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4. Autumn webinars

EASA continues to hold periodic webinars.

Autumn webinars

Webinar on Mental Health in Academia, October 10

To mark World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2023, EASA held a webinar together with the Researcher Mental Health Observatory (ReMO) to raise awareness on mental health in academia. Two members of EASA and PrecAnthro, Mariya Ivancheva and Alexandra Oancă, and two members of ReMO, Brian Cahill and Luisa Solms, participated in the webinar. The discussion was facilitated by Alexandra Oancă, who is currently serving as the Vice-president of the EASA Executive Committee and who has run for the board in order to put mental health and its relations to academic precarity on the agenda of the European anthropological community. 

Mariya Ivancheva presented some of the findings of the “Precarity Report” of EASA members (Fotta et al. 2020) that could help us understand the impact of working conditions on mental health and well-being in academia: 

This keeps academics into a deadlock: the uneven distribution of security and stability maintains and even increases the existential precarity of academics, including but not limited to the inability to plan the future. 

Brian Cahill presented ReMO and their activities, including ongoing initiatives such as the STAIRCASE survey that aims to understand the impact of working conditions on mental health and well-being in academia. The concerns that spurred the formation of this network around the mental health of researchers - and their subsequent application as ReMO as a COST action - were born within early-career associations, such as the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc) and the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA).

Both Brian Cahill and Luisa Solms emphasised the ongoing mental health crisis among PhD students: the risk of developing anxiety and depression is six times more likely for PhD students compared to the general, university-educated population. 

The discussion portion of the webinar touched on the need for action at a variety of levels and scales: from wellbeing, individual-level initiatives to systemic, structural change. While wellbeing initiatives usually promoted by universities are meant to alleviate the immediate suffering of academics and students (through support services, psychotherapy, meditation, yoga sessions), they need to be complemented by collective, structural solutions. Among the later, the panelists mentioned: 

For further info, on the EASA website, you can read the description of the webinar in full. You can watch the recording of the presentations but not of the discussion.

Webinar on Social anthropology and the European Research Council, 11 October

A second webinar was organised on 11 October on the topic of social anthropology and the current ERC grants program. The webinar hosted SH3 Panel Coordinator Dr. Lionel Thelen, who explained the range of options that the ERC funding scheme offers to social anthropologists, and clarified the changes that took place recently in the programme - notably the decision to place social anthropology as one of the core areas under the new SH8 panel - Studies of Cultures and Arts. The webinar also showcased three anthropologists who were recently successful with their ERC Starting Grant applications - Maddalena Gretel Cammelli, Tessa Diphoorn, and Elżbieta Drążkiewicz. These brilliant scholars shared their ‘tips and tricks’ with regards to their successful applications and encouraged anthropologists to make use of the funding opportunities offered by the European Research Council. 

The recording of the webinar is available on our website.