Behind The Mic

Adam Gamwell

Co-Founder & Host

Design Anthropologist + Social Strategist

Also @ TAL Host, Creative Director + Executive Producer

Like the anthropological quest to tell a fuller, more complete story, I was drawn to science communication public digital broadcasting as a way to translate and socialize research and insights through conversations between academic and public realms. I get energy from meeting new people and am something of a social butterfly (or perhaps a moth because I’m drawn to bright lights at night). I’m also a musician and play in various soul, funk, and country bands around Boston. The ordered chaos and harmony of instruments, sounds, and musicians co-creating a cohesive and emotionally moving experience is for me the spice of life. In a similar way, to me, anthropology isn’t a dispassionate science but a way to expand our understanding of one another, to share human stories that get to the center of, as Paul Stoller says, what matters most in social life, and to keep alive a sense of what it means to live in the world one struggles to understand.

I rock expertise in long-term project management, international qualitative research, media production and social strategy. I help people see and understand the problems they face and co-create narratives to solve them. My work is animated by a commitment to human-centered design, the value orientations of stakeholders, and translating meaning and mission-based projects to enhance peoples’ experiences and lives. 

Ryan H Collins

Co-founder & Host

Also @ TAL Writer, Content Designer, Editor, Executive Producer

As the resident Indiana Jones of “This Anthro Life” I wish to make anthropology accessible to the public. More than crawling through ancient temples by flashlight in search of ancient rulers in ruined tombs, Anthropologists all engage in a very real world with very real issues. When we crawl through ancient collapsing temples its with the help of modern individuals the world over who care deeply about the past and because the past is relevant today in social politics, climate, and heritage. By proactively writing in this space, engaging with popular media, and maintaining a weekly dedication to our radio show, we at “This Anthropological Life” are making a commitment to connecting people to stories from the past, ongoing in the present, and how messages are transmitted cross culturally.

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About Our Show

Our vision: “Crowdsourcing the human condition to inspire communication, foster wonder and generate empathy”

We’re anthropologists on a mission, inspired by Anthropologist Ruth Benedict’s claim that anthropology’s job is to make the world safe for human differences. More than ever, anthropology matters because ecological and political crises that affect the world force us to recognize on an individual scale that there is no ‘outside’ from which we can just sit back and observe. Rising nationalism, resource shortages, rights abuses and migration are realities that characterize the daily lives of many around the globe. We podcast to reveal the social processes and systemic violence behind those issues and give listeners positive tools to better engage and thrive in today’s world.

This Anthro Life is an official collaborator with the American Anthropological Association, the Society for Applied Anthropology, and SAPIENS. Additionally, This Anthro Life has published about podcast pedagogy on the University of Toronto Press blog Teaching Culture and has produced a crossover series in collaboration with the prominent international anthropology blog Anthrodendum. Ryan and Adam have also presented the work of TAL at multiple national conferences. At nearly 100 episodes, Adam and Ryan are excited to see what topics and themes come to characterize TAL for the next hundred. Our episodes run between 20 to 30 minutes – just long enough for a quick morning commute or a workout. In our weekly Conversations episodes our hosts participate in an open-format dialogue with themselves or a guest, diving into the hidden worlds behind topics like protesting, beer, emoji, democracy through an anthropological lens.

TAL works between public, corporate/industry, scientific and academic cultures. These different social arenas provide an immense wealth of insight and data into human behavior, culture, social norms, and how we (create and) solve problems. But insight can often get buried inside complex language or lost in the contemporary flurry of digital and print publishing. The good thing is we are trained to deal with this kind of informational complexity and know how to turn observation into insight. We do the heavy lifting, sifting, and distilling for you. We make complexity manageable, put context before events, and demonstrate how to think holistically. And here’s the crucial point: we’re educators too. Like good math students, we show you our work, and how we got from A to B. Part of our work on TAL is to provide sources and detailed information about the authors, ideas, theories, and issues we cover on the podcast. You’ll find all this in the show notes of every episode. 

Join Thousands of Listeners Worldwide

We at This Anthro Life are taking things to the next level. But we can’t do it without you. For the past four incredible years we’ve been sharing our anthropological take on all things human. This is going to continue. But like all species that want to survive, we need to evolve. And that’s where you come in.

Because, after all, evolution works at a species level :).

This Anthro Life isn’t just a podcast; we’re a community. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, through email, or come hang out with us at conferences. We want your input, your stories, your views. In short, we want to crowdsource the human condition. To continue telling stories, bringing new perspectives, revealing the beautiful complexity of life. But in a way that is more inclusive to our listeners. We’ll keep on facilitating in-depth conversations, translating and socializing research and insight and we want you to help us figure out what those conversations should be. What you want to hear more about. What you have questions about. What makes you happy, frustrates you, gives you hope.

Reach out online and let us build the community!

Make a Donation

We’re a non-profit team of Podcasters. TAL has recently started a crowdfunding campaign on Patreon to offset our costs of web maintenance, audio production, research, and marketing. But more importantly, we also want to expand our content to include vlogging and on-the-scene interviewing. Thus far, TAL has been a self funded endeavor, but with your support you can help make us sustainable in a time when anthropology can contribute so much to the world in terms of social consciousness and bridging boundaries between cultural misconceptions. We can’t do this without your support. Thank you!

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