Dr Alex Aisher
Based on longterm fieldwork in the Eastern Himalayas, Northeast India and South India, Alex Aisher's research engages with current urgent social scientific debates about resilience, adaptation, indigenous environmental knowledge, perceptions of seasonality and human-animal relations in the context of global environmental change. Drawing on multispecies ethnography, narrative theory and the anthropology of emotion, his work also engages critical social ecological debates surrounding borders, common property and cultural perceptions of extreme climate events ('environmental alterities'). His applied methodological research, developed as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, examines values and participatory decision-making in different organisational and community settings.
As an experienced lecturer, module convenor and internal examiner in 2014 he was a winner of the first ever student-led Teaching Awards at the University of Sussex in the category of 'Outstanding or Innovative Undergraduate Teaching'. In 2007 he was one of two UK anthropologists to be awarded a prestigious British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, during which he designed, tested and developed DecisionSeed®, a participatory strategic decision support tool inspired by his work with indigenous and intentional communities in NE India, South India and the UK (see 'Community and Business'). In 2001 he was the first foreign scholar for over forty years to conduct longterm anthropological fieldwork in the tribal state, internationally contested borderland and 'Biodiversity Hotspot' of Arunachal Pradesh in the Eastern Himalayas. He is currently completing the book resulting from this research entitled Fragment of the First Sun: An Anthropological Journey to India's Eastern Frontier, which will be submitted for publication in 2015. He also reviews funding proposals for the Wenner-Gren Foundation anthropology projects across Asia.
Community and Business
Dr. Alex Aisher, Director of DecisionSeed Ltd., is an anthropologist based at the Department of Anthropology, Sussex University. In 2007 he was one of two UK anthropologists to be awarded a prestigious British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, during which he designed and developed DecisionSeed®, a new participatory group decision support tool inspired by his work with communities and organisations in Northeast India, South India and the UK.
DecisionSeed® is an interactive group tool and associated workshop that develops group awareness of the diverse factors at work in effective strategic decision-making. This includes the harder to measure 'why' factors (purpose, principles, vision and values) that all too often get ignored, but which inspire action, build culture, and underpin effective participatory decision-making. Through a process of face-to-face dialogue and placement of colourful seeds upon the DecisionSeed® mat the group collectively explores the extent to which different strategic pathways uphold the purpose, principles, vision and values of the group and organisation. The group uses the resulting seed-pattern and associated Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) software as a reflective 'mirror' to assess (1) the extent to which different strategic pathways uphold/undermine core principles, vision and values, (2) the group's awareness of critical strategic factors and trade-offs, and (3) readiness to act. Through DecisionSeed® groups are able to achieve effective group strategic decision-making, alignment of decisions with broader organisational and community aims (including purpose, vision and core values), and effective communication of the rationale of strategic decisions. Please contact to book a DecisionSeed® workshop.