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.

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

The 2015 winner is Professor Sheila Kitzinger

This year the Award was presented posthumously to Sheila Kitzinger, for her work in empowering women to become more informed on childbirth, and raising awareness of matters related to childbirth through a range of disciplines.

Sheila Kitzinger campaigned for women to have the information they need to make choices about childbirth. She was a strong believer in the benefits of home birth for women who are not at especially high risk. Sheila was also concerned to give a voice to pregnant women and new mothers in prison and worked to free them from chains during birth, to keep mothers and babies together unless a woman can be shown to be a danger to her baby, and to provide woman-to-woman help to prisoners during birth.

Sheila Kitzinger lectured to midwives in many different countries. She was honorary professor at Thames Valley University and taught the MA in midwifery in the Wolfson School of Health Sciences there. She also taught workshops on the social anthropology of birth and breastfeeding and on unhappiness after childbirth for birth educators and postnatal counsellors, too.

Sheila Kitzinger combined birth activism with research, writing, lecturing and appearing on radio and TV. Her research included work on women's experiences of antenatal care, birth plans, induction of labour, epidurals, episiotomy, hospital care in childbirth, children's experiences of being present at birth, post-traumatic stress following childbirth and the many different messages that touch can give during childbirth.

Pictured: Sheila Kitzinger Photo © pjvdbphoto


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Previous Winners:

2014 Dr Gillian Tett