Jennifer Collier Jennings

Do I Have to #MeToo? The Productivity of Silence in Instances of Sexual Harassment and Assault in Field Research

by TAHNI CANDELARIA - How did you two meet again? - Let’s head back to the yacht club for sunset. - What happened to that bottle of champagne? - Please don’t fall off the boat. - Live music doesn’t have the same raw character here. - Tahni, go deal with your friend. - What happened to that bottle of champagne? - Please stop touching me. - Haven’t you been paying attention to the news? - You really shouldn’t drink anymore. - We would make a beautiful couple. - She’s an influencer in Korea, I hate that shit. - His job is so cool! - What happened to that bottle of champagne? - I used to be polyamorous. - I’ll call you whatever I want to call you. - They act so adventurous, they didn’t even sit in the sand. - You need to get in a taxi, now. - WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE?! What did happen to that bottle of champagne, I wonder. In fact, I never knew of it in the first place. That bottle whose presence, or rather—whose absence—persists months later. That miserable hour, the one which was punctuated...

Agency & Tech Colonialism: Extending the Conversation

“What can those of us who work in, and maybe even love, computing cultures do about computing’s colonial expansions?” Sareeta Amrute’s keynote address “Tech Colonialism Today” opened EPIC2019 in a provocative, mobilizing spirit that inspired discussions on stage, in breakout sessions, and around breakfast tables. Sareeta journeyed across time and territory to explore what characteristics make something colonial to begin with, such as extractive and hierarchical systems. As you might guess, she argued that yes, the tech industry today has core colonial attributes. But goal wasn’t just critique; Sareeta showcased counterconduct—the agency that people, communities, and companies have to build alternatives. If colonial legacies and socioeconomic systems seem a bit “out of scope” as context for standard product or user research projects, check out Sareeta’s award-winning book Encoding Race, Encoding Class. You’ll learn about Meena’s daily tea ritual, hear Bipin describe why he sometimes chooses to write bad code,...

Decoding Organizational Culture: An Anthropological Mindset

An EPIC Talk with (JC & Associates) Overview What is organisational culture and how does it shape how we work? Why does the business world and organisations tend to misunderstand organisational culture? How can an ‘anthropological mindset’ give value to organisations? This webinar will set out to answer these three questions by blending a mixture…

Branding in an Age of Consumer Agency

An EPIC Talk with TIMOTHY DE WAAL MALEFYT (Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University) and MARYANN MCCABE (Cultural Connections LLC) Overview Consumers often exhibit complex, even contradictory behavior with brands. Ask mothers about making dinner and their immediate reaction may be: “cooking is a drag.” So a food company responds with brand communications addressing ‘the…

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...

Tutorial: Making Sense—Leading Teams Through Synthesis

KSENIA PACHIKOV Field & StudioMARTA CUCIUREAN-ZAPAN IDEO Overview The synthesis phase presents a unique challenge to collaboration. Synthesis requires teams to make creative leaps, and to have a trusted, systematic approach with which to do so. This tutorial will equip practitioners to create favorable conditions for creative thinking and team alignment. It draws on theories of creativity and the psychology of memory and transition in order to practically address the intellectual and emotional challenges of synthesis. We’ll address the logic by which new insights and ideas emerge in synthesis through a grounding in abductive reasoning, found in fields such as anthropology, literature, engineering, and AI. We’ll also explore how to maintain a sense of progress by marking peaks, lows, and transitions throughout the experience. This two-fold approach to synthesis will allow participants to reflect on past experiences and practice future interactions intended to guide teams through the intellectual and emotional tensions...

Tutorial: Information Design for Ethnographic Analysis

SHEILA PONTIS, Sense Information Design & Princeton University Overview Ethnographic analysis is the examination of raw data with an interpretative lens to identify themes, connections and patterns. How can you make this process more accessible to support data socialization and encourage collaboration from all members of an organization or team? In this tutorial you will learn and practice information design principles and visual frameworks to support research data analysis, translate findings into tangible forms and share learnings with more clarity. This hands-on tutorial will help ethnographic and design researchers analyze and synthesize field research data in a structured and visual way. Tutorial participants will create visuals that keep the power of the text, its meanings and emotions, without oversimplifying or misrepresenting the data. The tutorial will cover: Information design principles for supporting ethnographic research Six ways of seeing and showing for analyzing data and visualizing insights...

Tutorial: Cultivating Research Capacity as Organizational Strategy

MEENA KOTHANDARAMAN & ZARLA LUDIN twig + fish Overview It’s not enough to hire a great researcher: organizations need the capacity to develop and learn from strategic, credible research. Participants in this tutorial will learn and practice a tool for cultivating that capacity that can be used with stakeholders, teams, or clients. A central challenge for organizations is the inchoate nature of addressing “unknowns.” Too often, they misalign questions with objectives, confuse organizational agendas with research questions, lead with method, use inappropriate metrics of success, over-simplify complex human dynamics, and set unrealistic expectations for data. The NCredible Framework meets the challenge by approaching the research process as an organizational strategy. It is a simple but flexible process for aligning stakeholders around well-defined questions, defining research scope, designing credible studies, and learning from findings. Participants in this tutorial will learn to: identify assumptions,...

