NICK AGAFONOFF

Contributed Articles

EPIC2019 Ethnographic Film

The film session at EPIC explores the ways ethnographic practitioners have used moving images to interpret data, share insights, and tell the stories of their work. Filmmakers showcase these forays in visual storytelling by screening examples and discussing the limits and possibilities of the form. Films were selected through anonymous review. Program Introduction, Charley Scull Food for Thought: The Path to Food Security in Newark, RUCHIKA MUCHHALA, Third Kulture Media The Learning Library: Using Ethnographic Film as an Organizational Change Tool by Scaling Human Insights across a National Preschool System, HAL PHILLIPS & MEG KINNEY, Bad Babysitter Clyde in Mulberry, ALLEGRA OXBOROUGH, Aero Creative Agency in the Smart Home of the Future, NICK AGAFONOFF, Real Ethnography Introduction CHARLEY SCULL, Committee Chair and Film Session Curator Considering the theme of agency through the lens of film offers many avenues for exploration, in terms of both the stories that film can feature and the power...

Using Video to Think Ethnographically: Core Approaches to Research, Production, Deliverables, and Mindset

An EPIC Talk with CHARLEY SCULL & NICK AGAFONOFF Overview Ethnographers have long used video for research and storytelling in their practices. Today a powerful array of evolving visual technologies offers unprecedented possibilities for access, representation, collaboration and dissemination, but the options can also be overwhelming and with this power comes great responsibility. Questions of ethics and vulnerability must be carefully considered, along with ongoing challenges of reconciling client objectives with the politics of representation, sharing of voice, artistic expression, and notions of the authentic. In this talk, experienced ethnographic filmmakers Charley Scull and Nick Agafanoff review core principles of video ethnography and some of the most common video deliverables. They will then deconstruct examples from their own work to reveal key processes under the hood: how objectives can shift over the course of a project; where co-analysis helped or hindered the work; how video encouraged clients to change...

Evidence before Art: An Ethnomethodological Approach to Video Ethnography in Commercial Research Contexts

by NICK AGAFONOFF, Real Ethnography/The Practice Insights I think of myself as a video ethnomethodologist1 – a social scientist who utilises disruptive techniques (social experiments) in conjunction with technical videography to explore, document and represent how people subjectively make sense of and navigate their everyday worlds in relation to brands, products and services. My films and their usefulness depend entirely on the scientific process that I employ to facilitate objectification of the lived experience data collected, otherwise referred to as the evidence. My films become art the moment they become about my own subjective experience; the moment I depart from being an objective social scientist. At EPIC2017 in Montreal, I had the pleasure of presenting my 10-minute documentary Andrew’s Story, an emotional portrait of a man who had recently experienced a permanent disability but was refusing to claim on his disability insurance. My client wanted to understand why people like Andrew are not making claims when...