I believe that the Society for Applied Anthropology has the opportunity to lead the discipline into the evolving world that is based in our traditional systems of education and application of our theories and methods. At the same time we must be engaged with the virtual world that is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical that we maintain our focus on the traditional approaches to the four fields of anthropology while the discipline embraces the opportunity for innovation and creative implementation of those traditions.
Through LTG Associates, I have been fortunate to co-lead an organization that embraced innovation, including adopting a virtual approach to both business and anthropology a number of years before the world was forced to reconsider how one could maintain relationships, work as anthropologists, and pursue our values of our discipline in the emerging virtual world. This has led us to think about the relationship of our fieldwork and establishing relations with our respondents via the latest in appropriate and accessible technological tools. We have experimented and found that many times our respondents lead us and that has been a great learning and also a hallmark of how good anthropologists have always worked.
An important part of my work has been to bring the voice of Professional, Practicing and Applied Anthropologists (PPAs) into relationship with the academic aspect of the discipline. I have participated in the SfAA Annual Meetings as a member, have chaired and participated in panels and, I have served on SfAA committees. I believe that SfAA and the discipline of anthropology is in an important moment of opportunity. I would appreciate the opportunity to help focus SfAA’s vision through the experiences of PPAs to enrich the discipline’s perspective on innovative practices and methods for conducting our work. I think SfAA can be a professional and thought leader for the discipline in charting a dynamic and inclusive approach to engagement with PPAs and uniting the diverse parts of the discipline. The combination of a strong basic anthropological education with a forward view to the myriad ways that PPAs are using the tools of anthropology to make change in the world is critical to the discipline expanding and uniting professional and academic worlds.