Kris Hill

A little bit about me…

Once upon a time, I was a plant molecular biologist. I am now completing my second PhD in anthrozoology (my project is focused on free-roaming cats) while building the foundations of a new career – either as an academic, educator, or within a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives of animals (including humans who care for more than human animals).

My journey:

Other folks talk about their career paths taking unexpected turns. Well mine has been a maze, and I keep hoping I will find my way at the the next turn! I am a high-school dropout, I worked for several years within the equestrian industry, and then I worked in bars and restaurants to fund my education. In my mid-twenties I became a ‘mature student’ for the first time. I’ve lived in four different countries. I’ve dedicated 20 yrs of my life to academic science, but tired with being a highly qualified technician unable to work on problems that most inspired me. It has been an adventure. I have few regrets in my life and I have learned the important life-lesson of how to deal with failures and disappointment. What has always missing was a sense that I was making a positive difference in the world. I never believed what I was doing had any meaning beyond self-gratification.

When I stumbled upon the MA in Anthrozoology from Exeter University I felt it calling out to me. I completed the course while working full-time in an unrelated field, and it became a ‘hobby’ that helped me feel good about myself again (read more). My dissertation explored narratives associated with tattoos dedicated to companion animals, and tattoos representative of a specific animal species. This work was written up for publication in academic journals (see publications) and I wrote from a personal perspective here.

I am currently working on my doctoral research project, focusing on cat-human relations within urban communities, and am a member of the Exeter Anthrozoology as Symbiotic Ethics (EASE) working group. I am conducting research part-time, while building the foundations of a new career – either as an academic, an educator, or a researcher within a non-profit organisation, dedicated to improving the lives of both human and non-human animals. I volunteer a few days a week in one of the cat houses at the Berlin Tierheim and as a Communications Officer for the Society of Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) .

I am an advocate for making academic studies accessible and relevant to everyone. This is no easy endeavour, given the somewhat esoteric nature of academic writing! The purpose of my blog was to share my passion and inspire a broad audience to engage in anthrozoology-related topics and issues. However, I tend to use it more for career-related topics and I’m not very consistent. Instead, I focus efforts on The Anthrozoology Podcast, a collaborative project that features early-career anthrozoologists discussing various topics.

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