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Department of Anthropology


Building Indigenous Knowledge

Building Indigenous Knowledge - What is it?

A fieldwork and project-based student development opportunity co-developed by the University of Western Australia and Otago University open to Durham Geography and Anthropology students who show an interest in other cultures and a willingness to consider alternative views of the world. Interested students were required to develop their own research project, that was in line with the remit of the course, on topics such as indigenous issues, indigenous economies, and cultural/social/environmental sustainability. Three fully funded places were available to students, two of those highly competitive places were awarded to Durham Anthropology students, Vanessa Bradbury and Elizabeth Bradley.


Vanessa Bradbury

Vanessa’s project, developed with the help of Dr Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti, will be looking at what values indigenous cultures have towards well-being, specifically focusing on the cultural-natural reciprocal relationship, and how this may be of use to Western development systems in order to transition towards an active and engaged understanding of the world in which we live. Vanessa will use this project to great a foundation of work which she can then build upon for her third year dissertation thesis.


Elizabeth Bradley

Elizabeth’s project, developed with the help of Dr Kate Hampshire, will be looking at well-being within the Maori people; specifically within their physical, home and social/emotional environments. Elizabeth will use this framework to develop on understanding of how the Maori understand their place in the world, specifically whether they feel the negative impact of the world’s poor environmental state. Elizabeth will use this project as a basis for her third year dissertation thesis which will centre on how people in the UK view the environment is terms of their own well-being.


Congratulations to Vanessa and Elizabeth, and their respective supervisors, on this fantastic achievement.

(4 May 2016)

Visit to Natural History Museum

Anthropology students from Durham participated in a field trip to the Natural History Museum in London on Saturday, April 30th, to see first hand how human evolution and biological anthropology are communicated to the public. After an intense six hour drive, second and third year students toured the museum as to see how this world leading museum presents the natural world to the public before joining Durham Anthropology staff in the Human Evolution gallery. Recently renovated, and following on from a national exhibition on human evolution, the gallery details key events and interpretations of human evolution from the original of bipedalism to Neanderthal burials to the emergence and diversity of our own species, Homo sapiens. Students were encouraged to walk around the gallery, compare it to others within the museum, and reflect on how the exhibits and curators communicate some of the core concepts of Human Evolution that they have encountered in their lectures and seminars. Before preparing ourselves for the six hour commute back to Durham, and over ice-cream, Durham Anthropology staff and students discussed how well the gallery communicated its ideas and concepts to the general public, what they would have liked to have seen added, and even managed to critique aspects of the gallery for being too basic (a reflection of the knowledge they’ve acquired whilst studying at Durham Anthropology).


The 12 hour coach commute aside, the trip was enjoyed by both students and staff and offered the former a new perspective on Anthropology and how it is disseminated to various audiences; whilst also offering insights into the various career trajectories open to them upon graduation. Everyone was happy that they got to see the famous ‘Dippy’ and newly mounted Stegosaurus.

(4 May 2016)

Van Mildert College Trust Postgraduate Research Scholarship

Applications for October 2016

Van Mildert College Trust invites applications for the 2016 Van Mildert College Trust Research Scholarship. One scholarship is available, which covers tuition fees, complimentary accommodation and meals within Van Mildert College and a stipend of £5500 per annum for three years, commencing in October 2016.


Applications are welcomed from all subject areas and candidates must possess, or be expecting to obtain, a first class honours degree or equivalent. Applicants must demonstrate outstanding potential to undertake research at the highest level. Applications in the form of a curriculum vitae and a 1500 word statement of the research project to be undertaken should be submitted FAO Professor David Harper, c/o The Development Officer, Van Mildert College, Durham University, Mill Hill Lane, Durham, DH1 3LH, UK or electronically to before 17.00 on 1 May 2016.


Candidates must provide the contact details of two academic referees and are encouraged to make contact with potential supervisors to discuss their research project statement prior to submission. Short-listed candidates will be required to apply online for acceptance onto a PhD programme at Durham University prior to the Trustees making their decision on the award.


Please note: Durham University students who are currently registered for a PhD are not eligible to apply for these scholarships.


Informal enquiries about the scheme should be directed to the Development Officer, Dr Martin Brader, in the first instance (

(22 Apr 2016)

Durham Anthropologist Speaking at the BHA Annual Conference

Dr Thom Scott-Phillips is Senior Research Fellow in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Durham University will be speaking at this year's BHA Annual Conference. Other speakers include Shappi Khorsandi, Alice Roberts and Polly Toynbee.

Thom researches evolutionary and cognitive approaches to the human mind and culture, and in particular to communication and language. His first book, Speaking Our Minds, was published in November 2014. Among his major prizes and awards are the British Psychological Society’s prize for Outstanding Doctoral Research (2010). Thom delivered the Darwin Day Lecture 2016 in Newcastle.

For more information on the BHA Annual Conference click here

(19 Apr 2016)

The Spectral Wound Shortlisted for Best Ethnography Award

Congratulations to Nayanika Mookherjee who's book The Spectral Wound was Shortlisted for Radio 4's Thinking Allowed's BBC/BSA Best Ethnography Award. Check out the Radio 4 discussion below.

(13 Apr 2016)

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