Creating Agency: What Ethnography Can Learn from Storytelling

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PechaKucha Presentation

This PK explores the relationship between ethnography and post-modern storytelling techniques that shift the locus of agency towards the audience and away from the protagonist. The presentation builds on insights from a project about the future of storytelling, and explores the ways in which various storytelling formats (theater, film, comics) promote creative agency through immersion and interaction. The PK shows how through a deep engagement with the lives of the people we study, and our ability and willingness to take clients along with us, we as business ethnographers assume a sense of ‘creative’ agency, which allows us and our clients to take greater ownership of the story we tell.

Anna Zavyalova is an anthropologist, socio-cultural explorer and a keen writer, passionate about applying the ethnographic method to real business challenges. With over five years’ experience in academic and commercial research, she has carried out global ethnographic studies spanning technology, retail, automotive, and organisational change. Anna lives in London and is currently working as an independent consultant, combining her passion for ethnographic research and storytelling.

2019 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918,

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