Opportunities and Challenges of Navigating Fieldwork as Insider and Outsider Fieldworkers

For some of us, our research projects are situated back home or in locations where we have already spent considerable time. For the rest of us, our field sites could be in locations where we are visiting or living for the first time. Some of us work closely with people in our own communities, whilst others join local communities as external fieldworkers. Depending on our backgrounds, we may navigate fieldwork as “insider” researchers, “outsider” researchers, or both.

There may be varying kinds of social norms and local expectations for researchers from different backgrounds. Some of us might start our fieldwork as outsiders, but we may find ourselves no longer entirely outsiders after spending some time in the field, and the ways in which locals consider us may also shift over time. Similarly, insiders may be subject to new expectations from their local communities when returning home for fieldwork after spending some time outside their communities.

At this workshop, former fieldworkers will share their experiences in the field, and we will discuss the opportunities and challenges of navigating fieldwork as insiders, outsiders, or both. The workshop is an open space for meeting other fieldworkers and discussing various fieldwork-related topics, including but not limited to tips and strategies to prepare for and navigate fieldwork smoothly. Staff and research students are welcome to join the workshop.

Keiko Kanno


Dr Ariell Ahearn (Departmental Lecturer in Human Geography)
Dr Bhawani Buswala (Postdoctoral Researcher, PEAK Urban Programme)
Jordan Gorenberg (DPhil, Anthropology)