The PEOPLE project cooperates closely with the Applied Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), the largest European network for scientists and practitioners who believe that anthropological theories, approaches, methods and skills can also be used beyond academic boundaries. We are engaged in organising the annual symposium Why the World Needs Anthropologists, one of the results of the PEOPLE project.

DESIGNING THE FUTURE (2018) – First Announcement

Applied anthropologists, designers, and other experts and practitioners will be “Designing the Future” in Lisbon, on 26 and 27 October 2018, at the 6th Why the World Needs Anthropologists international symposium. Stay tuned for updates and news!


The 5th international symposium Why the World Needs Anthropologists took place on 28 and 29 October 2017 at Durham University.

The theme of the symposium was POWERING THE PLANET and we explored the questions of energy as an indispensable part of our domestic and working lives and the role of anthropology in the development of smart and sustainable energy systems that are environmentally responsible and people-friendly.

PEOPLE project was part of the symposium’s networking event Energy Hotspot. We presented our flyer and the second issue of the PEOPLE Newsletter, both hot off the press. As an introduction to the panel discussion with the speakers, we screened our new animated video and presented the PEOPLE approach and goals to the audience. We also brought the event online and worldwide by hosting the event’s live stream, now shared as five separate videos! Read more about our participation at the 2017 symposium here.

PEOPLE Flyer, PEOPLE Newsletter, Why the World Needs Anthropologists

The symposium brought together speakers from the academia, industry, and in-between, who gave 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) talked 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) drew 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) has shown how anthropology provides insight into the issues involved in the installation of Photovoltaic by the locals. And in her talk on Empowering Infrastructures: Water, Steel and StoneVERONICA STRANG (Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University) shared her insights into the ‘power of materials’.

The second day of the event included workshops on energy and careers related topics, delivered by anthropologists, practitioners, and NGOs. (Find the full programme here.)



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