The term ‘fieldwork’ is used to describe research in all areas of anthropology from social and cultural anthropology to medical or biological anthropology. The practice of ‘fieldwork’ can be done in a variety of different settings such as an urban or virtual environment, a small tribal community, a museum, library, cultural institution, business, or a primate conservation area.

Fieldwork can take many different forms, shaped by factors such as: the topic of investigation, questions guiding the research, where the research will be carried out, who is funding it, external political or economic factors, the age, sex or ethnicity of the anthropologist, and the technological facilities available.

Newer formats for research, such as use of multiple sites and the study of large-scale centres of power such as intergovernmental organisations, are becoming increasingly common; as is the use of visual technologies and methods of presentation such as film, photography and digital media.

In March 2013, the RAI’s Education Outreach Programme put out a call for photographs of anthropological fieldwork and received an overwhelming response with over 300 submissions from 24 countries. The following images were selected for their strong visual and story-telling capabilities. These photographs can now be seen in a special exhibition called Fieldwork: Anthropology in action around the world at the Royal Anthropological Institute, 50 Fitzroy St. London. The exhibition will run from the 1st of May-30th of August 2013. Admission is free but advanced booking is required. To book a viewing please email education(at) The exhibition was curated by Nafisa Fera with curatorial assistant Anthony Leigh.

Download our exhibition publicity here.