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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Dr Tessa M. Pollard, DPhil

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology

(email at


Tessa applies approaches from medical anthropology, public health and epidemiology to investigate everyday physical activity practices and their relationships with health and wellbeing. She is particularly interested in using ethnographic methods to explore the impact of interventions to promote walking for leisure and travel. She leads the Department of Anthropology’s Physical Activity Lab, which hosts a variety of technologies to objectively measure active and sedentary practices.

Tessa currently supervises PhD students working on understanding the rise of organisations that promote physical activity alongside volunteering, on self-management of diabetes in Malawi and on disentangling the effects of sex and gender on physical activity.

Research Interests

  • Understanding the place of physical activities in everyday lives
  • Using ethnography to inform interventions
  • Walking and walking groups
  • Evolutionary perspectives on physical activity
  • The health of migrant populations

Selected Publications

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Research Groups

Department of Anthropology

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

  • Physical Activity Special Interest Group

Research Projects