Professor Sophie Day MA PhD

Staff details

Position Professor
Department Anthropology
Email (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7811
Professor Sophie Day MA PhD

I am conducting research until 2022 on a Wellcome Trust medical humanities project ‘People Like You.’ I am also preparing a monograph, Rendering Houses, about Ladakhi biographies and work as a Visiting Professor in the School of Public Health at Imperial College, London where I am seconded 2 days a week.
I studied social anthropology at Cambridge University, Stanford University, Ca., and the London School of Economic and Political Sciences, where my PhD explored spirit possession in Ladakh, North India.
I was awarded the Eileen Basker Prize and the Wellcome Medal for Anthropology as Applied to Medical Problems for my 2007 monograph, On the Game: Women and Sex Work (London: Pluto Press).

Academic qualifications

  • PhD Anthropology, LSE 1989

Research interests

I am collaborating with Professors Celia Lury (Warwick) and Helen Ward (Imperial) on contemporary practices of personalisation in elements of health and medicine, digital culture and data science. Our collaboration, ‘People Like You’, is supported by the Wellcome Trust through a collaborative award in the medical humanities, 2018-2022.

I established the Patient Experience Research Centre with Professor Helen Ward at Imperial College London and continue to work there.

I documented, digitalized and returned images from my 1980s fieldwork to Ladakh, North India (with Dr Leizaola, supported by the British Academy 2009-2011), which has led to my book, in process, about the biographies of houses. I collaborated with Celia Lury and Nina Wakeford (Sociology) on new numeracies in a project supported by Intel Research (2011-2014). Earlier in the 2000s, I completed a programme of research with sex workers in London (with support from the Wellcome Trust), and a European project on HIV prevention (supported by the European Commission).

Further profile content

Media engagements

Photographic exhibition
Sophie Day presented two photographic exhibitions on Ladakh in 2011, one in Leh (Ladakh) and one at Goldsmiths

Conferences and talks

2019: Figurations: Persons In/Out of Data, Goldsmiths December 2019
Our mid-term conference for People Like You project, including a range of presentations from the team: Scott Wark, Helen Ward and Sophie Day, Celia Lury and Will Viney

2020: Algorithmic Identities: a workshop on our collaboration to make an app, Big Sister
My presentation in Santiago, Chile was called Homophily in Personalised Medicine.

2020: Round Table: Problematizing the politics of knowledge from interdisciplinary perspectives
Sophie Day and Celia Lury joined this panel at VII Encuentro Anual Red CTS-Chile 2020

Grants and awards

2018: Wellcome Trust (collaborative grant, 205456/Z/16/Z), 'People Like You': Contemporary Figures of Personalisation
PI: Sophie Day (Goldsmiths), Celia Lury (Warwick), Helen Ward (Imperial) (4 years)

2018: NIHR Global Health Research Unit for Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes in South Asia
participant, advisory commitee (5 years)

2018: NIHR Imperial BioMedical Research Centre (BRC): Patient Experience Research Centre
School of Public Health, Imperial College London (5 years)

Areas of supervision

I supervise research students in the anthropology of health, and in a wide range of topics related to kinship, gender, labour and temporality. I am also interested in students researching Ladakh (India).
I currently supervise Cathy Nugent, who is writing up her research into the London upgrade of the telecommunications network (ESRC) and Paaras Abbas, who is completing her MRes and will commence her MPhil/PhD in the autumn 2021 (ESRC).