Anna Stepien

I am a PhD student in Anthropology at Brunel University London, with ethnographic interests in Indonesia, nationalism, regionalism, identity politics, social movements, urban and environmental anthropology. I have obtained my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Ethnology at University of Warsaw, Poland. My interest in environmental anthropology emerged during my first ethnographic experience in Kurpiowszczyzna region, Poland, where I examined how local farmers relate to the surrounding environment. Through my research, I aimed to reconstruct farmers’ perception of the environment and localize hotbeds of possible conflicts shaped by a clash between this particular form of human-nature relation and other alternative “natures” coexisted locally. My master’s degree research project was a case study of a conflict concerning a Warsaw marketplace modernization project. Through the research, I interrogated the power dynamics behind the conflict and deconstructed the concept of modernization, proving that it is a particular set of ideas which marginalizes some voices empowering others rather than a neutral and indisputable process.

In recent years, I have worked extensively in the private sector as a researcher, project evaluator and trainer with a focus on cultural education and urban planning. I have cooperated with such institutions as Warsaw’s City Council, Museum of the History of Polish Jews “Polin”, Masovian Institute of Culture. In the years 2016-2017 I was part of a research team in a nationwide project “Very Young Culture” conducted by the National Centre for Culture on the state of cultural education in Poland.

Additionaly, in 2012 I was awarded Darmasiswa scholarship in Sam Ratulangi University by the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, during which I worked amongst the activists of Minahasan adat community (North Sulawesi Province), focusing on their ritual activities and more widely on the processes of remembrance and revival of precolonial Minahasan culture. In the years 2017/2018 I did my teaching internship at Muhammadiyah University of Malang, as a part of the UMM Internship Grant Programme. In my free time I cooperate with NGOs as an educator and propagate knowledge about anthropology and Indonesia; I also cycle, climb mountains and meditate.

In the current project in Sumatra, Indonesia, I will explore the concepts of “rescuing” and “saving” in orangutan conservation and examine how these ideas and rescue-related practices are shaped by “Anthropocenic” ideas and phenomena.


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