ANE GONZALEZ LARA
Boundaries and borders have generated lots of attention in the political realm of our country over the last years. The proposed Wall between the United States and Mexico has created different perspectives from architects and builders across the country. Following this debate, a question arises: What is the agency of architecture and architects in this issue?
This presentation focuses on a Borders Studio taught at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture, a borderland school that draws students from both sides of the border. The studio was created after seeing how polarized and diverse the opinions about the proposed wall were among architects and builders and in order to stimulate the critical thinking abilities of the students.
The studio involved a series of projects that tackled different scales. Each student found their own voice on the conflict during the semester and the studio created a platform for them to bring issues like immigration, labor...
This paper reports on the use and perceptions of deployed A.I. and recognition social-material assemblages in China and the USA. A kaleidoscope of “boutique” instantiations is presented to show how meanings are emerging around A.I. and recognition. A model is presented to highlight that not all recognitions are the same. We conclude by noting A.I. and recognition systems challenge current practices for the EPIC community and the field of anthropology....
This case study demonstrates the radius of influence that ethnographic insight can have throughout an organization as well as how it can be tied to business outcomes. This case also represents the power of video ethnography as a robust and enduring data set that provides a visceral, contextual, human record capable of aligning and galvanizing cross functional teams. At the cusp of aggressive expansion, Primrose Schools needed to address cascading business issues: low brand awareness relative to key competitors in new markets, brand engagement (vis a vis online content), and disappointing conversion rates for Parent enrollment. The first half of the case describes the design and key findings from our Parent Enrollment Study. Early education in present day America is contextualized against a backdrop of new parenting philosophies, socio-cultural relationships with smartphones and social media, and wage stagnation. The second half of the case illuminates how broadly the ethnography-inspired...
This PechaKucha explores the ways in which the author navigated cheating culture, community norms, and her own biases to think through sustainable education solutions in Cambodia. Students in Cambodia's countryside are structurally disadvantaged and attempt to redress wealth and knowledge imbalances through cheating. However, cheating causes skills gaps that hinder students as they look for jobs, particularly since they are competing with applicants from other ASEAN countries. The presenter discusses how she, and her Cambodian co-teacher, sifted through their competing biases about the merits and pitfalls of cheating in their classroom, settling on ethnographic practice as a way forward. They observed student cheating behaviors, noting the tools, networks, and systems of exchange through which information passed. Instead of penalizing students for cheating, the presenter and her counterpart attempted to transform these deceptive methods into something more productive.
SARAH LEBARON VON BAEYER
Case Study—This paper presents a case study of a project on education solutions for Syrian refugees in Jordan conducted between 2015-2017. First, it describes how ReD's methodological approach provided a unique perspective to studies on refugees. By immersing a team in the day-to-day lives and settings that most Syrian refugees experience in Jordan—i.e., outside of camps and in people's actual homes—ReD led its client to “think outside the camp,” something that relief agencies and companies often fail to do due to the refugee camp model of humanitarian assistance that, ever since WWII, has dominated the approach to refugees. Second, as a result of its unique methodological approach, ReD uncovered important findings about social networks and technology use and access in Syrian refugees’ homes and communities that ultimately shaped the client's perspective on solution development. For example, ReD's team of ethnographers found that nearly all out-of-camp Syrian households had...
University of Chicago
With the rise of the internet, the role of the public library as a distributor of education, skills, and cultural capital has come under question while continuing to grow increasingly vital. This paper examines how libraries are dealing with changing technology while negotiating their relationship with their diverse patron populations., Using the concept of chronotope, a specific space and time that gives rise to a particular understanding of a person's character or an idea, this paper explores conceptions of patrons through systematic assumptions about patrons’ background and needs. Through the library's continued inclusion of technology in its services, it seeks to reach out to more patrons and support existing ones. This paper makes clear the connections between the current state of the library, its diverse audience of patrons, and the need for new ways of measuring library usage to generate a more nuanced understanding of patrons....
International Innovation Corps (IIC) at the University of Chicago
International Innovation Corps (IIC) at the University of Chicago
Case Study—Based on experience of working in the Department of School Education, Government of Haryana on a Management Information System being built to reduce administrative workload on teachers and bureaucrats, this case study describes how ethnography was used to understand and address the problem of technology adoption in a large bureaucracy. Ethnography helped the Department in framing the problem of adoption as one of lack of adequate Digital Literacy within the organization and in developing strategies to address it. Digital Literacy workshops were conducted to improve broader Digital Literacies in the Department, which improved literacy levels by 48%. For ensuring sustainability of this initiative, the Department instituted a continuous Digital Literacy program, which will support the adoption of multiple technology projects in the future.
Case Study—The “bottom of the pyramid” concept has promised companies that they can simultaneously create wealth and social impact when serving the world’s poorest customers. In reality, companies have faced multiple challenges when trying to acquire and retain customers in the “bottom of the pyramid”. This case study captures the journey of one such company that is operating low-cost private schools in slums and remote villages in an African country. Despite delivering a solid educational quality, the company was facing retention issues, and was struggling to maintain a healthy student population. Leadership diagnosed that a word of mouth marketing campaign would be important to increase acquisition and retention; but it did not know where to start. By designing a place-based ethnographic approach, ReD was able to gain the customer centric insights needed to design a new value proposition and engagement model that tapped into and leveraged word-of-mouth social...
