Dr Tom Widger, Founder/Curator Tom has been involved in the ethnographic study of suicide in Sri Lanka for more than 10 years. His PhD thesis was based on 2 years’ fieldwork in community and clinical settings, alongside census and archive research. In 2011 Tom was awarded an Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Tom has published several articles on suicide in Sri Lanka, and is co-editor of Ethnographies of Suicide, a special issue of Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. He is currently working on his first monograph. The book traces the effects of social and cultural processes on meanings and practices of suicide and self-harm in Sri Lanka.
Dr James Staples, Member After completing a first degree in anthropology in 1990 I worked for nearly ten years as a journalist before my ongoing fascination with South India drew me back to SOAS, University of London, to undertake a PhD. Thanks to ESRC and British Academy Fellowships I was able to stay on there for four years after completion as a post-doctoral fellow, broadening out my initial research on the social consequences of leprosy to consider how attitudes towards negatively construed bodily differences in India are shaped by – and shape – ideas about what constitutes human completeness. A further 16-months’ fieldwork in Hyderabad examined how the category of disability is constituted in multiple ways, and how it is experienced by disabled people in their day-to-day interactions. I joined Brunel as a lecturer in January 2007, returning regularly to my original field site to pursue new research on various topics, including food and social mobility, and suicide.
Tharindi Udalagama, Member Tharindi Udalagama graduated from the Department of Sociology, University of Colombo in 2010 with a First Class honours in Sociology and is currently a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Colombo. She has been working with the project Biomedical and Health Experimentation in South Asia for the past two years as a Research Fellow, managing the fieldwork in Sri Lanka, which included observation at case study sites, in-depth interviews with respondents, writing and presenting from the project outcomes. Her research interests include science and technology studies, bioethics, policy studies, and suicide in rural settings.