Date and Time
27th Apr 2015 12:00 –– 1st May 2015 14:00
The Burn, Glenesk


Scottish Programme of Advanced Training for

Social Anthropology PhD Students, STAR 1

27 April - 1 May 2015

The Burn, Glenesk


This workshop is specifically designed for postgraduate students in Social Anthropology departments in Scotland, who are finishing their pre-field work training. Last year, this included sessions on:

  • Writing fieldnotes
  • Working with Archives
  • Sound and fieldwork

Course outline and programme

The course takes place at The Burn and is residential from midday on Monday 27 April until midday on Friday 1 May 2015. 


Monday, 27 April programme

12:00-2:00 Arrival and lunch

2:00-3:00 Introductions and practical arrangements

3:30-5:00 Writing Fieldnotes (Casey High and Robert Wishart)

5:00-6:00 Free

1. Writing fieldnotes
We start the week's formal events with a short session on fieldnotes. Fieldnotes occupy a curious place in the anthropological imagination - everyone writes them, few show them to anyone else, and there is an odd reluctance to talk about them. We will use an opening discussion on fieldnotes in general to set up some criteria for things we would like fieldnotes to do (e.g. Tim Ingold's recently announced ambition to re-embed description - not just literary but graphic and performative - in observation). We will then launch pairs of students on the task of writing notes through the week, with a modest prize for the most imaginative and effective notes to be awarded at the end of the week. 

Jean Jackson (1990) I am a Fieldnote: Fieldnotes as a Symbol of Professional Identity. In Fieldnotes: The Makings of Anthropology, Roger Sanjek, ed., Ithaca: Cornell University Press: 3-33

Tuesday, 28 April programme

10:00-11:00 Initial group formations and developing the student led agenda (led by Naomi Haynes)

11-11:30 Break

11:30-1:00 Student group work (with assistance as necessary from available staff)

1:00-2:30 Lunch

2:30-4:30 Audio-visual methods and data management (led by Alex King)

4:00-6:00 After dinner / early evening Free Talk by Dr Rupert Stasch (Cambridge)

1. Initial Group Formations
Issues to be explored by the students will be brainstormed, and clustered into four or five areas. Groups of students (both pre- and post- fieldwork) will form around each main cluster.

2. Audio-visual Methods and Data Management
Sound recordings have long since been an important component of ethnographic fieldwork, especially in the context of formal interviews. This session will explore the technologies and techniques anthropologists today to record and manage data, recognising the increasing importance of video documentation. It will allow students to familiarise themselves with and experiment with the kinds of audio-visual equipment and methods they might use in their own fieldwork. It will give particular attention to the importance of meta-data in managing the data generated through these methods to make it valuable in their subsequent dissertation writing.

3. Student Group Work
Each group will break away and start to think how they want to address each of the areas they have identified as priorities to be addressed.

Wednesday, 29 April programme

9:30-11:00 Sound and fieldwork (led by Stephanie Bunn)

11:00-11:30 Break

11:30-1:00 Student Group work

12:30-2:00 Lunch

2:00-6:00 Afternoon Free Before Dinner / After Dinner Talk by Professor Tim Ingold

1. Sound and Fieldwork
Fieldwork is a multisensory experience, and this interactive session explores the senses in anthropological work, focusing in particularly on sound.

2. Student Group Work
Further development of the areas to be addressed by students, and final preparation for their presentations / sessions for the next day

Thursday, 30 April programme

9:30-11:00 Feedback group 1

11:00-11:30 Break

11:30-13:00 Feedback group 2

12:30-14:00 Lunch

14:00-17:00 Feedback remainder groups

1. Feedback
All groups facilitate their sessions as they wish. Staff act as resource as and if students see fit.

Friday, 1 May programme

9:30-10:30 Fieldnotes project wrap-up

10:30-11:00 Break

11:00-12:00 Evaluation and plans for follow-up

12:00-2:00 Packing up, departure


Please direct any questions reagrding STAR 1 to Mhairi Aitkenhead at



To register for the event, please go to eventbrite.  

Last updated 15 Jan 2015 4:50pm