Dr. Robyn Eversole
Dr. Robyn Eversole is Professor, Social Impact at the Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia. She is an applied anthropologist known for her practice-focused research on regional and community development in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific. Her books with major international publishers include Knowledge Partnering for Community Development (2015), Regional Development in Australia: Being Regional (2016), and the forthcoming Anthropology for Development, From Theory to Practice (2018). Much of Robyn’s work is conducted at the interface of universities and local communities, and aims to bring multiple knowledges into dialogue to spark innovative responses to social and economic challenges. She holds a PhD in the Anthropology of Development from McGill University, is a former US Fulbright Fellow, and currently Fellow of the Comparative Research Program on Poverty (International Social Science Council), Fellow of the Australian Anthropological Society, Board Member of the Council on Australia–Latin America Relations, and president of the Australia and New Zealand Regional Science Association, Inc. (ANZRSAI).
The Society for Applied Anthropology is a unique organisation globally, and I am honoured to be nominated for the Board of Directors. The invitation comes at an appropriate time as I have been actively building international applied research networks and this experience is confirming my view of how important anthropological lenses can be in addressing social challenges. For years I have worked with colleagues from a wide range of disciplines to tackle practical problems. All disciplines make useful contributions, but anthropology’s contribution is on a different dimension. It’s not just our methodologies or our concepts that distinguish us – indeed, they are less shiny and engaging than most. Anthropology has a core difference: our epistemologies are inclusive, and this gives us an ability to step outside disciplinary and sectoral frames to view issues from multiple perspectives. We see problems and solutions differently than economists, clinicians, engineers, statisticians, policy specialists or planners do. But I don’t think we are very good at explaining what we do and why it is valuable. Few decision-makers ring up anthropologists for advice… but what if they did? SfAA as our global association plays a vital role in promoting applied anthropology and supporting applied anthropologists wherever in the world we sit. I would enjoy the opportunity to serve on the Board and work with SfAA colleagues to expand our global presence and impact.