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We will be hosting panels and lab events at three major Anthropology conferences later in 2018. We’ll be at the EASA in Stockholm in August, where we plan to collaboratively develop new codes of practice to be shared with professional associations and institutions. We’ll be at the ASA in September in Oxford, where we are looking forward to teaming up with colleagues from Australia and New Zealand leading the #MeTooAnthro movement and discussing safer practices and spaces in our field sites and our institutions. And last but not least, funding provided, we hope to be attending the AAS Annual Conference in Cairns, Australia. Later in 2018 we will be hosting friendly networking events and code of practice development sessions – watch this space!
14-17 August 2018, Stockholm, Sweden
The New Ethnographer: addressing contemporary challenges in fieldwork (lab)
These two two-hour labs will host discussions on the contemporary challenges of ethnographic fieldwork. Researchers’ attempts to talk about their challenging fieldwork experiences are often silenced or dismissed as being the result of bad or unethical practice. This lab opens a space to counter this current institutional silence. Composed of four sections, the lab will host four one-hour discussions on challenges in fieldwork under the themes of: gender; mental health and well being; ethical digital research methods; and safety. We invite non-academics with relevant experience (NGO work, safeguarding training, insurance experts) as well as academics who have conducted fieldwork or have relevant knowledge in gendered methods to participate. Participants are invited to join these discussions having familiarised themselves with The New Ethnographer website and relevant blog entries, and come prepared to discuss the development of new codes of practice for universities. Each lab session will be drawn up into codes of practice to be shared with participants, and disseminated through our professional associations and universities.
18-21 September 2018, Oxford, United Kingdom
The New Ethnographer: contemporary challenges in anthropological research (Ant03, Examination Schools Room 11, 9am 21/09/2018)
This panel addresses the body and the mind of the ethnographer, as the site of a diverse convergence of experiences during fieldwork. Although it has been acknowledged in anthropology that our bodies are our tools of research, the impact of this reality on our bodies is under-explored. As multiple layers of violence dominate the sites that many of us choose to study, ethnographers constantly negotiate relationships and positionalities in ways that can put them in danger. While international organisations often have protocols for staff working in difficult contexts, many universities do not. The staff of such organisations praise the freedom of anthropologists to work without security restrictions, and yet this has in many instances led to devastating consequences. Researchers’ attempts to talk about their challenging fieldwork experiences are often silenced or dismissed as being the result of bad or unethical practice on the part of the researcher. Acknowledging that similar protocols would struggle to capture the complexities of ethnographic research, this panel opens a space to counter the current institutional silence on this subject. Building on existing research into the ubiquity of fieldwork challenges (Pollard 2009) and the importance of treating such experiences and emotions with intellectual rigour (Davies and Spencer 2010), this panel asks how our institutions and professional associations could better support researchers experiencing challenges in the field.
Networking and planning session
Date TBD, London, United Kingdom.
Following our panels and labs this summer we hope to bring together a community of like-minded academics, professionals, students, and interested parties. We will be hosting a preliminary networking session in October in London to review the work we have done so far, recruit future contributions to our blog, and discuss a strategy for moving forward with our codes of practice and other new projects.
4-7 December, 2018, Cairns, Australia
How can anthropologists safely navigate risk and safety in their various forms while in the field? The New Ethnographer, a new online project collecting testimony and creating a space for discussion of the contemporary challenges to fieldwork asks lab participants to discuss and propose future training implications for methodological training. We call on institutional anthropology to recognise the myriad risks researchers place themselves in in relation to their physical and mental safety, where death and risk of death can be faced in a range of fieldwork environments.
The aim of the lab is to develop a code of conduct and reference for universities and anthropological associations that addresses risks to mental health, violence in the field, and gendered safety, all of which we see as interlinked. This code of conduct will acknowledge the unique challenges of contemporary fieldwork and creates a more supportive environment for anthropologists.
The lab asks participants to familiarise themselves with The New Ethnographer’s aims and content and come prepared to contribute testimony. We then ask participants to collaboratively develop a code of practice and references for institutional and anthropological association use to assist both staff and students in coping with these risks.