Photo of partial Earth against the blackness of space with the grey landscape of the moon in the foreground.

Core Project Members

Victor is Professor of Material Culture within the Material Culture Group at UCL and works on the material culture of Low Earth Orbit, architecture, domesticity, the archaeology of the recent past, and critical understandings of materiality and new technologies. Currently he is Principal Investigator of the 5 year European Research Council funded research project: ETHNO-ISS: An Ethnography of an Extraterrestrial Society: the International Space Station (ERC Advanced Grant, no. 833135) and is one of the theme leaders of the ESA_lab@UCL.

UCL Staff Page

Selected Publications
  • 2020 Buchli, V. (forthcoming) ‘Extra-terrestrial methods: towards an ethnography of the ISS’,  in T. Carroll et al. Lineages and Advancements in Material Culture Studies: Perspective from UCL Anthropology, London: Bloomsbury
  • 2020 Buchli, V. (forthcoming) ‘Low Earth Orbit: A speculative ethnographer’s guide’ in W. Bracewell et al. Anti-Atlas: Towards a Critical Area Studies, London: UCL Press
  • 2018 ‘Interview’ in We all Love Your Life, George Henry Longly, Red Bull
Selected Talks
  • 2019 ETHNO-ISS: An Ethnography of an Extra-terrestrial Society: the International Space Station, Joint Departmental Seminars, Dept. of Anthropology, University College London
  • 2019 ‘To the Moon and Back’, Bloomsbury Festival, Conway Hall, October 20

Giles Bunch is a social anthropologist and PhD student at UCL. His research looks at the culture of human spaceflight at the European Space Agency (ESA), with a focus on the training and practices of flight controller teams supporting ESA’s Columbus project. He has recently conducted fieldwork at two sites connected with ESA’s human spaceflight programme; The European Astronaut Centre, and Columbus Control Centre in Germany.

Jenia Gorbanenko is a PhD candidate (ABD) in anthropology at University College London, specializing in the study of religion and outer space. Her ongoing doctoral research interrogates the Russian Orthodox Christian perspective on space exploration. Prior to joining the ETHNO-ISS team, Jenia‘s academic research focused on the post-Soviet religious revival in Russia. She is also an ethnographic consultant and researcher with more than five years of experience in applied commercial contexts beyond academia.

Selected Talks
  • American Anthropological Association 2022 Annual Meeting, panel ETHNO-ISS: ethnographies of the extra-terrestrial, ‘Icons on the ISS: Soviet and Russian Orthodox exemplars’, chair and panelist, Seattle, USA, 11/2022
  • Royal Anthropological Institute ‘Anthropology, AI and the Future of Human Society’ conference, panel Becoming Gods: Techno-scientific and Other Deifications, ‘Theosis: the Russian Orthodox ontology of transcendence, transhumanism, and space exploration’, panelist, virtual, 06/2022
  • St Petersburg Association of Sociologists Conference ‘Anxious Society and (im)possibilities of solidarity’, panelCan a space (comm)unity be possible?, ‘Krestnyy khod in orbit: the limits of the scientific way of knowing in the Russian Orthodox perspective’, panelist, virtual, 04/2022

David Jeevendrampillai (Jeeva) is a Senior Research Fellow in Anthropology at UCL. He researches emerging notions of planetary citizenship with particular reference to those who advocate for the power of seeing the earth from space. In doing so he considers the emergent notions of territory, place and universal human futures as people grapple with cosmic and planetary scale social belonging. He is the director of UCL’s Centre of Outer Space Studies, a member of the UCL Space Domain committee and the IAF’s Space Habitats Committee. He has published previous on community building at the local scale, now working at the planetary scale his work encompasses anthropology of technology, place, notions of the future, design, utopianism and fears of the end of the Earth.

UCL Staff Page

Selected Publications
  • Jeevandrampillai, D. and A. Parkhurst. 2020. Towards An Anthropology of Gravity: Emotion and Embodiment in Microgravity EnvironmentsEmotion, Space & Society, vol 35
  • Nezami, A., Jeevendrampillai, D., Sucheshnadevi, P., Ip-Jewell, S., O’Farrill, O., and Coelho, T. 2022. Psychological Challenges of Spaceflight. Journal of Space Philosophy 11(1) Spring: 5-25.
  • Jeevendrampillai, D. 2022. ‘Earth – Cosmic Glossary’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. In Press. 
  • Jeevendrampillai, D., & Parkhurst, A. 2021. Making A Martian Home: Finding Humans On Mars Through Utopian Architecture. Home Cultures18 (1), 25-46.
  • Martínez, F., Berglund, E., Harkness, R., Jeevendrampillai, D., & Murray, M. 2021. Far Away, so Close: A Collective Ethnography around Remoteness. Entanglements4(1), 246-283.
  • Parkhurst, A., & Jeevendrampillai, D. 2020. Towards an Anthropology of Gravity: Emotion and Embodiment in Microgravity Environments. Emotion, Space and Society35, 100680.
Selected Talks
  • ‘Making a Martian Feel at Home: Utopian Design in Building a Mars Habitat’, Collège de France, Summer 2019
  • Conference Convener & Chair: Towards An Anthropology of Outer Space, UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, London, 2017. 
  • ‘Building a Home on Mars: Utopian Design and making Martians’, Departmental Seminar, NTNU Anthropology

Adryon Kozel (they/she) is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at UCL and researches how the space community engages in prefigurative politics and cultivates a multiplanetary subjectivity through large-scale social events, analog missions, and self-transformation. As part of their fieldwork, they volunteered with Yuri’s Night and the Analog Astronaut Community and attended rocket launches in Florida. They are a Co-Director and steering committee member of UCL’s Centre for Outer Space Studies (COSS).

