Swasti received her MSc in medical anthropology from the University of Amsterdam, with a thesis exploring drug-use at psychedelic festivals in the Netherlands and Germany. Prior to joining the Chemical Youth project, she worked as an assistant researcher for educational and infrastructure building projects for pediatric oncology nursing care in Ethiopia. She also holds an MA in theatre and performance studies, during which she researched the interplay of skin-whitening chemicals, media advertisements and youth perceptions. Her research interests range from substance and pharmaceutical anthropology to science and technology studies, including themes such as nature-culture, psychiatry, health, and materiality.
Set in the Netherlands and the United States, Swasti's research focuses on the practices through which specific substances have come to be understood as ‘psychedelics’ in the contemporary West. What are psychedelic substances? How do they emerge from and shape the practices of lay users and ‘experts’? I follow the movements and transformations of psychedelic substances in and out of settings such as homes, parks, festivals, clinical trials, and fMRIs, and trace the moments when they come together and are made to work as medication, or seep into various socio-cultural spheres as a party-drug or a substance to enhance creativity.