Studying Anthropology at Goldsmiths

Find out what it is like to be an Anthropology student at Goldsmiths, from developing your own skills and knowledge, to gaining careers support, and the teaching expertise.

As an Anthropology student at Goldsmiths, you will:

  • collaborate and learn from leading anthropology experts who are actively pioneering research in the field;
  • have the opportunity to to engage with our urban surroundings through research projects, placements and fieldtrips;
  • engage with cutting-edge research in anthropology on politics, ecologies, the digital world, visual anthropology, and art;
  • gain an understanding of the careers you can pursue, via organised talks and events from practicing anthropologists.

Teaching and learning

While learning Anthropology at Goldsmiths you will have opportunities to do research in the real world, immerse yourself in London and do your own ethnographic projects. In addition, the department organises events and study trips with our collaborators. These have included:

  • BA Anthropology and Visual Practice students attending the RAI Ethnographic Film Festival both online and a few in person at the Watershed in Bristol
  • MA Anthropology and Museum Practice students completing a practical training course at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, gaining hands-on experience in curation, conservation, education, community engagement and other areas of museum work
  • the BA Integrated Degree in Anthropology have taken part in trips to the Horniman Museum and the London Docklands Museum, linking theoretical issues with real-life/historical events relevant to students' experience of their time in London
  • Visits to KEW – Royal Botanic Gardens, the British Museum, and the Migration Museum, as well as to decolonial art and cultural galleries such as The Mosaic Rooms
  • Tours at visual and material archives such as the Wiener Library, the Endangered Material Knowledge-Production, and the Black Cultural Archive
  • Museum practitioner and activist visits to class sessions such as the Climate Museum.

Developing your skills

Goldsmiths Anthropology students will utilise the skills and knowledge they acquire on their programmes, developing a grounded knowledge of key methods throughout their degree programmme and have opportunities to put what they have learnt into real-life projects. For example:

  • BA Anthropology and Visual Practice students undertake a collaborative teaching block in their second year where they are encouraged to make a short piece of audiovisual work for a local community or advocacy group
  • Staff members regularly carry out small research projects engaging current BA students, including exhibitions and collaborative ethnographic events such as researching the Antiques Roadshow, as well as one day programmes like a Mudlarking Project
  • BA Integrated Degree in Anthropology and BA Anthropology students will undertake modules such as the Short Research Project, Anthropology in London, and the year three Individual Project, enabling you to put into practice key social science research methods
  • MA Anthropology and Museum Practice gain ethnographic and contemporary methods for reshaping the museum

The Forage Society at Nunhead Cemetery

Students at a Mudlarking Talk with Mark Sowden

Our teaching experts

Goldsmiths' Anthropology Department aims to play a pioneering role in re-shaping the discipline of anthropology by producing world leading public-facing research which expands the discipline’s relevance, impact and reach.

It does this through critical engagement with contemporary social and political issues, experimentation with a wide variety of media, formats and spaces for dissemination of research and through collaboration with NGOs, policy makers, artists, film-makers, theatres and museums locally, nationally and internationally.

A commitment to making anthropology matter drives and informs a lively research culture within and beyond the department and university.

Whether organising participatory workshops, advising policy makers, collaborating with theatre, artists, film makers and photographers, curating exhibitions or facilitating south-south collaborative research amongst arts organisations, Goldsmiths anthropology staff have been active in producing and promoting a public anthropology which strives to operate without borders.

This outward facing approach to anthropology beyond the academy is matched and informed by world leading research which stretches the boundaries of the discipline in terms of methodology, content, interdisciplinary engagement and reach. 

The department is led by Dr Elena Gonzalez-Polledo FHEA, a social anthropologist specialising in gender theory, science and technology studies, and digital anthropology. Elena has conducted research in the United Kingdom, North America and Europe and is working on two projects - an ethnography of everyday biotechnological experimentation and a global anthropology of bioinformation.

Other academic teaching staff are experts in cutting edge areas of anthropology such as art, visual archives, ethnographic film, citizenship, migration and borders, ecology, law, material culture, education, politics, religion and secularism, as well as gender and queer theory.


The department has had a series of Visiting Research Fellows associated with the Centre for Visual Anthropology (CVA) including:

  • Dave Lewis - whose work was showcased in the Venice Biennale;
  • Chiara Ambrosio - a well-known artist and animator.

The BA Integrated Degree in Anthropology regularly invites Jo-Anne Bitchard, Professor of Accessible Design from the Royal College of Art, to speak to students concerning applied aspects of anthropology and the way that design anthropology links to industry.

The learning environment of Goldsmiths was such a radical and inviting one. The relationship I had with my lecturers and tutors was refreshing and it felt like we were both in positions of learning, that they too wanted to learn from us as students. Studying at Goldsmiths allowed me to find a community of aspiring anthropologists.

Chloe, MA Social Anthropology

 Chloe, MA Social Anthropology

Opportunities for Anthropology students

Students are provided with opportunities to enhance their studies at Goldsmiths.

  • All students can join the Anthropology Society and are encouraged to publish in the journal Anthrways published by postgraduate students in the department.
  • Students also have opportunities in years two and three to participate in studying abroad at a number of European universities, including Amsterdam and Cologne.
  • The department organises regular talks with practicing anthropologists.
  • BA Anthropology and Visual Practice and MA Visual Anthropology students get access to Adobe CC Home to use on their personal machines for the duration of their studies.

Camerawork workshop, part of the Anthropology Video Production programme

Students at the Video Consortium event: Rebuilding Lives

Careers and support

The Anthropology department supports students in exploring career opportunities, and organise talks from experts in the field to inspire current students.

  • The department offers an expanded placement-based module, Anthropology in Public Practice, where students work with the Goldsmiths Careers Service and academic staff to find placements that develop their research skills and expand their professional networks. Previous placement and internship locations include the Migration Museum, the NHS, Open Book, Action Space for Artists with Disabilities, Lawyers Against Poverty, and many other charities and community projects across the UK, as well as film production companies in Glasgow and Paris.
  • Students studying visual anthropology, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels get a series of talks (in the third year for undergraduates) from a range of practitioners working in the film industry, including from Goldsmiths Anthropology alumni.
  • The Department of Anthropology works closely with the Goldsmiths Careers Service to organise events, placements, and career opportunities for students.

Facilities and resources

The department’s Loan Store offers a wide range of audio-visual equipment for students to borrow such as camcorders, DSLR and mirrorless cameras, sound recorders, microphones, lights and a variety of accessories.

Students have access to the department’s editing labs equipped with 27’ iMac computers with the latest Adobe CC suite and other specialist software.

The Foraging Society drawing and sketching as ethnographic method

MA student presenting her film at its London premiere

Explore what a potential day in the life of an anthropology student could be with our virtual tour.

Keep up to date with the Anthropology Department on Instagram.