The Royal Anthropological Institute has six honours and distinctions at its disposal. These awards are announced in Anthropology Today.

Honorary Fellows

Honorary Fellows, elected by the RAI Council, are persons eminent in anthropology not normally resident in the United Kingdom.

Oxford University’s School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and UCL Anthropology have established a fund to support an annual lecture in memory of Dame Mary Douglas (1921-2007). Mary was trained at Oxford and spent most of her working life at UCL, so it is proposed that the lecture should alternate between Oxford and UCL.

This distinction was instituted in 1900 in memory of Thomas Henry Huxley and is the highest honour at the disposal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. It is awarded annually, by ballot of the Council, to a scientist, British or foreign, distinguished in any field of anthropological research in the widest sense.

Awarded by the RAI Council to a person who in their opinion has made a distinguished contribution to the study of anthropology and photography.

Prior Recipients

The Lucy Mair Medal & Marsh Prize for Applied Anthropology is awarded annually by the Royal Anthropological Institute. First awarded in 1998, the Medal is intended to honour excellence in the application of anthropology to the relief of poverty and distress, and to the active recognition of human dignity.

The RAI President’s Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a person who, in the opinion of the judges, has made a fundamental, sustained and outstanding contribution to the discipline of anthropology over the course of their career. The award may be given to a person of any nationality, and there is no restriction on which sub-branch of anthropology from which the winner may be drawn.

The inaugural award was made to Professor David Parkin (All Souls College, Oxford) in 2018.