Fieldwork Policy and Practice

Fieldwork Policy and Practice: Experiences, challenges and ways ahead

This one-day symposium features scholars on the challenges of fieldwork and proposes policies for improving the fieldwork experience.

Date: Monday 16th March 2020

Venue: Alison Richard Building Room S1 (Sidgwick Site, 7 West Rd)


HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies
Department of Political Science and International Studies


Melissa Gatter (PhD candidate, Middle Eastern Studies)
Dr Lorena Gazzotti (Research Fellow, Lucy Cavendish College and CRASSH)
Matthew Mahmoudi (PhD candidate, Development Studies)


About the symposium

Increasingly neoliberalised academia has posed mounting pressures on the academic to produce research at the detriment of their social and mental wellbeing. Within this precarious context, fieldwork receives attention predominantly surrounding issues of reflexivity and data analysis with little attention devoted to fieldwork as a form of labour. This is problematic, as the few studies conducted on the topic point to fieldwork as a deeply challenging aspect of academic work, which suffers from a lack of open conversations and material support within academic institutions. This symposium will generate discussion about these challenges and propose concrete actions for higher education institutions to improve pre-fieldwork training and ongoing support for students and staff.

The symposium features three 90-minute panels, each offering ample time for open debate, and a final roundtable. Each panel hosts three scholars at various levels of academia to tackle fieldwork challenges, including perspectives of those conducting fieldwork in their home country in the Global South.




9:30-11am | Panel 1: Gendered Experiences in the Field

Dr. Mériam Cheikh, Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh

Dr. Asiya Islam, Sociology, University of Cambridge

Dr. Johannes Lenhard, Max Cam, University of Cambridge


11:30am-1pm | Panel 2: Staying Sane in the Field

Dr. Estella Carpi, Geography, University College London

Dr. Khaled Fahmy, Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge

Laura Guitiérrez Gomez, Criminology, University of Cambridge


2-3:30pm | Panel 3: Making the Transition from Field to Campus

Dr. Sebastien Bachelet, Social Anthropology, University of Manchester

Shreyashi Dasgupta, Development Studies, University of Cambridge

Dr. Laurie Denyer Willis, Global Health & Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Dr. Charlotte Lemanski, Geography, University of Cambridge


4-5:30pm | Open Roundtable: Possible Ways Ahead

Representatives of:

University Counselling Service

University Safety Office

Cambridge Graduate Union

with University Pro Vice Chancellor for Education Graham Virgo


The symposium has its own website as a resource for the participants with accessibility/transportation info: