Marsh Award for Anthropology in the World

This Award is run in partnership with the Royal Anthropological Institute. The Award recognises an outstanding individual based outside academia who has applied anthropology or anthropological ideas in order to have a positive influence on, or help us to understand better, the problems facing our world today.

The Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (RAI) is an association and charity dedicated to the furtherance of anthropology in its broadest and most inclusive sense.

In 2016, the MCT began supporting the Lucy Mair Marsh Prize. This Award honours excellence in the application of anthropology to the relief of poverty and distress.

Pictured above: Film still from ‘The Poet’s Salary’ directed by anthropologist and filmmaker Eric Wittersheim

The 2016 winners are Dr Peter Bennett, Professor Ralph Grillo, Professor Paul Richards

Marsh Award for Anthropology in the World

Dr Peter Bennett has spent his career in the prison service, which culminated in his Governorship of HMP Grendon Therapeutic Prison, where his background as an anthropologist was of special relevance. He has also been Director, International Centre for Prison Studies, and an independent consultant on international prison reform. Peter gained both his undergraduate degree and his PhD in anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. During his time in the prison service, Peter’s work was widely applauded, and he accepted the Longford Prize on behalf of Grendon Prison for ‘promoting a humane, safe regime which offer[s] a beacon of hope’.

RAI Lucy Mair Marsh Medal

Professor Ralph Grillo is an Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex, where he had previously been Dean of the School of African and Asian Studies. He was also founding director of the Research Centre for Culture, Development and the Environment at the University. Since the mid-1990s, Ralph’s research has focused on cultural diversity and its governance in France, Italy and the UK and he has published a number of works in these areas. Most recently, he has been working with anthropologists, lawyers and political scientists on issues relating to cultural and religious diversity and the law in Europe and North America, with a particular interest in the ‘legal industry’ which has grown up around Islam. Through his work with the Sussex Centre of Migration Research, Ralph has been actively involved with a number of Advisory Boards for socio-cultural diversity and anthropology.

Professor Paul Richards is one of the foremost anthropologists working in West Africa, particularly in Sierra Leone. Paul’s early work focused on ethnographic studies of Mende village rice farming and forest conservation, however he is probably best known for his work on the Sierra Leonean civil war and his wider work on the anthropology of conflict. Most recently he has been particularly focused on the recent Ebola outbreak that has been crippling both Sierra Leone and Liberia. Alongside his co-authors, Paul’s contributions ‘from the field’ (which provided an insight into communities’ experience of the epidemic and analysis based on over 30 year of fieldwork in the region), provided important information to international governments, agencies and the wider community.


Royal Anthropological Institute

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Previous Winners:

2015 Professor Sheila Kitzinger

2014 Dr Gillian Tett