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Two people in a Boxing ring

Students from our Anthropology Department travelled to Barnsley recently as part of their latest field-based research assignment.

The field trip focused on the anthropology of sport and saw 90 students get ringside to explore the values and meanings associated with boxing in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

The anthropology of sport

Our students used the visit to Barnsley to help them explore the shifting meanings and significance of boxing in contemporary Britain.

They worked with interview material, carried out participant observation at a live boxing event, and compared their results to existing anthropological literature on sport.

This enabled them to explore the social relationships and cultural meanings produced through sport, as part of a second-year research methods module that gives students the opportunity to develop both qualitative and quantitative research skills.

The value of fieldwork

Our Anthropology students undertake several field-based assignments during each year of their studies. These assignments ensure our students are equipped with the very best research skills.

These include fieldwork assignments at sporting events, with organisations working on sustainable transport and development, at local museums, with primates at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, and at many other locations.

Field-based learning is a crucial part of our teaching in Anthropology here at Durham. Developing research skills through fieldwork allows our students to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to real-world contexts and questions. This builds their confidence as researchers, helps them learn how to solve problems creatively, and develops their ability to think critically about the world around them.

Durham is the only UK Anthropology Department to offer a residential field course to all undergraduate students.

Photo credit: Keith Turner

Find out more

Our Anthropology Department is one of the largest in the UK and is ranked 23rd globally (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023).  

Fieldwork is core to our taught programmes, and we offer research-led teaching and hands-on experience to equip our students with the knowledge and skills they need for a successful future.  

Feeling inspired? Visit our Anthropology webpages for more information on our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.