Tutorial: Ethics in Data-Driven Industries

EMANUEL MOSS CUNY/Data & Society FRIEDERIKE SCHÜÜR Cityblock Health Overview Technology companies have discovered ethics in the wake of public pressure to consider the consequences of their products. This has been prompted by the finding that machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI) systems, as fundamentally pattern-seeking technologies, can and do exacerbate long-term structural inequalities. Companies and employees also struggle with the challenges posed by the dual-use nature of technology. This tutorial will prepare you to understand and contribute to the more ethical development and deployment of ML/AI systems. It covers: An overview of ethical challenges in ML/AI today An introduction to the development of ML/AI systems, designed to give you insight into the reasoning processes and workflows of technical colleagues and how they generally address issues like accuracy and fairness (no quantitative background required!) A overview of current efforts to design more ethical ML/AI systems,...

Tutorial: Participatory Visual Research—Getting the Most from Collaborative Methods

KRISTA HARPER University of Massachusetts Amherst Overview Participatory visual research methods like Photovoice open up opportunities for collaborative sense-making and advocacy. In these methodologies, data and knowledge are produced not only as an end product, but also in process. As participant-researchers contribute to research design, ethical discussions, data collection, analysis, and presentation of results, they communicate users’ values and concerns that can inform better organizational practices and improve products and services. In the first part of this workshop, you will learn about participatory visual research methods, from their foundations as methodology developed in the global South to promote the public’s “right to research” (Appadurai) to their application in a variety of organizational settings and design projects. In the second segment, you will take part in a hands-on Photovoice workshop exercise designed to open up questions of visual representation, ethics, and participation. In the final...

Tutorial: Sketchnoting, A Practical Toolkit to Improve Your “Scribing” Skills

NORA MORALES UAM University Overview “Sketchnoting” is the ability to make fast and useful visual notes. It has become a recognized contemporary visual practice in different disciplines. Visual note taking can be a powerful skill for anyone in any role where one needs to absorb and share information. In this tutorial you will exercise your “scriber” muscles and understand how the simple act of sketching and even “doodling” can help you think and even stimulate your thoughts in a new, unanticipated directions. It can improve your ability to remember information packed into your notes and to communicate ideas to team members with clarity and precision. We will review what science has to say about the act of note taking as a way to listen and focus your attention, achieving connection and training your brain to understand visual grammar by weaving words and pictures into your own visual processing powers. During the session you will practice capturing content from lectures or articles as visual notes in real...

Keynote Address: Zach Lieberman

EPIC2019 Keynote Address, Providence, Rhode Island ZACH LIEBERMAN, School for Poetic Computation Zach Lieberman is an artist, researcher and educator with a simple goal: he wants you surprised. In his work, he creates performances and installations that take human gesture as input and amplify them in different ways—making drawings come to life, imagining what the voice might look like if we could see it, transforming peoples silhouettes into music. He’s been listed as one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People and his projects have won the Golden Nica from Ars Electronica, Interactive Design of the Year from Design Museum London as well as listed in Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of the Year. He creates artwork through writing software, is a co-creator of openFrameworks, an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding, and helped co-found the School for Poetic Computation, a school examining the lyrical possibilities of code. His website is zach.li and he’s active on Instagram and Twitter....

EPIC2019 Gallery

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. Gallery Committee 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 Installations 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...

Tech Colonialism Today

EPIC2019 Keynote Address, Providence, Rhode Island SAREETA AMRUTE, Director of Research, Data & Society; Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Washington Studies on the social effects of computing have enumerated the harms done by AI, social media, and algorithmic decision-making to underrepresented communities in the United States and around the globe. I argue that the approaches of enumerating harms and arguing for inclusion have to be unsettled. These approaches, while important, frame populations as victims whose existence is dominated by and divided from centers of power. We lack a structural analysis of how these harms fit into a larger social economic pattern. I ask us to consider instead whether all of these harms add up to computing technologies today being one of the largest aspects of a colonial relationship today. Using historical evidence, the talk will consider what makes something ‘colonial’ to begin with, and then weigh corporate computing’s relationship with the world to gauge whether...

Distant Cousins? Minds, Bodies and Machines

EPIC2019 Keynote Address, Providence, Rhode Island SIMON ROBERTS, Co-founder, Stripe Partners It was several centuries ago that the body was spirited out of conversations about intelligence. The mind-body dualism continues to exert strong influence on the world today—in fields as diverse as education, marketing, politics and technology. The Enlightenment, the industrial revolution and now AI and automation have all, in their own ways, sanctified the mind and downgraded the body. Yet a host of disciplines from beyond anthropology and philosophy, such as neuroscience and cognitive science, are now concurring with the idea that the body is more than just the locus of our experience of the world. As the idea of embodied cognition holds, the body is the source of, and a condition for, our intelligence. Indeed, the recent rapid advances in AI and robotics have been made in large part due to this turn towards the idea of the embodied mind. The body is at the heart of human capabilities like pattern recognition, adaptability,...