Context-Based Research Group Download PDF
PechaKucha Presentation—The Full Epiphany suggests that epiphanies are the real metric for ethnographic success. An epiphany is an out of this world understanding for how humanity works. When you have an epiphany you might simultaneously feel the following: 1) believe you see something so seemingly obvious that you can’t believe you never saw it before, 2) find yourself saying “my head just blew off” or “my mind just exploded” or make that motion where you put your fists up to your head then slowly move them into the air opening them palm first and make that silly explosion sound, and/or 3) leaves you breathless and at peace and thankful for getting just a peek into the ethereal elegance for how life on earth works. The Full Epiphany suggests that the first ethnographies (think Malinowski and Mead) had built in success factors for reaching epiphanies, and that the current level of epiphanies is lower. Our ability to reach an epiphany, however, has not disappeared....
Macquarie University Download PDF
PechaKucha—This presentation explores corporate Anthropology from the perspective of an undergraduate with eight years of business administration experience. Focusing on business transformation and the potential for Anthropologists to add value and assist with growth and strategy.
Keywords: Corporations, Transformations, Anthropology, Ethnography
Ruby Dallas – I am an undergraduate student completing my Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Anthropology at Macquarie University, Sydney Australia. I am very interested in using ethnography within corporations as a tool to ensure business success across People, Product and Numbers.
2016 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, p. 536, ISSN 1559-8918,
PechaKucha—This presentation explores the 3 guiding principles for research to create impact: clarity, coordination, and curiosity. Without all these elements, research struggles to make impact for the intended users. In this case, the user is Jojo, a silverback gorilla. Jojo was 80 pounds overweight, and this was caused by a number of reasons. Every solution required a clear framing of the goals, a complex and coordinated effort from everyone involved, and a genuine curiosity to engage in the solutions.
Keywords: gorilla, silverback, clarity, coordination, curiosity, observation
John Dominski – I am a design researcher at gravitytank in Chicago, IL. I believe the purpose of research is to make impact and I practice doing this at gravitytank and as a co-author and photographer of Gorillas Up Close.
2016 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, p. 553, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org...
by JON KOLKO, Vice President of Design, Blackboard
As children, we view the world as fixed. In the US, kids learn that red means stop, Columbus had three ships, and the police are there to protect us. We learn culture as immobile and that we have a place in that culture, and this place is reiterated continually by our socioeconomic situation and the people we see around us. As we get older, some of us experience this perspective shifting. We realize our own volition to change our circumstances and circumstances of those around us, and we begin to understand that through the long, arduous slog of work and research, we can positively impact some of the fundamental truths of our world.
But many never experience that shift. They grow older and still see rules as boundaries, history as a simple single-threaded narrative, and the hopelessness of many of the world's social ills as unavoidable and immobile. There's an unpleasant inevitability in this perspective, and over time, it breeds a sense of despair.
I consistently see signals...
In this time of social, technical, educational and industrial upheaval, time and space are being compressed and stretched as social actors develop new practices in response to shifts in their lived experience. In the American educational sector, these phenomena have crystalized in the meteoritic rise of MOOCs, massive open online courses. The story of their ascent weaves together neoliberal shifts in financing education, technology developments, and perceived business opportunities. MOOCs have captured the imagination of the business press, venture capitalists, and university leaders. However, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the perceptions of students who are taking online courses – in other words, the users. Drawing on an ethnographic study of a small online class, this paper describes the limitations of MOOC pedagogies by comparison with low-enrollment online courses, and concludes by casting doubt on the effectiveness of MOOC learning experiences as well as MOOC business models....
FUMIKO ICHIKAWA and HIROSHI TAMURA
How would Japan's rural communities renew oneself when the nation's economy no longer holds the absolute financial and technological powers in the global sphere? Through our post-3.11 recovery effort in local communities of Kesennuma, Japan, we discuss - a gap between the perceptions of Japan's rise from the 1950s and how in fact rural economies, such as the one in Kesennuma, have lost independency through its process. This paper seeks to capture the power of Maru, an inter-local activity, seeking an alternative to the conventional model of development based on the economy of capitalism, and how ethnography and design would play a central role in the success of community revival....
Good morning. I’m really excited to be here. Last time I was here, I was down the street at the Trustees Theater for all of five hours, while on a cross-country road trip. It’s nice to be back and to have a little bit more time to spend here and to tell the story — and to do so as part of the theme of a conference. What I want to do is just tell the story, and hopefully provide a little bit of context and maybe inspiration under the theme of renewal.
I am the founder of this nonprofit organization called Project H. I was thinking this morning about the theme of “renewal,” what that means to me, and what that has to do with my own practice. I came from a background in architecture, and I was thinking about what I do now vs. why I got into architecture in the first place — which at the beginning was really about having grown up with a father who wanted to be an architect, living vicariously through that dream, being a math nerd, but also being really creative. Somehow architecture became this perfect storm...