Anthropology and Conservation News Summary – April

Patrícia Medici photographing Tapirs in Brazil
  "Patrícia Medici, Tapirs in Brazil" by Joao Marcos Rosa/Nitro.

The doors may temporarily be closed to the School of Anthropology and Conservation during the lockdown, but there is still plenty of activity to report. With staff and students working remotely, either planning research, consolidating data from earlier fieldwork or finding ways to study whilst in isolation, here is a summary of what has been going on amongst members of the School during the past month.

Academic news

Not content with hosting Jane Goodall for the 30th anniversary DICE Annual Lecture or receiving a distinguished Queen’s Anniversary Prize, two alumni from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) have been named as winners of prestigious Whitley Awards 2020. Patrícia Medici, who completed her PhD at DICE in 2010, was announced as the Gold Winner for her research into tapirs as conservation flagships in Brazil, building on her original Whitley Award received in 2008. Rachel Ikemeh, who graduated from the School in 2014, was also named a winner for her work advancing participatory conservation action for rare chimpanzees in Nigeria. The full story is here.

Professor Tracy Kivell and Dr Matthew Skinner have created several interactive educational materials aimed at primary and secondary school children to improve their understanding of human evolution to keep children mentally stimulated and entertained with home education.

Lecturer in Conservation Science, Dr Charlie Gardner, wrote a piece for The Conversation warning that, whilst the newly emboldened wildlife proliferating in empty Western cities brings joy in these times of lockdown, and a welcome reminder of nature’s resilience, the world’s wildlife won’t be saved by a temporary economic lull. To achieve that, nations are going to have to ensure conservation moves to the top of the agenda in the post-pandemic world.

Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology, Dr Daniela Peluso, is chairing the COVID-19 taskforce for the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America (SALSA). The taskforce have been urgently working to develop a website that collates articles, declarations, links and audio-visual materials to highlight indigenous, government and non-government actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about the initiative here.

And Postdoctoral Research Associate in Biological Anthropology, Dr Ameline Bardo, has been awarded a prestigious Cobb Professional Development Grant from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA). The grant will allow Dr Bardo to run the project ‘A helping hand: Investigating the 3D motion of human hand bones during Palaeolithic tool behaviours’. Full details here.


As most current DICE Masters’ students have had to alter their fieldwork plans because of the COVID-19 pandemic, alumna Sarah Humphrys, who studied for an MSc in Conservation and Rural Development in 2018-19 shared both an account of her time conducting field research in Madagascar this time last year and a video of her fieldwork highlights.

Currently studying for an MA in Social Anthropology and Visual Ethnography. Farah Hallaba has been making informal, short videos in Arabic explaining different aspects of what Anthropology is. For the eighth episode of Anthropology Bel3araby (Anthropology in Arabic), Farah explores how anthropology can help us understand the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and how it can inform how societies will adapt to a post-Coronavirus world.

And Will Hayes, studying for a PhD in Biodiversity Management at DICE on predicting and navigating future discord between gold mining and other livelihoods in Guyana’s rainforest, wrote a field diary of his research trip to the country conducted at the start of this year.


Finally, during these times of remote working and studying at home, undergraduate students from the School have been presenting tips and advice on methods and resources that will help us with our productivity and wellbeing. Here is a small selection:

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