Meet the Team

Dan Podjed

is a Senior Research Fellow at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Associate Professor at the University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Arts, and a Research Advisor at the Institute for Innovation and Development of the University of Ljubljana. From the founding of the EASA Applied Anthropology Network in 2010 to 2018, he was the network’s Convenor and continues to serve as one of its Executive Advisors. In 2013 he was the founder and from 2013 to 2018 and again in 2023 the organiser of Why the World Needs Anthropologists.

Since 2022, he has been directing a national research programme Ethnological, Anthropological, and Folklore Studies Research on Everyday Life. He has led several national and international research projects and participated in numerous EU projects. Currently, he is the Principal Investigator of the project Isolated People and Communities in Slovenia and Croatia (2022-2025). He was awarded twice (2013, 2021) for his scientific work under the Excellence in Science programme of the Slovenian Research Agency.

Founder & Executive Advisor of AAN

Simon Provoost

is a recent graduate in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies and Umanyx Escuela de Humanidades Aplicadas. Simon used to chair the student representatives at KU Leuven in Belgium, and is passionate about community-based projects and finding ways to build strong tribes.

Network Convenor

Olivia Schneider

is a recent graduate in Social Anthropology from the University of Oslo. In the role as President of SAPU, the department's student council, she aimed to improve students' experience in the program through organising community and learning activities, such as workshops on Safety & Well-being in the Field.

Her interest in the cross-section of migration, gender and health, is reflected in her research on Migrant Sex Workers' Access to Health Care in Malta.

Olivia initially joined AAN as Apply Club Coordinator and took over the Convenor role from Markus Rothmüller in the beginning of 2024. She has worked on launching the first AAN Mentorship Program together with Dominika Kopeć.

Network Convenor & Apply Club Coordinator

Apply Clubs

Axelle Van Wynsberghe

is a social anthropologist, currently working as digital content manager for the European Green Party. She was previously a freelance researcher and curator in the Netherlands and Belgium and has worked with the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), the European Commission’s Joint Research Center, and various art organisations on citizen engagement projects and issues concerning digital technologies and society. She has co-curated the HELLO WORLD! Exhibition (2018) and the MY BODY MY CHOICE Exhibition (2022). She received her BA in Cultural Studies & Social Anthropology at the University of Kent, as well as an MA in Arts & Society at Utrecht University.

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Gemma John

is an Honorary Research Fellow in Social Anthropology at the University College of London, and the Founder of Human City. She works at the intersection between social anthropology, urban governance and design, illuminating the ways in which planners, property developers, architects and other built environment experts negotiate legal and political infrastructures while creating places that deliver value to society and reflect imaginaries of the ‘good life’. Her interest in the politics of value, and the interplay between economy, morality and design, stems from her post-doctoral research on devolved governance in the UK through the Localism Act, and doctoral research on Freedom of Information legislation and transparent citizenships in Scotland. As an academic, she has published on new knowledge practices, government bureaucracy and personhood. She recently co-edited a book ‘Speaking for the Social: A Catalogue of Methods’, with Hannah Knox (Punctum 2022). As a consultant, she uncovers the interplay between technical, material and social factors in urban contexts and enables organizations to design spaces that are socially sustainable.

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Christina Cheadle

is an anthropologist whose expertise lies in material culture and the home. She formerly worked with Marie Kondo of Japanese home organisation fame and currently is a research consultant at Stripe Partners in London.

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Dominika Kopeć

quit her PhD studies to conduct commercial research in the UX. She works as a UX research consultant for companies, governments and agencies. She is also a start-ups mentor at Start-it KBC.

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Sadaf Rasheed

is the Founder and Director of Anthronation. An applied anthropology consultancy, specialising in the interplay between humans and the digital world. She has experience in user research, marketing, and using digital tools and content for positive behaviour change.

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Erin Taylor

is a consultant, researcher and writer with 18 years of experience designing and implementing projects, directing teams, managing budgets, and producing outputs for diverse audiences, research strategy, design and implementation, cross-sector collaborations (industry, academia, government, NGOs) and writing about financial behaviour and human-technology interaction

Erin’s topical specialisation is in anthropology, financial behaviour and technology: How ICTs are changing financial behaviour; adapting research methods to changing practices; financial stress & financial inclusion; impact of new regulations & products on consumers; how economic values & attitudes shape society; and business adaptation to changing consumer, regulatory, & technical markets.

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Frank Romagosa

is an anthropologist, a design and research strategist, and a brand and business builder, based in New York, USA. For over 20 years Frank has worked with designers and product leaders from a broad range of Fortune 100 enterprises to young and nimble startups to build new products, platforms, services, and user experiences. Frank has helped major banks like CitiCards, Wells Fargo and Chase seize new opportunities that impact the lives of ordinary people while delivering new avenues of sustainable business growth. Frank has also helped start-ups in financial services and related hybrid industries push through the messiness of their potential customers’ everyday lives to prioritize new features in the early days of business creation. In a phrase, Frank’s work is about transforming organizations by making sure that real human experiences tell the story.

