School of Social and Political Science

Research impact examples - Social Anthropology


Collaboration with DIGNITY, the Danish Institute Against Torture

Lotte Segal, Tobias Kelly and Jeevan Sharma

DIGNITY is a flagship actor in the anti-torture movement. Lotte Segal, Tobias Kelly and Jeevan Sharma’s longstanding partnership with DIGNITY is an outstanding example of a successful and impactful research collaboration. They:

Collaborated with Dignity and their partners to develop new techniques for the documentation of torture Advocated within international human rights mechanisms for more specific attention to be paid to the protection needs of survivors and witnesses of torture.
A particular impact success relates to Lotte Segal’s research insights on how a proactive workplace culture can deal constructively with high levels of secondary trauma across its clinical workforce. Using this evidence, DIGNITY reflected on its own working practices and devised measures to prevent vicarious traumatisation.
City of Edinburgh Council funeral services

Tobias Kelly and Jeevan Sharma

Tobias Kelly and Jeevan Sharma’s research on current international principles, protocols, and techniques for the documentation of torture and ill-treatment supported international organisations and NGOs to make their work more effective in relation to people living in poverty and other marginalised groups.

UNESCO recognition of Chagossian music

Laura Jeffery and Rebecca Rotter

Laura Jeffery and Rebecca Rotter have shown how long-term anthropological research can lead to international recognition for cultural forms and communities. Their work contributed to the inscription of Chagossian music on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Award for Gaelic-language fishing industry film

Drawing on his research on the significance of Gaelic language culture for Scottish fisheries policy, Magnus Course co-directed a film called Muir ar n-athraichean (Our Fathers’ Sea) that won Dùthchais as Fheàrr (Best Countryside film) in MG ALBA’s Gaelic short film competition FilmG. He also co-produced a BBC/Creative Scotland documentary Iorram (Boat Song) that was broadcast on BBC Alba on 1 January 2021.

Off-grid energy technologies in Africa and South Asia

Jamie Cross’s research on the design of off-grid energy technologies in Africa and South Asia convinced companies, charities, and trade organisations to address emerging challenges around electronic and electrical waste.

Beelines school project pack and Large Honeybee Collider

Rebecca Marsland

Rebecca Marsland’s research into the practices of beekeeping provides excellent examples of how we are making our research widely accessible and reaching new audiences. This includes:

An outreach project to create a Beelines project pack to support school pupils to engage with the subject matter. This work is ongoing and the pack is not yet complete. A project at the 2017 Edinburgh International Science Festival called the Large Honeybee Collider, which recorded more than 1,500 attendees.

Conscience Matters

Tobias Kelly’s research is concerned with transforming public understandings of conscience, including:

The Conscience Matters exhibition on conscientious objectors in the Second World War at the National Museums of Scotland (NMS) National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle. This was attended by an estimated 700,000 visitors. Alongside colleagues in History he is now collaborating with NMS and Commonwealth War Graves on a Royal Society of Edinburgh network focusing on Scotland’s experiences of the Second World War, as well as raising funds for a public memorial to conscientious objectors with the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre.