Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Catching up to the Present to Reimagine the Future


In the age of pandemics and climate crises, reality is represented via varied narratives on health, politics, and the environment across different cultural and social contexts. As artists, designers, and ethnographers practicing the art of narration within different specialties and contexts, this panel aims to showcase how creative professionals re-organize their methods, practices, relationships, and lives in the face of present circumstances. Panelists will share how art and design can help us reflect upon the present and address any future challenges.


panelist headshots

Afra Chen is a PhD candidate in medical anthropology from Fudan university, her research interests mainly centered around medical/biological technologies and how do they intersects with societal changes in China, her recent research focused on genetic testing and reproduction. She also conducts ethnographic research for business consultation. She currently works in Inner Chapter, an idea studio based in Shanghai with the mission to evolve the business of ideas in China and beyond.

Chuma Anagbado is a designer, artist and entrepreneur passionate about creating effective collaborations, sustainable solutions and promoting cultural identity. A practitioner of ‘natural synthesis’, an idea set forth by the Zaria Rebels that merges the best of Western and African traditions, forms, techniques, and ideas into a hybrid art and design-making practice and conceptual framework. Chuma is an avid reader and loves to travel and experience new cultures. More on

Natascha Nanji is an artist and writer whose research orbits migrations, nomadism, systemic flows & transmutations. She regularly performs essays at art events and academic conferences and contributes to art journals, museums and insight agencies, also working with arts organisations to enhance their digital systems. Natascha has a background in Anthropology and Fine Art and studied cultural criticism at the Royal College of Art. She is the co-editor/publisher of LAY IT ON THICK, a literary magazine about desire and erotics.

Rasa Smite is an artist, network researcher and cultural innovator, working with science and emerging technologies since the 90s. She is founding director of RIXC Center for New Media Culture in Riga, curator of its annual festivals, and a chief-editor of Acoustic Space – peer-reviewed publication series. She holds a PhD in sociology of culture and media (from Riga Stradins University, 2011), and MA in visual arts (from Arts Academy of Latvia, 2000). Currently she works as associate professor in New Media Art programme at Liepaja University. She is author of the books – “Creative Networks. In the Rear-View Mirror of Eastern European History”, published by Amsterdam Institute for Network Culture (2012), and “Talk to Me. Exploring Human-Plant Communication” (Published by RIXC, 2014). She is also author of numerous articles and co-editor of the Acoustic Space series issues.

Raitis Smits is Riga based artist and curator. He is co-founder and artistic director of RIXC Center for New Media Culture, curator of its annual festivals and exhibitions, and an editor of Acoustic Space – peer-reviewed publication series. He also works as assistant professor at the Latvian Academy of Arts, Visual Communication Department. He has received PhD degree from the Latvian Academy of Arts, for defending his thesis with the title “New Media Art. Preserving and Representation Problematics” (March, 2015). As a part of his PhD, he has curated two exhibitions – Net.Art.LV (kim?, 2010) and Save As (kim?, 2013), which was related to the 5th Media Art Histories: ReNew conference in Riga, 2013.