I have a long-standing interest in the practice of forensic anthropology, the frameworks in which practitioners work, and the way it is taught. My first publication, back when I was a PhD student full of righteous indignation, explored the ethics and legality of using skeletal remains in forensic anthropology research. This is a theme I have come back to throughout my career, although it has evolved a little to focus more on practice in the field. I have been fortunate enough to work with colleagues on a couple of book chapters to tease apart the tensions of applying forensic anthropology in contexts around the world, and how the clash of different philosophies and paradigms can result in a more sensitive approach to practice.

I also really like teaching – and I’ve wanted to teach for as long as I can remember. The only thing that’s changed is the age group that I wanted in my classes. The great thing about working in a university like ours, is that you get to create a pedagogical connections – my field work gives me questions for my research which feeds into my teaching which gives me new ideas and directions for further research and how to approach case work. I have a bit of an issue with many learning and teaching publications, in that they can be a bit navel gazey or lack a genuine means of determining the effectiveness of a given intervention, so more recently I have been putting my money where my mouth is and undertaking some detailed pedagogical research within a full evaluation framework.

In addition to classroom-based teaching, I also co-deliver a hugely successful Future Learn course on Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology, which has been supported by the ICRC. This has developed from a short course we have run in the region which has supported police and crime scene officers from across the globe. And a number of artists and authors! I’ve also traveled around Europe delivering CPD. This ability to tailor my teaching for a multitude of audiences and learners is partly what led to me being awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for excellence in teaching and support for learning in 2014. It’s also been helpful in my role as Chair of the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement Review for Anthropology.

My teaching has also led directly to the creation of my spin-out company, anthronomics ltd, which aspired to develop incredible teaching and study aids for people like us. I’m proud of the work it achieved.

Check out the details:

  • Gowland, R.L. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2021) The skeleton and human identity. In: Ferguson, R., Littlefield, M and Purdon, J. (eds.) The Art of Identification. Princeton University Press.
  • Thompson, T.J.U. (2020) Choose your own murder: Non-linear narratives enhance student understanding in forensic science education. Forensic Science International: Synergy 2: 82-85. [This one is totally open access, so you can follow the link here to read it]
  • Nakhaeizadeh, S., Morgan, R.M., Olsson, V., Arvidsson, M. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2019) The value of eye-tracking technology in the analysis and interpretations of skeletal remains: A pilot study. Science & Justice 60: 36-42.
  • Errickson, D. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2019) Sharing is not always caring: Social media and the dead. In: Squires, K., Errickson, D. and Marquez-Grant, N. (eds.) Ethical approaches to human remains: A global challenge in bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology. Springer: Switzerland. pp299-313.
  • Thompson, T.J.U., Jiménez Gaytan, D., Bedoya Sánchez, S. and Ninel Pleitez Quiñónez, A. (2018) Forensic anthropology: Whose rules are we playing by? – Contextualising the role of forensic protocols in human rights investigations. In: Waterlow, J. and Schuhmacher, J. (eds.) War crimes trials and investigations: A multidisciplinary introduction. Palgrave Macmillan: UK. pp59-80.
  • Thompson, T.J.U. (2015) Deconstructing the ‘ideal’ of standardisation. In: Crossland, Z. and Joyce, R. (eds.) Disturbing bodies: Perspectives on forensic anthropology. SAR Press. pp63-84.
  • Fowler, G. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2015) A mere technical exercise? Challenges and technological solutions to the identification of individuals in mass grave scenarios in the modern context. In: Anstett, E. et al (eds.) Search and identification of corpses and human remains in post-genocide and mass violence contexts. pp117-141.
  • Butler, M., Thompson, T.J.U. and Bel, É. (2014) Exploring the implementation of head mounted camera technology in Volume Crime Scene Investigation. In de Guzman, Das and Das (ed.) The evolution of policing: worldwide innovations and insights. CRC Press, Inc.: Florida, USA. pp281-297.
  • Gowland, R. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2013) Human identity and identification. Cambridge University Press.
  • Thompson, T.J.U. (2008) The role of the photograph in the application of forensic anthropology and the interpretation of clandestine scenes of crime. Photography & Culture 1(2): 163-182.
  • Thompson, T.J.U. and Black, S.M. (eds.) (2007) Forensic human identification: an introduction. CRC Press, Inc.: Florida, USA.
  • Thompson, T.J.U. (2003) The quality and appropriateness of forensic anthropological education in the UK. Public Archaeology 3(2): 88-94.
  • Thompson, T.J.U. (2003) Supply and demand: Shifting expectations in forensic anthropology. Science and Justice 43(4): 183-186.
  • Thompson, T.J.U. (2001) Legal and ethical considerations of forensic anthropological research. Science and Justice 41(4): 261-270.