EPIC2019 Panel, Providence, Rhode Island
DAN LOCKTON, Director of the Imaginaries Lab & Chair of Design Studies, Carnegie Mellon University
MAKALÉ FABER CULLEN, Urban Soils Fellow, Anthropocene, Urban Soils Institute
GYORGYI GALIK, Lead Advisor, Architecture and Built Environment Team, Design Council; Royal College of Art
MIKE YOUNGBLOOD, Principal, Youngblood Group
What are ethnographers’ roles in dealing with catastrophic climate crisis? Should we be exploring people’s experiences of change, trying to use our insights to help drive individual and collective action at scale through organizations, or helping civil society deal with the consequences? In this diverse set of presentations, panelists share ethnographic and design approaches to climate that engage communities, products, policy, artists, activists, and more. They examine tensions, responsibilities, and value that ethnographic practice can bring to one of the biggest issues for our collective futures....
Gallery installations at EPIC2019 evoked multi-modal experiences of ethnographic practice—written, oral, visual, three-dimensional, interactive, critical, reflective. These creative projects offered conference attendees diverse experiences of agency and ethnography. The conference committee made an open call for proposals and selected installations through anonymous review.
Chair: ANJA MAERZ, Babylon Health
Carolina Amiguet, Google
MAKALÉ FABER CULLEN, Urban Soils Institute
ANNA HICKEY-MOODY, RMIT University
SHEILA PONTIS, Princeton University
WAFA SAID MOSLEH, University of Southern Denmark
The Ethno-graphic Sensibility, Jamie McPike & Diana Graizbord
Socially Informed Policy and Planning for AV Mobility in Rhode Island, Kate Fisher
Agency via Avatar Emotions in Virtual Reality, Ayfer Gokalp & Jacqueline Pospisil
Office Humour, James O’Neill, Francesco Pini & Frauke Hein
What Are Memories Made of?, Hema Malini Waghray
Debris, Daria Loi & Heather McGeachy...
by MAKALÉ FABER CULLEN
“We don’t fail because we are not intelligent or erudite enough; we fail because we don’t present our stakeholders with engaging material that will improve their ideas. We choose the medium which makes us comfortable, not the one our stakeholders would prefer.”
— Sam Ladner, Practical Ethnography (159)
Our work as ethnographers, as social scientists, is rich, experiential, relational, multi-dimensional and full-sensory. As often as we can, we immerse ourselves in communities and in landscapes and then—we heighten all our senses, turn down our ego and try to understand the context. Nothing is as important as context.
We document and analyze these contexts and the individuals and objects within them, refining them for a new context of service design or product development that is itself a whole new ecosystem of relationships, ethics, finances, goals, timescapes. Businesses and organizations have distinct customs, rituals, and standards for creating "evidence-that-counts."