Expeditions was founded by historian and anthropologist, Dr. Marc Vanlangendonck. The organization was born out of his passion for the field of applied anthropology. Since 1985 Marc built expertise in the domain of planned change from different angles, resulting in policy reports commissioned by governments and international organisations worldwide. In 2015 Marc left the care of Expeditions in the hands of these colleagues.
Sam Janssen was crowned King (aka Chairman) of the organization after Marc retired in 2015, due to his royal wisdom. Sam obtained master's degrees in Philosophy, Urban Planning, Educational Sciences and Ethics at the University of Ghent. During his work as a research designer in urban planning he started studying anthropology and history. In that time he came in touch with Expeditions and engaged in a variety of research projects. Together with Marc, Sam founded Expeditions’ Summer School for Anthropology and Ethnography, currently the longest standing field school of its kind. Sam previously worked at the University of Leuven as a research supervisor, and now full time coordinates the Expeditions projects. He believes very strongly in an interdisciplinary approach, which is created by the multidisciplinary Expeditions research teams.
Maarten Loopmans joined the Expeditions’ Board in 2015 and was granted the title of Wizard, because he too is truly very wise (but there can only be one King). Maarten graduated as a social geographer at Leuven University, where he now works as associate professor. He self-defines as a-disciplinary geographer, but increasingly is being recognized as a graphic anthropologist. He crossed paths with Expeditions in his attempt to supervise Marjan's dissertation, and got deeper involved in the organization ever since. His research interests are in political ecology, with a focus on agro-ecological innovation and land use regulation, and the geographies of diversities (in particular cultural and sexual diversity). He is very keen on methodological issues and discussions, and loves to experiment with graphics in academic research, from boredom-born research meeting droodles to graphic novels as a medium to communicate research findings.
Mirjam Bussels is Expeditions’ Malta-based CEO. This officially makes her our President of Malta. To avoid confusion with another strong female leader currently holding this title, we usually just call her Miss. Bussels or Charming Chief nr.1. Mirjam holds a Masters in Social work and Social Policy from Leuven University. She crossed paths with Expeditions soon after graduating and joined the 2012 Summer School project in Malta. As junior faculty, she partook in a collaborative research project on religion and identity. Later, she developed an interest in the Anthropology of Aging. To study social constructions of a mealtime and mealtime ethics in elderly care, she combined her work for the Belgian Center for Gastrology, with fieldwork in a Gozitan Elderly home in Gozo, Malta. After a trajectory of fieldwork training and experience, extra university courses and research projects in Belgium and Malta, she permanently moved to Gozo and became General Manager of Expeditions’ Summer School for Anthropology and Ethnography.
Marjan Moris is Charming Chief nr.2 and Research Manager of Expeditions. Marjan does not mind being number 2, but does suffer from a natural inclination to criticize All-Male Boards. Since she is the author of these website texts, she hereby takes the liberty to inform you that (a) the current role division does not reflect our organizations’ general viewpoints on gender or diversity, (b) that the Expeditions Board consists 100% of feminists, and (c) that the real power in the organization is in the hands of women. Marjan holds a Masters in Anthropology of the University of Leuven, and currently finishes her PhD in Social Geography. She joined the Expeditions team in 2006 as a research assistant on a project for the Flemish League against Cancer (VLK) and has not left since. Over the past years, she gained experience through several applied research projects commissioned by governments and civil society organizations, has provided research support to students, developed courses and lectures, and reworked research findings into policy recommendations for a broad variety of stakeholders. Her research interests include migration and mobilities, the anthropology of food and manifestations of difference and inequality in the organization of space.
Xin Pan obtained her Master’s Degree in Anthropology at Sun Yat-sen University in China. She has been engaged in LGBTQ+ activism since 2014 and continues to be active in the NGO 'Gay and Lesbian Campus Association of China'. Xin has done fieldwork in the Sino-Burmese border region on the Dai ethnic minority, as well as in the hospital of Guangzhou on HIV related issues. Her research interests include HIV, sexuality, LGBTQ+ movements, gender, and migration. After falling in love with Expeditions in 2017 during the Graphic Anthropology Field School organized by the aforementioned feminist King, Wizard and Chiefs, she has continued working together with the Expeditions team. Beginning 2019 this promising researcher finally moved to Belgium to start a PhD in Human Geography at the University of Leuven, in the field of geographies of sexualities.
Valerie De Craene holds a Master in Geography from the University of Ghent, and a teachers’ degree. After working as a schoolteacher, Valerie returned to the academic world in 2010 to become a teaching assistant at Leuven University. She masters a variety of qualitative, quantitative and cartographic research methods and is editor of the AGORA journal. Throughout her research career, Valerie has worked on several applied research projects commissioned by governments and civil society organizations. As an activist and scholar, Valerie engages in analyzing contemporary politics of science and is an active member of Flanders’ slow science movement. Her research interests include gender, sexuality, and manifestations of difference and inequality in the organization of space more broadly. Valerie joined Expeditions in 2017 as a senior researcher, where she currently specializes in participation trajectories.
Filip Marrécau holds a master in Social Geography for Leuven University. Filip has experience in project coordination and research, focused on social planning. Besides his cartographic and statistical talent, Filip is renowned for his vivid workshops, focus group sessions and the speed by which he can finish reports. Some of his work for Expeditions can be admired in the qualitative and participatory research project “Planning towards Urban Play-friendly Fabric”, an assignment of the city of Leuven.