Personal profile

Further information

Additional Information

Supervision areas: 

At doctoral level, I have supervised 11 students to successful completion of their PhD's and am currently supervising seven students who are undertaking practice based PhD’s and using audio and visual media practices in a variety of ways. To give you two examples: One student is using film to investigate the forms of visualisation particular to Tibetan Buddhist meditation and painting practices and another is using drawing to engage with the experiences of 'Age Friendly' initiatives in Manchester city.  These two students are among four of this cohort to have full grant funding from the AHRC and ESRC. As part of this funding one of these students is also benefittng from a placement at a neuroimaging lab at Harvard University. 



Other research



1. Key Ideas in Social Anthropology(UG, PG-MA) Lectures and seminars.


2.  Anthropology Today(UG, PG-MA). Lectures and Seminars.


3. Regional Studies of Culture– Japan. (1STyear, UG) Lectures, Film screenings.


4. Photography as a Research Method(PG Research course); Lectures, practical exercises.


5. From Real to Reel: History of Documentary film. (UG, PG,MA core course) Lectures, Screenings, Seminars.


6. Visual Culture and Media Pt.1(UG & PG) Lectures, Film screenings, seminars and practical exercises 


7. Ethnographic Documentary Film (PG-MA), Workshops and practical exercises in documentary filmmaking.


8. Advanced Anthropological Theory. (PG-MA) Lectures and Seminars.


9. Art. Science and Public Anthropology(UG, PG) Lectures, Film screenings, seminars


10.Anthropology of Sound. (UG, PG) Lectures, film screenings, seminars and practical exercises. 


11.Documentary Practice and Sensory Media(MA) Lectures, practical workshops in sound recording, photography and art installation.



I received my MA and PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh, finishing in 1998. I have had fellowships with the Royal Asiatic Society and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, grants from the British Academy, Japan Foundation, Economic and Social Research Council Toyota and Wellcome Trust; taught at Edinburgh, Oxford Brookes and London University (SOAS) and held research fellow positions at Kyoto University and Okinawa Coillege of Technology.

I am interested in intersections between art and science and anthropology and innovative forms of public engagement.i currently work on the anthropology of sound, investigating questions about the politics of noise from perspectives of acoustic science, sound studies and sound art, and focus on projects in Japan. I have written books on the idea of the Zen Arts, Copying Culture and Material Heritage in Japan for Routledge Press and about forms of representation that lie ‘Beyond Text’ in anthropology for Manchester University Press and Wiley Press.



Research interests


Regional specialisation:

•Aircraft noise the US military and Pacific war memories in Japan and the Asia Pacfic

•Visual and Material exchanges between Japan and Europe in the sixteenth century.

•Zen, asceticism and the traditional arts in Japan.

•Zen, Silence and place in Japan.

Topical interests:

•Art-Science collaboration 

•Political ecology of noise 

•Military environments and public health

•Sound art practice and the anthropology of sound

•Sensory ethnography

My regional orientation is Japan where my doctoral research investigated the Zen Arts, (e.g. tea ceremony and the martial arts). Subsequently I completed another multi-sited study into the idea of Japan as a 'copying culture'. Through these projects I developed interests in visual anthropology and in art-making as ethnographic practice.  In my most recent research I have been concerned to incorporate questions about vision and the application of visual means into sensory anthropology.  I have focused on sound as a medium and sound recording as a practice to address issues of representation and perception in Zen sites in Japan and to pursue an ongoing study of the political ecology and cultural history of the sound of US military aircraft in military bases, focusing on Okinawa, Japan.

Examples of this work are at
AND (password pachipachi)


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Areas of expertise

  • GN Anthropology
  • Sound, Ecology, Perception

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester


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