Earlier this year, we launched www.epicpeople.org as our first effort to expand the charter of EPIC. For ten years, EPIC has focused on hosting an annual conference that has brought together hundreds of practitioners of ethnography from around the world. While our annual conference gives people the chance to spend a few days with industry and academic colleagues in an excellent setting, the conference doesn’t begin to address the opportunities we have to hear and to learn from one another on a year-around basis.
We believe there is an important opportunity to establish EPIC as the first professional organization committed to the interests of people who seek to advance the value of ethnography. While our charter is broad and inclusive of people who work in academic as well as in the nonprofit and policy sectors, we maintain a specific emphasis on work that enables businesses to act with understanding and insight about the people who use their products and services.
In June of this year we acted on this ambition with the launch of www.epicpeople.org, which includes these initiatives:
- 10 years of EPIC proceedings, accessible and searchable at www.epicpeople.org/Intelligences
- Perspectives, a blog where ethnographic practitioners share thought-provoking insights
- Infrastructure for individual profiles and more regular and coordinated communications across practitioner base on www.epicpeople.org
To continue to build out EPIC’s role, we plan to introduce membership dues early in the New Year. Paying members will gain access to premium content, including the EPIC2014 conference presentations, pecha kuchka and keynotes in video format on www.epicpeople.org. All of those excellent presentations will be available for you to view, to share and to discuss with colleagues who were not able to attend the conference in person. As we introduce dues, we will be explicit about additional member benefits, such as discounted registration fees to the annual conference.
We will continue to provide access to proceedings text and blogs free to anyone who has registered with the site. Early next year we will also introduce forums, directories of firms and ethnographic research providers, a jobs board and other valuable content. Our major fundraising activities for the annual conference will not change; the annual conference will continue to rely on those funds for its program.
We realize that membership and dues represent a massive shift in how we’ve operated to date, but it is one that enables us to establish a basis for financially sustainable growth. EPIC will remain a non-profit and primarily a volunteer supported organization. Our community can benefit enormously from an organization dedicated to circulating resources, insights and developments from practitioners around the world. We’re excited to invite you to become a member of this organization and to have the opportunity to keep you all engaged on a regular basis with one another and with the exciting developments in our profession.