Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Self-Ethnography: Or, How I Earned my Berkeley Citizenship in an Ethnographic Journey through the Crunchy Granola and the Scientific


Cite this article:

2019 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918,

PechaKucha Presentation

A researcher who used to combine “thinking + feeling” lines on a journey map found herself on the feelings frontier by widely exploring new innovations in neuroscience, psychology, and mind-body connection, alongside the resurgence in popularity of “old” ways of healing – chinese medicine, crystals, tarot cards. Through her self-ethnographic journey, she found that by stripping back ethnography from the measurable, the scientific, the business cases she rediscovered its foundational backbone to carefully tune into and interpret feelings. She redefines ethnography as about finding truth and not judging it – even the parts that don’t make sense right away and asserts that believing the tiny fragments of feelings and glimmers of intuition is the future of our practice. The new science and the old wisdom revealed that feelings are the root of agency, or “the feelings we have a say in the world we live in and experience, and it is our new frontier to help people articulate the wealth of their feelings to make a world where we have a say – even before we may have words.

Beth Schwindt is a researcher and strategist. As a “design mutt,” Beth found her way to research through art and historic preservation (studying dead people), and nonprofit public affairs (amplifying people’s amazing work). She’s researched hundreds of people so far in her career, including significant projects with Capital One, Autodesk, University of School and the United Way of Detroit. She studied at the Institute of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Lawrence University.