Why the World Needs Anthropologists

Why The World Needs Anthropologists is an annual symposium, which aims to show how practising anthropologists are relevant to the contemporary world and the most pressing issues facing humanity.

The event acts beyond its annual thematic focus

The Organising Committee welcomes presentations of various strands and forms of practising anthropology and ethnography-based research in particular programme sections such as Hotspot, Workshops and Perspectives.

The spirit of inclusivity

One of the primary goals of WWNA and the Applied Anthropology Network is to grow the community beyond exclusive professional boundaries.

The event thus welcomes all individuals, groups and organisations interested in the theme as well as the general values and principles of social anthropology.

Visiting several European countries and attracting 3000+ participants from varying disciplines and sectors, the flagship symposium of EASA’s Applied Anthropology Network has been providing a platform for discussion, collaboration and action since 2013.

The usual WWNA three-day model is as follows:

Day 1: “Knowing”

The first day is dedicated to knowing.
Topic-related talks are presented by the Speakers and followed by the Panel discussion.

The participants can mingle in the Hotspot fair and meet the event partners and sponsors presenting their projects, services or study programs. During Future Movements, selected participants will present their own case studies.

Day 2: “Making”

The second day turns out to be more interactive.

Starting with Perspectives, a Pecha-Kucha style presentation followed by a Q&A, the participants are warmed up for community-driven Workshops.

The day concludes with the Evening session, a plenary meeting that includes a brand new, bi-annual initiative Apply Award Ceremony.

Day 3: “Acting”

What’s coming next? Acting on new initiatives, collaborations and change-making ideas. The third day is an opportunity to prepare the stage for future steps.

The annual Applied Anthropology Network meeting and other network-related activities take place. In the meantime, the Assembly offers a communal platform for non-anthro colleagues.

Most people still imagine anthropologists as “bearded, sandals-with-socks obsessives” or “pith-helmet-wearing colonial adventurers living with ‘hidden tribes’ in the jungle”.

Clearly, it is high time to change the public perception of anthropology as an interesting but obsolete endeavour, as well as to dismantle the notion of “applied” as the “evil twin” of “academic” anthropology.

Let’s bridge the unhelpful divide between theory and practice. Let’s move beyond the principle of “Do No Harm” and instead seek to “Do Some Good”.

Careful reflections will remain necessary, but intervention is urgently needed.

- Dan Podjed

co-founders of WWNA and Applied Anthropology Network
taken from Why the World Needs Anthropologists (Routledge, 2021)