Past projects

View some of our recent major funded projects:

Other past projects

Planning for later life

Planning for later life: ageing and value among transnational Papua New Guinea

Karen Sykes participated as a co-investigator on this project funded by an Australian Research Council grant (worth AUD $250,000), working with Professor Rosita Henry and Dr Michael Wood (both at James Cook University, Queensland).

The study, which ran from 2014 to 2019, aimed to contribute to the understanding of the importance of intergenerational kinship relations in the care of the elderly.

Migrants in Anchorage

Migrants in Anchorage: an ethnography of Palestinians in London

With a British Academy Senior Research Fellowship, Michelle Obeid carried out research among Palestinian migrants to London. 

She focused on a Palestinian family that was displaced during the 2008 Gaza War and their experiences in creating a new home in a new city.

Michelle explored different trajectories of settling, and how these shape everyday practices that create a sense of holding fast in otherwise fluid times and places.

Eating money, eating time

Eating money, eating time: the value of time in Fiji

The Newton International Fellowship scheme funded Finnish scholar Matti Eräsaari, mentored by Karen Sykes, to research attitudes and values attached to time in Fiji.

The focus was on 'Fiji time', an idiom typically employed in reference to unpunctuality or relaxing. The project led to a 'Time and the other time: Trajectories of Fiji time' publication in History and Anthropology.

Genomics and child obesity in Mexico

Abril Saldaña-Tejeda, of the University of Guanajuato, who did her PhD in Sociology at Manchester, teamed up with Peter Wade for this British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship on 'Genomics and child obesity in Mexico: the resignification of race, class, nation and gender'. 

The project explored scientific and medical discourses on genetics and epigenetics in the context of the increasing rates of obesity and diabetes among Mexican mestizos and related these to ideas about race, class and national identity.

This led to several articles, including ones in the Ethnic and Racial Studies and the Medical Anthropology journals. 

Labour, law and hope in migrant Moscow

Near abroad: labour, law and hope in migrant Moscow

Funded by the University of Konstanz, Madeleine Reeves looked at the everyday practices of migrant workers, employers, labour brokers and landlords.

Madeleine used them as a lens to explore Russia's emergent migration bureaucracy at a time characterised by oil-fuelled capitalism, political authoritarianism and rising ethnonationalism. 

Big data and urban waste management

The ESRC-funded project led by Penny Harvey explored how big data was used for strategic policymaking in urban waste management services in Greater Manchester.

View our big data and urban waste management video for more on the project. 

Conviviality and contention in Southern Kyrgyzstan

Conviviality and contention in Southern Kyrgyzstan: An Infrastructural Approach

Madeleine Reeves won an International Collaborative Research Grant from the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research for the project.

The area where Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan meet often figures in popular and policy accounts as a region unusually liable to conflict, marked by great ethnic and geopolitical complexity. 

The project shed light on the dynamics through which local disputes were managed in the region by exploring the infrastructures which created certain kinds of public, while 'blocking' the emergence of others.

Social relations that formed around water channels and pipes, roads and public transport; markets, medical clinics and sacred sites (mazarlar) were looked at and provided alternative geography of social relations and social contention, from that which dominates in existing academic and policy studies.

Transforming borders

Transforming borders: comparative anthropology of post-Yugoslav home

A research grant from the Leverhulme Trust running from 2008 to 2011 to Dr Stef Jansen. For more information, read Stef Jansen's research website.

Fund: £124,622.

Air pressure

This project on aircraft noise, the US military and Pacific war memories in Japan and the Asia Pacific, directed by Dr Rupert Cox has been funded by a series of grants, including:

  • the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (2007 to 2012, £18,000);
  • the Wellcome Trust (2010 to 2011, £51,000);
  • the British Academy (2009, £7,000).

It was also the subject of an art installation in Manchester's Whitworth Gallery (2011 to 2012) and has been exhibited at the Albuquerque in New Mexico (2012 to 2013), the ISEA 2012 festival of electronic arts and the International Bideodromo 2012 festival of the experimental film (Bilbao, Spain).

Read more about the case study on aircraft noise.

Mastership in taxidermy

Mastership in taxidermy: artistic interventions in human-animal ontologies

A British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (2012 to 2013) was awarded to Dr Petra Tjitske Kalshoven for a project that uses the expertise that goes into contemporary artistic taxidermy as a lens to shed light on shifting conceptions of nature.

Life journeys

Life journeys: the role of interior dialogue and expression in negotiating terminal illness

Andrew Irving was awarded the ESRC grant, worth £52,000 in 2012 to 2013, to research the process by which people diagnosed with a life-threatening condition reclaim meaning, engage with society and establish a future while living with bodily instability and the possibility of death. 

Irving is carrying out related work on 'life journeys' in Kampala, Uganda, under the collective theme of rethinking media/reclaiming personhood, with a British Academy grant (£7,000 in 2011) and funding from methods@manchester (£5,000 in 2010).