Looking back on 2023

What a year! 
As 2023 is ending, we thought it was a good time to reflect upon the things we managed to do – and the things we are still planning to do – to contribute to making fieldwork safer for all. 
Holding workshops on researcher safety is how we started our initiative in the first place. In 2023, we held a workshop and a Q&A session with students in Marburg and Bayreuth. We always enjoy seeing how participants can apply our tools and concepts to develop their individual safety strategies. 
We were also thrilled to receive emails from scholars from various disciplines who engage with researcher safety and wanted to discuss the topic with us. Given that we have developed our concepts based on our experiences with and research about anthropological fieldwork, it is great to learn that our concepts and tools are also relevant for fieldworkers from other disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, or biology. 
We see safety as a topic of fieldwork methodology and have contributed to the conference of the German Anthropological Association with a roundtable in June 2023. The discussion, including the Q&A session, was fascinating and highlighted that fieldwork safety is relevant in various settings and across different career stages. Together with the roundtable speakers, we published a post on boasblogs in which we give an overview of the different perspectives. 
We are also proud to have published our manifesto in November 2023! Months of hard work went into writing and revising it, and we are thrilled to provide a document summarizing our positions and objectives. It has received great resonance so far, and we hope to spread it even further in 2024!
So, with everything we have achieved in 2023, what will come in 2024? We have quite a few events planned already, and a lot of ideas for new workshop topics and formats that we hope to realize next year! Furthermore, we want to continue our current activities and contribute to more exchange between people who find the topic relevant.

A big thank you!

In June this year, our co-founder Kira Kreft decided to leave our initiative to follow her long-desired career path in international development cooperation. Kira has enriched our initiative in many ways, particularly with her versatile experience in working abroad, and her practical and analytical approach to risk assessment. We enjoyed building up the initiative with Kira, and we have fond memories of planning the workshops and practicing the group exercises together.

Thank you for the amazing collaboration throughout the last two years. It was great having you in the Safer Fieldwork Project, Kira!

Trading Safety for Knowledge? Roundtable Discusson at GAA 2023

Encouraging a wider debate on safety in (ethnographic) fieldwork has been one of our main goals since the very beginning of this initiative. To this end, we host a roundtable at the Conference of the German Anthropological Association in Munich this year! We are more than happy that researcher safety features in the conference program, and hope that our contribution will spark greater awareness of the importance of the topic.

We will talk about topics including:

– the consequences of experiences of unsafety and violence for researchers, as well as our discipline,

– safety and inclusiveness of our discipline for researchers with various intersecting positionalities, 

– the limits of our discipline if we take the emotional and physical safety of researchers as a goal of ethnographic projects

We are very much looking forward to the discussion and hope for a large and diverse audience. The roundtable will take place on July 27th from 11:00 – 12:30 in room M 209, join us if you can!

If you would like to get a first impression, check out our contribution to Boasblogs

New publication and other updates

We are excited to announce that on 1st April, Laura’s Chapter “Predicaments of Power: Trust-based sexualized violence in ethnographic fieldwork” was published in the edited volume “Sexual Misconduct in Academia”, edited by Delyth Edwards and Erin Pritchard. Check it out here: https://www.routledge.com/Sexual-Misconduct-in-Academia-Informing-an-Ethics-of-Care-in-the-University/Pritchard-Edwards/p/book/9781032277516
We are also looking forward to a workshop at the University of Marburg and the GAA (DGSKA) conference in Munich where we will host the roundtable “Trading Safety for Knowledge. We are also currently finalizing our position paper and are working on other exciting projects – so stay tuned.

Exciting News!

We have several new things to share! First of all – as you have noticed – our website is online. There are some things we will add in the near future, including a position paper detailing our approach to fieldwork safety, so feel free to come back soon!

Also, we currently have two workshops scheduled, one at the post-graduate program (DFG-Graduiertenkolleg) “anschließen – ausschließen” at the University of Cologne in October, and one in an undergraduate seminar at Goethe-University in December.

In Cologne, we will hold our two-day workshop “Beyond Tales of Heroism” (See our section “Our Project” to learn more!). Developing this workshop format is the first thing we did together as an initiative about one year ago, so revisiting it definitely brings back some nostalgia! At the University of Frankfurt, we are invited to join a double-session of a methodology seminar, where we will hold our three-and-a-half-hours workshop “What could possibly happen?”. While the basic structure of the workshops remains the same, we always adapt the focus and our examples according to the people who register for our workshops.

And we are of course thrilled about our roundtable “Trading Safety for Knowledge? Perspectives on Risks and Wellbeing in Fieldwork” at the 2023 conference of the German Anthropological Association! The Call for Papers is still open until December 15, we are very much looking forward to your contributions. You can find our abstract here, feel free to write us if you have any questions!