Three Fulbright scholars from Academic Year 2014 – 2015 namely; Kelley O’Brien, Lori Fields and Neal Thomas Barsch delivered their final presentations last April 10, 2015, Friday at the PAEF Office.
The first speaker was Ms. Kelley O’Brien. She received her Masters in Three Dimensional Design from Cranbook Academy of Art. Her presentation entitled “Locating Payatas: How Informal Culture Influences Space Making” talked about the interconnectedness of communities and architecture is specifically unique in Payatas whose communities depend on the ever changing landscape of the Quezon City Sanitary Landfill for livelihood opportunities. Through non-traditional architectural methods of cognitively mapping kinetic spaces, Ms. O’Brien hoped to provide alternative perspectives on what it means to experience and live in such environments. By investigating the historic, geographic, economic, and political factors that influence urban planning methods in Payatas, she has examined the direct link between culture and space making through academic publications, intensive archival research, and a contemporary artistic practice.
Ms. Lori Fields was the next presentor. Ms. Fields is a Ph.D. candidate in Biological Anthropology at Texas A&M University. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology at New Mexico State University. Her presentation entitled “Indigenous Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Tarsiers and Macaques in Leyte and Bohol, Philippines” discussed about the human-nonhuman primate interface which have contributed to the growing ethnoprimatological literature. Two emerging areas of interest are indigenous knowledge and attitudes toward nonhuman primates living in proximity to humans. This project addressed these topics in the Visayan region of the Philippines, where the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) and the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) are found. In light of the recent environmental destruction (i.e. the earthquake in Bohol in October 2013 and typhoon in Leyte in November 2013), it is necessary to consider people’s views on conservation and how they interact with the environment and these two nonhuman primates. Considering the degree of habitat loss, natural disasters, and increased tourism in the Philippines, the results of this study may contribute to the implementation of more sustainable conservation practices, community education, and improved guidelines for tourism, which serve to minimize detrimental effects on wildlife populations.
The last speaker, Mr. Neal Thomas Barsch graduated from Colgate University with a degree in Economics (with a focus on Economic Development and Econometrics) in 2014. “Mobile Money: Utilizing the Sari-Sari Store Network of the Philippines” is the title of his presentation. He argued that sari-sari stores, due to their positioning in every community throughout the country, have the chance to provide last-mile services to even the most remote and rural areas through mobile technology. This Fulbright project examined the capacity of sari-sari stores to handle providing financial services to areas of the Philippines previously unbanked. Through building a dataset of over 1,400 surveys to measure demand for financial services, the ethnographical context of how sari-sari stores fit into the everyday lives of Filipinos, and the capacity of sari-sari stores to handle money and financial services, this project has been able to exhibit the best practices of how to make such a mobile financial services network possible to implement through an agent network built of sari-sari stores in the Philippines.