Johnny Skinner
1995 …2021

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Dr Johnny Skinner is a Senior Fellow member of the Higher Education Academy with a particular teaching interest in interviewing skills and qualitative research methods. He has undertaken fieldwork in the Eastern Caribbean on the island of Montserrat (tourism and trauma, colonial relations and disaster recovery) and in the US/UK (social dancing, arts health, contested heritage). He recently applied his work on festivals and carnival to support sustainable lobster fishing practices in Sainte Luce, Madagascar (2019). He previously lectured at the University of Abertay Dundee (1996-2003) and Queen's University Belfast (2003-2013). He is an experienced conference organiser and academic editor, keynote speaker, cruise ship lecturer and dance instructor. At Roehampton, he has served as Chair of the TECHNE (AHRC Doctoral Training Programme) Training Group, and Programme Convener for the MRes Anthropology of Health. His co-edited book Leisure and Death won the 2020 Ed Bruner Book Prize for best new book.

Johnny was awarded The Sociological Review Fellowship (1998/9), and has held Visiting Fellowships at the University of Oxford (2002/3), California State University - Sacramento (2007, and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (2013). He has been Honorary Treasurer of the Association of Social Anthropologists (1999-2003), editor of the journal Anthropology in Action (2001-2007), and publications officer for the European Association of Social Anthropologists (2004-2008). He is currently an Adjunct Fellow of the Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies, University of St Andrews, co-edits the award-winning book series 'Dance and Performance Studies' for Berghahn Publishers with Professor Helena Wulff (University of Stockholm) and is advisor to the Northern Ireland arts health charity Arts Care. He is also two-times Ulster Salsa Champion (2008, 2011) and a qualified Argentine tango instructor.



Skinner, J., F. Murphy and E. Heffernan (eds) (2021) Collaborations: Anthropology in a Neoliberal Age, London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-1-35000-226-5 (Hardback)

Skinner, J. and A. Gronseth (eds) (2021) Mobilities of Wellbeing: Migration, the State and Medical Knowledge, Durham NC: Carolina Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-5310-2031-6 (Paperback)

Skinner, J. and J. Feldman (2018) Tour Guides as Cultural Mediators – Special Issue of Ethnologia Europaea /Journal of European Ethnology and volume published by Museum Tusculanum Press, 48(2): 5-120. ISBN 978-87-635-46478 / ISSN 0425-4597.

Skinner, J. and A. Kaul (eds) (2018) Leisure and Death: Lively Encounters with Risk, Death, and Dying, Boulder, Co: University of Colorado Press. ISBN: 978-1-60732-728-8 (Paperback)

** 2018 US Public Radio recommended Summer reading (Natural History & Sustainability) **

** 2020 Ed Bruner Book Prize **

Skinner, J. and L. Jolliffe (eds) (2017) Visiting Murals: Politics, Heritage and Identity, London: Routledge. ISBN 9781472461438 (Hardback)

Skinner, J., A. Wilford and P. Antick (eds) (2016) Terror on Tour - Special Issue, Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, 12(5), ISSN: 1557-2935 (Online)

Skinner, J. and D. Bryan (eds) (2015) Consuming St Patrick’s Day, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4438-7631-5 (Hardback)

Skinner, J. (Ed.) (2014) ‘Applied and Social Anthropology, Arts and Health’ (Special Issue)Anthropology in Action: Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice 21(1): 2-42. ISSN 0967-201X

Skinner, J. (Ed.) (2012) The Interview: An Ethnographic Approach, Oxford: Berg Publications. ISBN 9781847889409 (Paperback)

Skinner, J. (Ed.) (2012) Writing The Dark Side of Travel, Oxford: Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-0-85745-341-9 (Paperback)

Skinner, J. and H. Neveu-Kringelbach (eds) (2012) Dancing Cultures: Globalization, Tourism and Identity in the Anthropology of Dance, Oxford: Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-0-85745-575-8 (Hardback)

