities and on different battlefields. Today, these remains are still being discovered, sometimes unexpectedly, and other times as results of a programmed search. Forensic anthropology is crucial for investigating human rights violations and for the recovery, identification, and repatriation of human remains. This presentation will describe cases where forensic anthropologists contributed to reconciliation and justice, serving humanitarian, legal and historical needs.
Matteo Borrini, Liverpool John Moores University
Are Humans Naturally Monogamous?
Divorce rates are high; single parenthood is common. Do you ever wonder whether humans are naturally monogamous – or is monogamy culturally imposed? We’ll take you on a journey deep into our evolutionary history to reveal the forces that shaped the way we live and love – and it’s not pretty. Early primate social life was hard; groups are complex, challenging places to live. Large brains were the primate solution to the problems of group living, but they came at a cost. Large brains take a long time to grow leaving infants vulnerable; new suitors are inclined to kill off their stepchildren. Infanticide threatened our future, monogamy was a revolutionary way to secure it. No other mammal practices monogamy within large social groups, humans are unique. It is only by looking back into our evolutionary past that we can make sense of how we live now.
Kit Opie, University of Bristol
University Admissions and Careers with Anthropology: your questions answered
We have 5 panelists discussing their own experiences as anthropologists, the different career paths anthropology can lead to and an insight into University admissions. Our panelists consist of Nicole Aleong, Design Anthropologist. Simon Roberts, Founder and partner at Stripe Partners and Board President of EPIC People. Elizabeth Ewart, Associate Professor in the Anthropology of Lowland South America. Caterina Sartori, Film Officer & Film Festival Director at RAI; Phd candidate in Visual Anthropology & Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths (University of London). John Loewenthal, Teaching Fellow in Education at The University of Edinburgh.