The 5th international symposium Why the World Needs Anthropologists is organised by the EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists) Applied Anthropology Network in cooperation with several other institutions and is also a result of the PEOPLE project. The event will take place on Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29, 2017 in Arnold Wolfendale Lecture Theatre Calman Centre, Durham, UK.

The theme of the symposium is POWERING THE PLANET. Energy is an indispensable part of our domestic and working lives. Therefore, we need to develop smart and sustainable energy systems that are environmentally responsible and people-friendly.

The symposium again brings together speakers from the academia, industry, and in-between – they will give their talks on the first day of the event. BENJ SYKES (UK Country Manager and Head of Programme Asset Management in DONG Energy's Offshore Wind Power) will talk about the role of communities in the future of energy production and how engineers might work with social scientists on the introduction of new energy technologies. TANJA WINTHER (Associate Professor at Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo) will draw on her experiences to explore what role could or should be played by anthropologists in the search for solutions to the energy dilemma – provision of modern energy for all and sustainable production and consumption. In her talk on the development of solar energy, SOPHIE BOULY DE LESDAIN (Expert Researcher at Electricité de France, EDF) will show how anthropology provides insight into the issues involved in the installation of Photovoltaic by the locals. And VERONICA STRANG (Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University) will share her insights into the ‘power of materials’ in her talk on Empowering Infrastructures: Water, Steel and Stone.

The second day of the event includes workshops on energy and careers related topics, delivered by anthropologists, practitioners, and NGOs:

  • Low Carbon Energy for Development NetworkEthno-engineering: How to work appropriately with technical practice innovations in culturing skills for renewable energy.
  • EnergethicsAccounting for Energy: The roles of corporations in aiming for a sustainable future and how anthropological insights help asking the right questions.
  • ASA ApplyInsightful Jobs: Anthropological training focuses on developing the practice of participant observation and the analysis of related insight. This workshop brings together anthropologists and non-anthropologists to understand the underlying processes of anthropology and consider how it applies in different contexts.
  • The Culture AcademyBuilding Corporate Cultures of Sustainability: Providing participants new insight to understand the role of sustainability in companies and tools to embed sustainability in its DNA and create a change.
  • Sandra BellMining History: A walking tour of Durham featuring its hidden history as the centre of what was once the largest coalfield in England (includes visit to Redhills, the HQ of the Durham Miners Association).

(Find the full programme and other important information here.)

Visit us at our PEOPLE project stand at the symposium’s “Energy Hotspot, or alternatively, follow the entire event through live streaming brought to you by the PEOPLE project!

Remember to join our Facebook PEOPLE community and the organisers at the EASA Applied Anthropology Network for updates on this exciting event.



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