Conference Workshops

We are excited to once again be offering a stimulating series of pre-conference workshops for anthropology postgraduate students as part of the 2018 Australian Anthropological Society Conference, ‘Life in an Age of Death’.  The workshops this year focus upon visual anthropology, ethnographic writing, and post-PhD trajectories.  Please join us for an exciting day of workshops and networking!

Go to our Eventbrite page to RSVP by 16 November 2018.

Date and Time

Tue. 4 December 2018
11:00 am – 5:00 pm AEST


James Cook University, Cairns campus
1/14 88 McGregor Rd
Smithfield, QLD 4878


11-11.30 Arrival, morning tea

11.30-12.30 Workshop 1 with Lisa Stefanoff
After ‘Visual Anthropology’: Reframing critical ethnography through multiple media

12.30-1.30 Lunch and Networking

1.30-3.30 Workshop 2 with Lucas Bessire
Ethnographic Writing and the Horizons of Critique

3.30-4:00 Afternoon tea

4:00 – 5:00 Workshop 3 with panel guests
Post-PhD trajectories


WORKSHOP 1 with Lisa Stefanoff, 11.30-12.30
After ‘Visual Anthropology’: Reframing critical ethnography through multiple media

‘Visual Anthropology’ is a diverse field of research projects, interpretive practices and ethnographic representations. Research focused on visual practices and the cultural and social lives of images sits alongside emergent multi-modal/multi-media experiments that attempt to unsettle the dominance of written analysis within the discipline. Thinking about ‘images’ remains caught in a sticky history of looking and writing. Films, animations and other audio-visual works still often subjugate their sonic and other sensory dimensions under the prevailing sign of ‘the visual’. In this talk I will explore the value of ‘visual anthropology’ in contemporary critical interpretive practice and discuss some of its productive tensions with Indigenous media, acoustemology, anthropologies of the senses, theories of creative collaboration and experimental museology. My aim is to open questions for students working with visual, audio/visual and other media and to provide a focused time together to explore participants’ queries about research design, practice and ‘outputs’ in this entangled field.*

Participants in this workshop are encouraged to provide the following information a week in advance:

  • A short summary of their current work
  • Relevant background in audio/visual research and/or production
  • Burning questions.
    Please submit via Eventbrite or email to

About the speaker
Lisa Stefanoff is an anthropologist, curator, media producer, writer and mother of two young children who has lived in the NT and worked with local mediamakers and artists for over 15 years. She worked as a producer and conducted PhD research at the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) from 2002-2006. A graduate of the New York University Department of Anthropology Program in Culture and Media and recipient of research funding from the Wenner Gren Foundation, AIATSIS and the ARC, she is currently a DECRA Fellow at the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA), UNSW Art & Design and Honorary Research Associate at Charles Darwin University’s School of Creative Arts and Humanities. For the past decade Lisa has programmed the screen, media and art sections of the annual AAS conference. She is passionate about creating opportunities for a (post)visual anthropology to thrive in Australian universities and public domains and currently chips away at this enterprise from Alice Springs.

WORKSHOP 2 with Lucas Bessire, 1.30-3.30
Ethnographic Writing and the Horizons of Critique

How can we write effectively with and against the perplexing conundrums of the contemporary? This open-ended conversation will explore different modes of anthropological engagement with the political present, and reflect on the radical potentials of ethnographic knowledge for politics, theory and people.

About the speaker
Lucas Bessire is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma whose work addresses extraction, power, and genre. He is the author of Behold the Black Caiman: A Chronicle of Ayoreo Life (University of Chicago Press, 2014) and creator of the Ayoreo Video Project (2017). Bessire is the recipient of various awards and fellowships, including from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Science Foundation, the Reed Foundation, the Society for Cultural Anthropology, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. He earned a certificate in documentary filmmaking and a PhD in anthropology from New York University. Currently, he is a Fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, where he is completing an auto-ethnographic account of aquifer depletion on the High Plains. The book project charts how people inhabit the imminent ends of groundwater in order to reflect more broadly on the defining conundrums of our political present and the potential of ethnography to cross divides.

WORKSHOP 3 with a panel of guest speakers, 4.00-5.00
Post-PhD trajectories

Have you thought much about what comes after the PhD? Come and hear tips and tricks from academics who have recently completed their PhDs. Panelists will discuss ways current students can position themselves for the post-PhD world.*

Participants in this workshop are encouraged to think about what they would like to get from this session in advance. If you have questions for the panel, please email them to before the conference.

About the speakers: 
Cameo Dalley
Cameo Dalley graduated with a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Queensland in 2012. She ran the Centre of Native Title Anthropology at the Australian National University from 2012-2015 and was the McArthur Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Melbourne 2015-2018. She is now employed as a Research Fellow at Deakin University on an Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous Project investigating the politics of recognition in a number of postcolonial settings.

Amanda Gilbertson
Amanda Gilbertson completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2012 and returned immediately to New Zealand. There she worked in local government for 18 months providing social and economic research to support policy making. She started a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Melbourne in 2014 and in 2017 moved into a new role at the same university as Lecturer in Youth and Contemporary India at the Australia India Institute. Her first book, ‘Within the Limits: Moral Boundaries of Class and Gender in Urban India’ was published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

Caroline Schuster
Caroline E. Schuster is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University. Her current Australian Research Council DECRA (2017-2020) funded research on the anthropology of finance examines climate insurance and environmental risk in Latin America. Her recent book, Social Collateral: women and microfinance in Paraguay’s smuggling economy, was published with University of California Press in 2015. Before joining the ANU, she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies in the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2012.

Gretchen Stolte
Since submitting her PhD in February 2013 at the Australian National University, Dr Stolte has been all over the place, obtaining international travel grants and working both within and outside of academia. She curated Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists, a major exhibition at the National Museum of Australia which opened in December 2013 and which is now touring China. She worked on developing the OCCAMS collections database at ANU’s Centre for Digital Humanities Research and wrote the manual in 2015. From 2015-2018, she was a research fellow on an ARC grant in charge of archiving the Aboriginal Artists Agency material, bound for the National Library of Australia. Currently, Dr Stolte is the Berndt Foundation Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, where she is working on her first book (based on her thesis) which is under contract for publication for June 2019.

Catie Gressier
After receiving her PhD in 2011, Catie Gressier worked for 18 months in four simultaneous contracts: Associate Editor of Anthropological Forum; secretariat for the AAS/IUAES/ASAANZ joint conference; tutoring first year anthropology; and as an administrative assistant in the School of Humanities. She subsequently moved to Melbourne to take up a McArthur Research Fellowship, most years of which she worked part-time after having a daughter in 2013. In 2017, she won a Melbourne Research Grant, which enabled her to continue her research for a further 6 months, before returning to Perth for family reasons at the end of that year. In late 2017, she took on the role of Higher Degree by Research Education Coordinator at the University of Notre Dame Australia, in which capacity she continues today.

David Boarder Giles
David Boarder Giles writes about waste, cities, and social movements. His current projects all explore the ways in which discarded surpluses – of people, places, and things – are circulated in “global” cities. His PhD from the University of Washington in 2013 is soon to be published as a book. “A Mass Conspiracy to Feed People: World Class Waste and the Struggle for the Global City” is based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Seattle and several other cities in the United States and Australasia with dumpster divers, squatters, grassroots activists, homeless residents, and chapters of Food Not Bombs – a global movement of grassroots soup kitchens.

Go to the Eventbrite page to RSVP by 16 November 2018.