Dr Nikita  Simpson

Dr Nikita Simpson

Postdoctoral Research Officer

Department of Anthropology

Room No
OLD 6.06A
Key Expertise
India, South Asia, UK, Southern Africa

About me



Nikita is a Postdoctoral Research Officer in the Department of Anthropology at LSE, where she is involved in the Periscope project, and leads the Covid and Care Research Group. Committed to the role of anthropology in policy and intervention design, Nikita works particularly on the anthropology of health and mental health. 

Nikita’s doctoral thesis (2021), funded through an LSE Doctoral Fellowship, focused on embodied forms of illness and mental distress amongst Gaddi tribal women in Northern India. Based on fifteen months of fieldwork, she focused on the condition of ‘tension’ as an emic form of distress indexing inequalities of class, caste, gender and tribe in this community. She argues that attention to such embodied forms can shed light on the intimate experiences of structural change beyond the Gaddi context. She is developing this research into a book manuscript. 

Nikita holds a BA (Cantab) from the University of Cambridge, where she read Politics, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology. She has engaged in policy and intervention design in the fields of global health and social policy, holding positions at the World Health Organisation and the UK government’s Policy Lab. Since 2015, Nikita has worked with the SHM Foundation to develop participatory co-design and digital methodologies that can be used to develop better health and mental health systems, particularly for young people in Southern Africa. Nikita is also a co-founder of The SHM Foundation’s Ember initiative. 

Most recently, Nikita has worked with Prof. Laura Bear and a collective at LSE Anthropology and beyond to conduct ethnographic research into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on inequality in the UK. Using participatory, citizen-led and creative methods, she has contributed insights on stigma, gender, ethnicity and deprivation to policy discussions at EU, national and local policy level.

Expertise Details

Health and mental health; HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health; Digital health; Feminist anthropology and economies of care; Inequalities and stigmas; ethnicity; caste and class; Covid-19 pandemic policy; Participatory and co-design methods

Selected publications


Simpson (2019) ‘A Lonely Home: Intimacy and Estrangement in the Field’ in Lenhard, J. & Samanani, F. (eds.) Home: Ethnographic Encounters London: Bloomsbury pp. 59-72.

Simpson et al.  (2021) ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic: insights from a rapid qualitative study BMJ Global Health 6:e005509.

Simpson & Atujuna et al. (2021) Khuluma: Using Participatory, Peer-Led and Digital Methods to Deliver Psychosocial Support to Young People Living With HIV in South Africa.  Frontiers in Sexual and Reproductive Health 3: 10.3389/frph.2021.687677.

Simpson et al. (accepted, in press) ‘Insaka: Mobile phone support groups for adolescent pregnant women living with HIV’ BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. Submitted April 2021. 

Simpson (Under review) ‘Kamzori as alienation: The embodied experience of structural change in a Himalayan village’ Medical Anthropology Quarterly. Submitted June 2021.   

Bear, James & Simpson et al. (2020) 'Changing Care Networks in the United Kingdom' In: Eckert and Hentschke (eds.) Corona and Work around the Globe. Work in Global and Historical Perspective (11). 

Long, Aikman, Appleton, Graham Davies, Deckert, Holroyd, Jivraj, Laws, Simpson, Sterling, Trnka, and Tunufa'i, (2021) ‘Negotiating Risks and Responsibilities during Lockdown: Ethical Reasoning and Affective Experience in Aotearoa New Zealand’. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 1-20. 

Martin-Anatias, Long, Aikman, Appleton, Graham Davies, Deckert, Fehoko, Holroyd, Jivraj, Laws, Roguski, Simpson, Sterling, Trnka, and Tunufa'i, (2021) ‘Lockdown Ibuism: experiences of Indonesian migrant mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Aotearoa New Zealand.’ Intersections, 45.

Policy Publications

Bear, James & Simpson et al. (2020) ‘A Good Death’ During the Covid-19 Pandemic in the UK,” Monograph. LSE, London, UK. 

Bear, James & Simpson et al. (2020) “The Right to Care: The social foundations of recovery from Covid-19” Monograph. LSE, London, UK. 

Bear & Simpsonet al. (2021) Social Infrastructures for post-covid recovery in the UK. Monograph. LSE, London, UK. 

Long, Aikman, Appleton, Graham Davies, Deckert, Holroyd, Jivraj, Laws, Megan, Simpson, Sterling, Trnka, and Tunufa'i, (2020) ‘Living in bubbles during the coronavirus pandemic.’ Rapid Research Report. LSE, London, UK.

Public Engagement

LSE IQ Podcast – What’s the point of social science in a pandemic? https://soundcloud.com/lsepodcasts/whats-the-point-of-social-science-in-a-pandemic?in=lsepodcasts/sets/lse-iq-podcast-intelligent 

LSE Public Events Podcast – Social Infrastructures for a Post-Covid world https://www.lse.ac.uk/Events/2021/07/202107121200/covid 

LSE Festival Shorts – Has Covid produced new forms of stigma? https://www.lse.ac.uk/Events/LSE-Festival/Post-Covid-World/Shorts/20200301/stigma