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Social Anthropology

Kate Goodrich

I loved my degree in Social Anthropology, a chance to be 'professionally' nosy about other people and their lives, and an opportunity to see the world from a different angle or two.

My head of department at the time described anthropology as 'like philosophy, but with the people in it' - which I thought was a great description.

So armed with this most practical of degrees I set out into the world.

I first got involved with VSO through the Anthropology Department and spent a year overseas in Chile working as a trainee in women's education. At this stage I had possibly consumed too much anthropology and viewed every strange thing I witnessed as a cultural manifestation of something or other ... and after a while (and with the help of some of my Chilean friends) I realised that it wasn't all about culture, but also about poverty and mental health issues.

I returned to the UK and spent five years managing a small charity which placed volunteers from the UK and overseas in projects in inner city locations across the UK.

Following this, I got envious of all the work the volunteers were doing and some of the fascinating organisations we were able to place them with, so I decided I needed to learn a 'trade' and then offer this skill to a worthy organisation.

I returned to university and did a master's in Applied Theatre (basically doing drama work in the community in a variety of settings). I went on to work with Theatre in Prisons and Probation (TiPP) with my role being about working with young people across the North West who were either in prisons or involved in community sentencing.

The work was about a variety of things; them expressing issues that concerned them, having opportunities to practice alternative strategies to 'criminal behaviour' and often was about creating drama and laughter in places which were often boring and depressing.

It was also an eye-opener for me and the work could be personally tiring, frustrating, tragic and funny.

Most recently I have just returned from Australia where I spent 2 years working for a Youth NGO where I was responsible for promoting and 'doing' youth participation work. I now have baby twin boys and so currently spend most of my time in a sleep deprived haze back in Manchester.