Samuel Derbyshire is an anthropologist and a 2023 research fellow at the Jameel Observatory for Food Security Early Action in Kenya, a research centre focused on using data and evidence to help climate vulnerable communities prepare for and act on environmental shocks. He is a junior research fellow in anthropology at St John's College at the University of Oxford.
An anthropologist, Samuel's research centres on a range of topics concerning recent African history and contemporary life that lie at the intersection between anthropology and archaeology, including material culture, time, livelihood practices, social change, colonialism and infrastructural and economic development. His fieldwork experience spans a variety of countries in Africa but his most extensive fieldwork to date has been ethnographic in the Turkana region of northern Kenya, exploring the changing livelihoods and systems of livelihood interaction that constitute the Turkana pastoral economy.
Building on his ongoing research with communities in southern Turkana, he is building an analysis of pastoralist livelihoods in eastern and northern Africa, which involves fieldwork with herding groups in northern Kenya and central Sudan.
Prior to becoming a Jameel Observatory fellow, Samuel conducted historical and ethnographic research across a range of locations in Kenya as a PhD research fellow at the British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi. He previously worked as an archeologist on the University College London (UCL) Qatar Sudan archaeological project, excavating at the ancient Royal City of Meroë, north-east of Khartoum.
Samuel holds a bachelor's degree in Egyptian archeology from UCL and a master's in archeology and doctorate of philosophy in anthropology from the University of Oxford. He advises a development project, 'Sustainable off-grid solutions for African economic development', on solar initiatives in the Turkana region.