"Ethnographers flit forwards and backwards all the time as we create research objectives, wonder whether what we learnt yesterday is really the full story, and create and debate theories."
Ethnographers are not time travelers, but we may be close. Our frameworks and methodologies develop a nuanced understanding of how relationships, processes, and objects evolve over time. This 'temporal expertise' is key to enacting our ethical responsibility to the past and future, says anthropologist Dr. Oliver Pattenden, who will explore these themes in his upcoming EPIC Talk on April 25, 2023: From Complex Histories to Possible Futures: Ethical Practice Across Time. In this Q&A, he discusses the intersection of ethnography, ethics, and time; how to encourage organizations to focus on ethics as a core component of decision-making, and what he's learned from his three-year-old son lately. We hope you enjoy this rich conversation!
When people think about ethics, time probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. What inspired...
"What exacerbates the pain of the job search is how simplistically we define community.... What if we always felt supported by and useful to others, whether in a job or not?"
Ethnographers are pathmakers by nature...but navigating the job market and other work transitions can be grueling and isolating. How can design and ethnographic methods, community building, and personal practices help sustain us? EPIC member, design researcher, and career coach Sarah Malin has some strategies to share with you: she's co-facilitating our next Career Pathmaking Meetup on April 4: Job Search Resilience: A Career Support Event for Ethnographers, Researchers, and Strategists. In anticipation, we chatted with Sarah about how to make the job search less soul-sucking, how ethnography informs her work, and the power of a good question.
For many, searching for a job can be isolating, draining, and demoralizing. What is the role of community in the job search process? How can we make it more human—and community—centered?
I think what exacerbates the pain...
How can we engage improvisation and imagination in digital research?
By PETER SPEAR, Spear
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was pretty sure I was done. I had been a qualitative researcher and brand consultant for 25 years. I had spent the past decade building my practice around an approach that centered contextual and imaginative face-to-face research. I called it brand listening, and it combined ethnographic interviews and free association and projective techniques.
In a 2019 project for Tom Brady’s fitness brand TB12, I tagged along with people as they went to the gym, to a stretching session, even a pole dancing studio. I will never forget what Michael showed me about the burden of masculinity, when he confessed to me he would only do yoga at home, out of embarrassment. Or what Lisa showed me about belonging, when she talked about her “pole sisters.” Working for the mattress brand Leesa Sleep in 2018, I was welcomed into people’s homes and bedrooms to explore rituals and routines around sleep. The ability to connect...