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Helena Linde Pedersen

is a human-centered researcher, innovation strategist and financial activist based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

With her background in business and economic anthropology, she bridges a commercial mindset with a drive to ensure critical engagement, social responsibilty and environmental and financial sustainability in all her work.

She is currently on a mission to build and strengthen the research culture at Danish fintech Unicorn, Pleo to ensure they sustain customer centricity as they grow and bring Pleo to an evermore diverse range of users.

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Rianne Dagt

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Gaia Campanelli

is a Master’s student in Medical Anthropology at the University of Oxford. She is interested in the relationship between ecology and health inequalities. She holds research and organisational experience in different fields and wishes to work towards the establishment of innovative, community-centred ways to approach collective health issues.

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Heinrich Schwarz, Ph.D.

is an innovation strategist, business anthropologist, and design thinker. He is founder and director of Schwarz Innovation, a strategic innovation consultancy helping companies turn a deep understanding of people and cultures into novel business opportunities for meaningful transformation. He is passionate about finding unexpected solutions to tricky problems and guiding clients towards future-directed products and business strategies. He has worked with international enterprises, medium-sized firms and startups across different industries, recently more and more in health care. Heinrich speaks and lectures on people-centric innovation and business anthropology, most recently at the Technical University Hamburg. He holds a PhD in science and technology studies from M.I.T, and master degrees from UC Berkeley and the Free University in Berlin.

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Margret Jaeger

Research Department – AWZ Soziales Wien, Austria

is a medical anthropologist who leads a research department in care studies linking education and practice. She is passionate about medical anthropology and its potentiality to contribute to changes in healthcare. She is a member of Solar Plexus – Sozietät der Gestalter*innen der Gesundheitszukunft” in Austria and of international initiatives that promote teaching of medical anthropology in health education.

Organizing Committee

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Mirko Pasquini, Ph.D

is an Italian medical anthropologist working in Sweden and specialized in the analysis of how healthcare systems respond to people’s changing care needs. He has done extensive fieldwork in Italy on Emergency Rooms (ERs) and diverse Primary Care facilities to document the wide organizational reform after the tremendous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizing Committee

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Carol Pizzuti

is a medical anthropologist specialised in women’s sexual and reproductive health issues. She is currently conducting her Industry PhD in the field of Practice Analytics in Healthcare (PAH), which focuses on exploring the existing correlations among medical regulations, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements and programs, and eHealth data analytics in health-care service organisations.

Organizing Committee

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Ute Schauberger

is an anthropologist (MA) and designer (MDes) who cares deeply about health and care. As a disabled person, a former care worker, and as a designer working on its future. Her work uses approaches and methods from service design, co-design, ethnography, and social research. This allows her to think creatively and ethically about health services, and to engage others in this process.

Organizing Committee

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Dr. Beth Vale

is an applied anthropologist, public health specialist, and social development consultant – who believes that for any public policy to succeed, it must land, and live, in complex socio-political worlds, among ordinary people whose voices are rarely heard in policy-making. Her expertise spans HIV/AIDS, chronic illness, experiences of epidemiological “transition”, as well as gender and the care economy. Her approach to public health and care are expansive, including work on social protection, early childhood development, education and youth employment. Through her consulting practice, she drives evidence-based advocacy, policy and programming that is attuned to social and political complexities, and oriented to social justice.

Organizing Committee

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Lora Koycheva

is irresistibly drawn to complex problems, ambitious projects, and crazy people. An anthropologist by training, she is lucky to have as craft the kind of mindset and thinking which thrives in uncertainty, embraces failure as a necessary first step, and demands stepping and acting outside of any zone of comfort.

With 15+ years experience in qualitative research in a variety of contexts, from ethnographic interviews and participant observation to surveys and sociolinguistic analysis, she is adept at immersive and adaptive techniques in seeking to understand people, products, systems, and structures from otherwise hard-to-obtain angles and in unfamiliar terms.

Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

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Pauline Destree

is an Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Durham University, where she teaches a range of courses on energy, sustainability and economic anthropology. She works on energy infrastructures and resource extraction in Ghana, and is currently writing a book on the oil industry and environmental futures in West Africa. She is the co-director of the MSc in Sustainability, Energy & Development at Durham and is passionate about anthropology's potential to inform sustainable futures.

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Miguel Gomez Hernandez

is a techno-anthropologist pursuing his PhD and teaching at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He focuses on how older adults and the industry envision future smart-home technologies. He also teaches courses on health humanities and design thinking. Previously, Miguel researched and developed guidelines to design mobile apps and sensors for older people, primarily in the e-health domain. His academic background is an MSc in Denmark, and a Dual BA in Spain and Finland. He also lived in Russia.

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Markus Rothmüller

is a Techno-Anthropologist and Industrial Engineer by training, working in the fields of strategic foresight, venture building and product management and discovery. His projects often center around the future of mobility, energy and health including emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, smart homes, or tele-health / home care products, etc.

Applying anthropology mostly in the backgrounds of his work, he looks at concepts like socio-technical worlds, actor-networks, rituals, mediation theory, transformation and belonging as an add on to mainstream innovation methods.

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