Skinner, J. (Ed.) (2012) Interviewing Ireland: North and South, Irish Journal of Anthropology, Special Edition, 15(1): 5-46. ISSN: 1393-8592 (Print)

Skinner, J. and D. Theodossopoulos (eds) (2011) Great Expectations: Imagination, Anticipation, and Enchantment in Tourism, Oxford: Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-0-85745-277-1 (Hardback)

Skinner, J. (Ed.) (2010) The Dark Side of Travel, Journeys: The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing, Special Edition, 11(1): 1-177. ISSN: 1465-2609 (Print)

Skinner, J. and M. Hills (eds) (2006) Managing Island Life: Social, Economic and Political Dimensions of Formality and Informality in ‘Island’ Communities, Dundee: University of Abertay Press. ISBN 1-899796-14-2 (Paperback)

Skinner, J. (Ed.) (2005) Special Edition: Embodiment and Teaching and Learning in Anthropology, Anthropology in Action, 12(2), pp.1-82. ISSN 0967-201X (Print)

Skinner, J. (2004) Before the Volcano: Reverberations of Identity on Montserrat, Kingston, Jamaica: Arawak Publications. ISBN 976-189-21-5 (Paperback)

Skinner, J. (Ed.) (2002) Special Edition: Managing Island Life, Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 8(2), pp.205-320. ISSN 1350-4630 (Print)

Skinner, J. and C. Di Domenico and A. Law and M. Smith (eds) (2001)Boundaries and Identities: Nation, Politics and Culture in Scotland,Dundee: University of Abertay Dundee Press. ISBN 1-899796-0808 (Paperback)


PhD - University of St. Andrews, 1997

MA - University of St. Andrews, 1993

Research interests

Ethnographic and Interview research methods, narrative, auto/biography, travel writing; (dark) tourism, (social) dance, (conflicted) heritage, (arts) health and ageing; Caribbean, US/UK, Northern Ireland

Research projects

Funding Awards

Faculty Participant

2019-27 TECHNE2 AHRC DTP bid (>£15 million): Responsible for coordinating and writing ‘Training and Development’ component (375 studentships across the consortium over 5 cohorts)

2018-22 ‘Rising from the Depths: Utilising marine Cultural Heritage in East Africa to Help Develop Sustainable Social, Economic and Cultural Benefits’ – AHRC collaboration £2m, PI Dr Jon Henderson from the University of Nottingham; providing support, training and co-supervising 2 doctoral students

2017-18 ‘Social Choreography’ AHRC Network Grant participant, £32,144 (developing a large grant on best practice working with refugees with Co-PIs Dr Nicholas Sutil, University of Leeds and Professor Sarah Whatley, Coventry University): 

2013-17 ‘Cultural & Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Relations’ – AHRC collaboration £1.94m, PI Dr Mark Maltby, University of Bournemouth; providing support, training and co-supervising 2 doctoral students


Principal Investigator / Co-Investigator

2019-20 “Shoring Up Marine Cultural Heritage: extending Madagascar’s ‘festival of the sea’ amongst the orphaned young of Lamu’s Anidan Children’s Shelter, Kenya”, PI, Rising from the Depths Network - AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund

2018-20 ‘REHARBOURING HERITAGE: tying tangible and intangible marine heritage to the performing arts to develop community engagement in food security and sustainable livelihoods in East Africa coastal communities’, PI, Rising from the Depths Network - AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund

2017-18 ‘Slavery, Abolition and Resistance: St Patrick’s Day and 250 years of Methodism on Montserrat’, PI, Southlands Methodist Trust

2016-19 ‘Saving the sea turtles of Anguilla: combining community action with scientific evidence to drive legislative change’, Co-I, EU Commission: BEST 2.0 Medium Grants – voluntary Scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of European Overseas

