My guest on this podcast is Lisa Fenton, who joins me to discuss her research on bushcraft and indigenous knowledge transmissions. Lisa is one of the founders of the Woodsmoke School of Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival, based in the Lake District, in the north west of England. Lisa and her partner Ben McNutt apprenticed with Ray Mears in the late 1990s and early 2000s before going on to set up Woodsmoke together in 2001.
In 2006 Lisa’s interest in anthropology and ethnobotany led her to enrol in a masters degree in ethnobotany offered by Kent University in conjunction with Kew Gardens. Lisa obtained her MSc in 2008, gaining a ‘distinction’ for her final thesis on British wild plant foods. Lisa followed this by reading for a PhD in ethnobiology at Kent University’s School of Anthropology and Conservation, which she has recently completed, gaining her doctorate.
Dr Fenton’s research area was ‘Bushcraft and Indigenous Knowledge Transmissions’, her work examining the relationship between Bushcraft and indigenous knowledge. Lisa’s research was supervised by the distinguished anthropologist Prof. Roy Ellen and comprised an historical review, an examination of ethnographic literature, field work in multiple locations, including Sweden the UK and the USA, in addition to interviewing professional Bushcraft instructors and surveying those who use Bushcraft as part of their outdoor leisure pursuits.
Case studies of several iconic aspects of Bushcraft including the figure-4 deadfall trap and fire-by-friction were used to explore a number of themes in the contemporary Bushcraft world. I was keen to invite Lisa onto this podcast to find out more about her academic work and the unique perspectives she’s gained from her research.
We cover a good amount of ground and we dig deep into the history and origins of Bushcraft as we know it today, its relationship with indigenous knowledge, modern camping as well as survival and survivalism. Our conversation forms Episode 16 of the Paul Kirtley Podcast…
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