Jenny Bentley (PhD) is currently an associated researcher at the ISEK (Department for Cultural Anthropology and Cultural Studies, University of Zurich) and the research head at Echostream, a multi-disciplinary design agency based in Gangtok, Sikkim (India).
As a social anthropologist Jenny Bentley has always moved along the interface of academia, activism and creative engagement. Already as a student she volunteered at the Society for Threatened People (SFTP), an independent voice for the cause of minorities and Indigenous people, and at the Tapriza Verein, a NGO supporting a school project built around local language, religion, culture and Indigenous knowledge systems. Currently, she is the executive director of the latter.
She conducted extensive field research for her PHD thesis at the University of Zürich on rituals, vulnerabilities and Indigenous belonging that she submitted in 2020. From 2010 until present, she started collaborating with the Sikkimese multi-disciplinary design agency Echostream in applied anthropology projects. These projects focus on knowledge transfer through modern media and art amongst others animation movies, story telling, interpretation centres, ethnographic workshops and research tools for local communities. 2015 to 2019, she was engaged in supporting refugee and migrant communities in Switzerland by heading intercultural encounter projects at the K5 Basler Kurszentrum.
Further, based on fieldwork she conducted in 2018, she co-authored publications of the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre that inform and advise members of the development community (funders, NGOs) with regard to anti-corruption measures on a policy level. At present, she is involved in a research project on storytelling, Indigenous youth empowerment and sacred lands in collaboration with the Department for Religious Studies at the University of Toronto.
Recent publications: Protectors of the land and water: citizenship, territory and vulnerability among the Lepcha in Sikkim and West Bengal Linkedin Academia