2013 Invited International Fellow, School of US Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2009-11 “Leading dance for older people - a community health network”, Co-PI with Dr Sylvia O’Sullivan, University of Limerick, Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI)

2007-8 “MOTILITY 21: twenty-first century social engagement for the older citizen through social dance in NI”, PI, Changing Ageing Partnership (CAP) project funded through the Atlantic Philanthropies 

2007-8 “Second Degree Dance: movement, meaning and learning”, PI, British Academy research grant 

2006 “Cultural Sounds and Conservation Texts: Soundscapes of a lost Montserrat (British West Indies)”, PI, Higher Education Academy, Education for Sustainable Development Project grant 

2006 Lecturers in Industry EU Proteus placement grant – secondment to research and assist with the creation of a professional dance company 

2005-7 University Research Fellowship – PI, 3 yr fieldwork grant to research migration, movement and cosmopolitan identity on the dance floor, California

2004 QUB Teaching and Learning Enhancement Grant – PI, to research teaching the anthropology of dance and to bring dance teachers into the classroom 

2002-3 Visiting Fellowship, held at Refugee Studies Centre (Queen Elizabeth House), University of Oxford

2001 QinetiQ consultancy, PI, reviewing and analysing computer mediated communication research in the social sciences 

1998-9 The Sociological Review Fellowship 

1995 Sutasoma/Radcliffe-Brown Award 

1994-8 Carnegie Trust Scholarship

Professional affiliations

- Royal Anthropological Institute [RAI] - Fellow

- Association of Social Anthropologists [ASA] - Member (former Treasurer 1999-2003)

- European Association of Social Anthropologists [EASA] - Member (former Publications Officer 2004-2008)

- American Anthropological Association [AAA] - Member

- International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) - Member

- Anthropology in Action - Member (former Editor 2001-2007)

- Higher Education Academy - Senior Fellow


Postgraduate supervision

PhD completion

Dr Yu Chun Chen - (completed in 2020, Roehampton – Taiwanese Government funded) Individuality, Identity and Embodiment: Careers to Becoming a Dancer.

Dr Jonathan Karkut - (completed in 2018, Roehampton) The emergence of the Geoparks network: a global model to sustain and popularise geological heritage.

Dr Eva Zoubek - (completed in 2018, Roehampton – AHRC funded) From Egg to Dead: small-scale chicken keeping in modern Britain.

Dr Simon Crampton - (completed in 2014, Roehampton – England and Wales Cricket Board funded) The Construct of Mental Toughness: The development and validation of a new conceptualisation and measure.

Dr Bea Prentiss - (completed in 2013, QUB) Latin Oxford: Teaching, Learning and Role Reversal in the Dance Class.

Dr Imtiaz Mahmud - (completed in 2010, QUB) Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.

Dr Lindsay Sprague - (completed in 2009, QUB) Living well around The Clinic: An Ethnography of Agency and Disclosure in the lives of those with HIV/AIDS.


PhD supervision

Shyvonne Thompson – TOSTEM Antigua: public discourses on the silence of inherited trauma (SeNSS-funded doctoral student, pre-fieldwork)

Monicah Sairo – Tourism, Conservation and Education in Lamu Arts Festivals, Kenya (AHRC-funded doctoral student, fieldwork)

Victor Alati – Tour Guiding in Coastal Communities in Kenya (AHRC-funded doctoral student, fieldwork)

Wen-chi Chu – Body as Metaphor: Anthropology and Epistemologies of non-Anatomical Body Movement in the British Context (Taiwanese Government funded, writing)

Felicity Inns – The Remembrance Poppy: A fading bloom for history’s conflicts, or a symbol of political strife? (TECHNE funded, fieldwork)

Rebecca Litchfield – Dark Semiotics: The Capturing and Circulation of Dark Tourist Sites (TECHNE funded, submitted)


Consultancy work


University of Huddersfield

Institute for Conflict Research (Belfast)

Overseas Development Institute (London)

Arts Care (Belfast)



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