They are currently co-curating an exhibition on the material belongings of space enthusiasts, which explores both personal relationships to space and how curation and collaboration can be used as anthropological method. The exhibition will be on display at UCL Anthropology from June to December 2023 alongside an online version.

Associated Members

As an Associate Scholar attached to ETHNO-ISS, Dr. Carroll’s  focus within the project is on the notions of transcendence and the discourse, especially in the Russian context, between scientific progress and discovery, and theological conceptions and religious practices – both in the official discourse of Russian Orthodox Christianity and in the folk and un-orthodox expressions seen throughout the Soviet and Russian space exploration. With a research background in clothing as a technical apparatus, Timothy is also interested in space suites and other wearable tech used within off-Earth contexts.

UCL Staff Page

Paddy Edgley is a PhD candidate at UCL, researching the anthropology of outer space. His research follows amateur astronomers in and around London and investigates how these practices inform understandings of what it means to be ‘human’ in a cosmic context. His research is interested in how astronomy allows stargazers to engage with the cosmos, produce understandings of their place within it, and deploy those understandings to inform social, ethical, political, and ecological relations with the world and each other ‘down here’ on Earth, as well as imagine futures in space.

He is a Co-Director of UCL’s Centre for Outer Space Studies.

Makar Tereshin is a doctoral student at UCL, focusing on the fallout zones of Russia’s Spaceports Baikonur and Plesetsk where rocket boosters are discarded after launches to orbit. He is interested in how communities in the vicinity of the ranges inhabit and negotiate the indeterminate borders, spaces and materials of the fallout zones, and what such edgework can tell us about the larger polities to which they belong.

Jo’s research interests and professional work lie at the intersection of organizational and design anthropology. She has over 20 years experience at NASA working in various roles from Mission Control to human factors engineering to executive leadership consulting. With continued interests in organizational culture, user experience, innovation and the future, Jo is currently working for Google, LLC as a senior researcher.

UCL Staff Page

Selected Publications
  • Aiken, Jo (2021, forthcoming). “Outer Space.” Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Accepted 2021.
  • Aiken, Jo and Angela Ramer (2020). “From the Space Station to the Sofa: Scales of Isolation at Work.” Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings. Redmond, WA: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology. October 2020.
  • Aiken, Jo (2015). “Otherworldly Anthropology: Past, Present, and Future Contributions of Ethnographers to Space Exploration.” In Applied Anthropology: Unexpected Spaces, Topics and Methods. Sheena Nahm, Cortney Hughes Rinker, eds. Routledge.
  • Aiken, Jo (2015). “Space in Space: Designing for Privacy in the Workplace.” Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings. Redmond, WA: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology. Paper accepted May 2015.
  • Aiken, Jo (2012). “Integrating Organizational and Design Perspectives to Address Challenges of Renewal: A Case Study of NASA’s Post-Shuttle Workforce Transition.” Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings. Redmond, WA: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology.
Selected Talks
  • Space Anthropology, Course for Masters Program in Space Studies. International Space University, Strasbourg, France, 2016.
  • Privacy Needs for Long-Duration Spaceflight: An Anthropological Approach. Human Factors and Ergonomic Society Symposium, College Station, Texas, 2014.

International Advisory Board

  • Prof. Debbora Battaglia (Mount Holyoke College, USA) 
  • Prof. Alice Gorman (Flinders University, Australia) 
  • Prof. Lisa Messeri (Yale University, USA) 
  • Matthew Napoli  
  • Prof. Valerie Olson (University of California Irvine, USA) 
  • Prof. David Valentine (University of Minnesota, USA) 
  • Dr. Jack Stuster (Anacapa Sciences, USA)
  • Prof. Willi Lempert ( Bowdoin College, USA)
  • Dr. John Vernaleo (SpaceChain, USA)  
  • Prof. Grace Dillon, (Portland University, USA) 
  • Prof Lawrence Palinkas (University of Southern California, USA)
  • Prof Okada Hiroki, (Kobe University and Minpaku, Japan) 
  • Dr. Julie Patarin-Jossec, (St. Petersburg State University, Russia)
  • Piero Messina (ESA) 
  • Berti Meissinger (ESA) 

London Advisory Board

  • Prof. Susan Collins (Slade School of Fine Art) 
  • Gonzalo Herrero Delicado (Royal Academy of Arts) 
  • Irene Gallou (Foster + Partners Architects) 
  • Kate Arkless Gray (Space Journalist) 
  • Prof. Sanjeev Gupta (Imperial College London) 
  • Jonathan Irawan (Hassell Studio Architects, UK) 
  • Dr. Rob La Frenais (Curator) 
  • Anna Talvi (Royal College of Art, Microgravity-Wear Designer) 
  • Dr. Iya Whiteley (UCL) 
  • Dr. Jill Stuart (LSE)
  • Dr. David Nixon (Architect)
  • Xavier de Kestelier (Hassell Studio Architects, UK)