Profile – Simone Anna Felding, DZNE

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Simone Anna Felding


Simone Anna Felding

Job title:

PhD Student and Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow

Place of work / study:

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Witten, Germany

Area of Research:

Ethnographic research into the use of pet robots for people with dementia in nursing homes.

How is your work funded?

By the EU under grant agreement number 813196

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a social anthropologist, originally from Copenhagen. I moved to Germany in 2019 to do my PhD about the use of social robots for people with dementia. During my studies in Denmark I specialised in anthropology of health with a focus on dementia in nursing homes. I love doing ethnographic research in nursing homes, spending time with the residents and developing close bonds with people with dementia, staff and relatives.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

As a teenager sailing was my big passion, something which led me to represent both Denmark and (strangely enough) the Netherlands at the Yngling World Championship as well as the Yngling Youth European Championship

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

To be honest, my first interest was really geeky, as I found the topic anthropologically interesting. In social anthropology, we try to understand cultural and social norms, and many of these norms or invisible borders are crossed by people with dementia. This also informs our understandings of the disease, as it defines what is defined as normal behaviour and which social behaviour is disease-related.

What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?

Engage in activities that keep you critical in your research and always listen to your gut feeling.

What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?

I just started reading ‘Socio-gerontechnology: Interdisciplinary Critical Studies of Ageing and Technology’, an anthology edited by Alexander Peine, Barbara L. Marshall, Wendy Martin and Louis Neven and it is really inspiring my work on technologies in dementia care. Privately, I just finished ‘The Right to Sex’ by Amia Srinivasan which is a thought-provoking collection of essays on sex, feminism, intersectionality, student-teacher relations and so much more that I highly recommend everyone to read.

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