With great sadness, because of the ongoing situation with regard to the Corona Virus, we will be closing the institute’s building on Monday 16 March indefinitely. All events until 1 September are postponed or cancelled. The RAI’s staff will be continuing to work as usual remotely after Wednesday.

We hope very much that our large conference ‘Anthropology and Geography’ can be reconvened for June 2022, and will discuss this possibility with our partners: SOAS, the BM, RGS and the British Academy.



The Publications Committee of the RAI invites proposals for the Special Issue to appear in 2022. Each Special Issue will be available in book form, and will be distributed by Wiley-Blackwell free of charge to RAI Fellows, and as part of the subscription to libraries taking the JRAI. The Special Issue will also be available for sale, and offered to RAI Members and Student Fellows at a 25% discount on the published price. The Committee is ready to consider all proposals that will meet the schedule and conditions set out below.

The Royal Anthropological Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Cearns and Laura Haapio-Kirk as Leach/RAI Fellows in Public Anthropology for 2020.

This is a new Fellowship, supported by the Esperanza Trust, intended to improve the profile of anthropology in public debate. Despite the potential of anthropologists to make vital contributions, politicians and the press are much more likely to consult economists, psychologists and a variety of other specialists. This Fellowship intends to amplify the voice of anthropologists in public arenas on topical issues such as climate change, migration, and global health, through a variety of media and events.

2020 Conference of the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Medical Anthropology Committee in collaboration with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dates: 3-4 September 2020
Venue: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London.


Deadline 12 May 2020

The Mobilising Methods in Medical Anthropology conference will be held 3 to 4 September 2020 at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Twilight Zone Anthropology. Voices from Poland Edited by Michal Buchowski. 2019. RAI/Sean Kingston Publishing. Vol. 2 of the RAI Country Series (Series editor David Shankland). Hardback, ISBN 978-1-912385-06-5, £60.00 (GBP), $35.00 (USD).

Paperback offer for RAI Fellows £20 (including P&P) obtainable directly from admin@therai.org.uk.

We are very pleased to announce the publication of Twilight Zone Anthropology: Voices from Poland (RAI/Sean Kingston Publishing 2019), edited by Michał Buchowski. This is the second volume resulting from the RAI’s Country Series, whereby we invite colleagues to describe the development and comparative breadth of anthropology in their country. So far, we have held celebrations of anthropology in France, Poland, Norway, Austria and – the most recent – Brazil. We hope that Norway and Austria will be published soon, whilst Brazil is in preparation.

Treasures from the RAI’s photo archive have been featured in The Guardian online. The photo essay – part of The Guardian’s ‘In Pictures’ series – includes some of the remarkable physical type portraits taken by Northcote Thomas in Nigeria and Sierra Leone in the early twentieth century.

Thomas was an Assistant Secretary of the RAI and subsequently serves on its Council. He was also the first Government Anthropologist to be appointed by the British Colonial Office. In this capacity he conducted a series of anthropological surveys in what were then the protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Sierra Leone. During the surveys, Thomas took thousands of photographs, made hundreds of sound recordings and assembled large collections of artefacts and botanical specimens. The RAI holds the original glass plate negatives of Thomas’s photographs and is a partner in the AHRC-funded Museum Affordances / [Re:]Entanglements project that is investigating the ‘archival legacies’ of Thomas’s surveys.

The latest FAII exams were held this summer and we are delighted that all three applicants, Alison Brough, Micol Zuppello and Helen Langstaff, were successful in passing. I am sure you will join us in congratulating all three on their achievement.  This means we have increasing numbers of Forensic Anthropologists moving through the certification process.  This is the first time that these exams were run with the new format and everyone on the exam board worked hard to ensure that the exams ran smoothly. The call for the next round of FAII applications is open and closes on the 6th January 2020. Practical examinations will be held in June 2020.

Dr Lucina Hackman, Chair of the RAI Forensic Anthropology Committee.

Huxley Medal 2020: Stephen Levinson

Trained as a social anthropologist, Professor Levinson has become a world leader working on the border of social anthropology and linguistics, crossing pragmatics, language history, universality of language, and the integration with neurobiology. He has recently retired from the Directorship of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

On 1st and 2nd May 2019 the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, the Learned Society of Wales, the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, and the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods co-organised a syposium on anthropology in Wales, hosted by WISERD at Cardiff University.

Social Anthropologies of the Welsh: Past and Present examined the development of social anthropology in Wales from the perspectives of both national scholarship and international engagement. The event brought together academics and those with an interest in Welsh history, the origins and development of contemporary Wales, and community studies.

A report on the event can be found on WISERD's website in Welsh and English.

Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard

At the RAI, we recently held a memorial event on the life and works of Evans-Pritchard. This was a great success, and our recent President André Singer is now editing the proceedings from it.


Edited by David Shankland, Director, RAI

Sean Kingston: RAI Occasional Publication Number 45

By special arrangement with the publishers, paperback copies are available privately to Fellows at the reduced price of £15 +£2.50 post and packing (where it needs to be sent). Please write to admin@therai.org.uk if any fellow would like one, or more copies.

Announcement: Schedule for Applications for Professional Certification in Forensic Anthropology

Applications are invited for those seeking certification at FAI, FAII and FAIII level.  The application process is detailed in the Application and Examination Procedures for Certified Forensic Anthropologist Level I, II and III, version 2.1 which can be found on the RAI website.

Leading forensic scientist, Professor Dame Sue Black has been appointed President of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (RAI) - the world's longest-established scholarly association dedicated to the promotion of the study of humankind.

The RAI is please to announce that the Wellcome Medal for 2016 has been awarded to Dr Elizabeth Hallam for her book Anatomy Museum: Death and the Body Displayed.

On Wednesday 26 July 2017, Ambassador Tsuruoka bestowed the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette on Prof Joy Hendry, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University and member of the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of Japanese studies in the UK and thus to deeper mutual understanding between Japan and the United Kingdom.

It was agreed at the meeting of the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute on 11 June 2015 that the title of Director Emeritus/Emerita should be conferred on our former directors Mr Jonathan Benthall and Mrs Hilary Callan.

The Anthropology and the Environment Committee of the RAI have put together a list of anthropologists who are interested in environmental issues.  This list is a resource for other anthropologists and for those outside anthropology looking for a particular expertise.

The list can be consulted here.

Anthropology & Photography is a new open-access publication series edited by the RAI Photography Committee. Emerging from the international conference of the same name organized by the RAI at the British Museum in 2014, the series will highlight and make available to the widest possible audience the best new work in the field.

We are eager to solicit new contributions from anthropologists and practitioners which could be visual, textual, or somewhere in between.

50 Years of Anthropology

The results of a British Academy funded project.  You can see the full report here.

The nature of the Index means that many of the articles we incorporate would be difficult to find via other means such as through Google Scholar or similar search engines, so in many ways the AIO gives a clear and the most complete picture we can hope for of what anthropologists have been discovering for the last 50 years.

The RAI is delighted to announce that its Director, Dr David Shankland, has been made an Honorary Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University College London.