Date and Time
25th Apr 2016 12:00 –– 29th Apr 2016 12:00
The Burn, Glenesk, Brechin

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 field notes 
  • Audiovisual methods 
  • Taking care of yourself in the field


Course outline and programme

The course takes place at The Burn and is residential from midday on Monday 25 April until midday on Friday 29 April 2016. 


Monday, 25 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, 26 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 Workshop TBA

4:00-6:00 After dinner / early evening Free Talk by Dr. Thomas Strong (Maynooth University)

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. Workshop TBA

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, 27 April programme

9:30-11:00 Taking Care of Yourself in the Field

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. Taking Care of Yourself in the Field
Fieldwork has many challenges, from taking care of your health, to allowing for family life, to ensuring an effective balance of work and rest.  This workshop will address some common pitfalls and concerns of fieldwork and offer practical tips for ensuring that your time in the field – whether down the street or across the globe – is safe, effective, and even enjoyable.

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, 28 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, 29 April 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


The venue

We will be staying at The Burn, a lovely old estate in Aberdeenshire. Please take time to familiarise yourself with The Burn by looking at their website:

A few key things to note:

  • Alcohol is on sale at The Burn. They do not allow guests to bring their own alcohol. Please respect this rule!
  • The grounds of The Burn are great for walking or running, so feel free to bring your gear. There are also outdoor sports and indoor games.
  • Mobile reception at The Burn is spotty, and while there is WiFi, it is not the fastest. So, please be prepared to be less connected than normal.


To register for this event please go to eventbrite: 


Please direct any questions reagrding STAR 1 to Mhairi Aitkenhead at


Last updated 27 Sep 2017 10:36am