Esther Anderson is a third year PhD student and tutor at the University of Southern Queensland. She completed her Honours thesis on how the selfie gives meaning to online space before seeking out a more physically tangible research site and finding herself in the agricultural heartland of regional Queensland. Contact her via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@EstherR_And).
Esther’s research is situated in a rural town in southeast Queensland where the agricultural industry is reliant on a transient population of working holidaymakers. Her study explores how working holidaymakers negotiate their own temporariness to make sense of place and community.
ANSA speaks to… Esther Anderson
I first stumbled on anthropology completely by accident. After finishing high school, I was accepted into a Bachelor of Social Science degree and one of the requirements was an introductory anthropology course. I was immediately drawn in by the broad scope of the discipline – for someone who was young and somewhat sheltered, it felt like my whole world suddenly expanded. As time went on, I found myself more and more attracted to the pursuit of uncommon knowledge and have never lost that initial energy and enthusiasm.
2. What moment did you experience as the hardest, the most adventurous, and/or the most instructive during your research/fieldwork, and why? (you can pick one, or describe them all!)
The first experiences that come to mind are actually the most physically demanding. I spent some time at the beginning of my fieldwork picking and packing fruit. Getting up at four o’clock each morning in winter was quite a rude awakening! There were a lot of days where I fell asleep in the middle of writing my fieldnotes because I was so tired, or I couldn’t write because my arm muscles were so sore. While this was exhausting work, I gained some quick insights into working holidaymakers’ everyday lives, and I also learned the importance of being flexible as a researcher.
3. What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?
I have this quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson on a whiteboard next to my desk. It’s a little cheesy, but it’s a nice reminder when writing:
“Whether or not you can never become great at something, you can always become better at it. Don’t ever forget that! And don’t say ‘I’ll never be good’. You can become better! and one day you’ll wake up and you’ll find out how good you actually became.”
4. What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise?)
I’m currently reading Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies by Seth M. Holmes.
5. What’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?
I’ve played roller derby since 2012. I’ve found that roller derby perfectly complements academia, although in a much more physical way; it is strategic, challenging, and requires a constant commitment to learning. It has also unleashed a competitive streak I never knew I had!