EPIC2017

Ethnography for Equity: Using the Ethnographic Lens to Improve Outcomes for Everyone

by FATIMAH RICHMOND (Google) & SAM LADNER Why did Donald Trump get elected? Because of the rage of the “working class”? Why did Brexit happen? Because “working class” Britons were angry at getting left behind? We find these explanations troubling because they whitewash events. We convened the Salon Ethnography and Equality at EPIC2017 to discuss how our community can avoid doing exactly this kind of whitewashing as we work with our clients and stakeholders. We used an ethnographic lens to understand the systems that structure inequalities in our societies and organizations. To continue the conversation about this critical topic beyond the event in Montréal, this blog post describes the Salon’s main talking points and some practical solutions (one involving an actual toilet; more on that in a moment). We explicitly told the 35 people gathered for our Salon that the discussion was to be safe. By that, we meant that there would be specific order for when a participant may speak, and that before sharing anything about...

The Ethnographic Lens: Perspectives and Opportunities for New Data Dialects

by ELIZABETH CHURCHILL, Director of User Experience, Google Concern with “big data” and ”data at scale” has pervaded many conversations in the past few years. Conversations orient around what “big data” really means, around the relationship of “small data” to “big data”, and around the relationship between “local” data and “global”, aggregate data. In the EPIC context, conversations veer towards anxiety regarding the relationship of ethnographic practice to quantitative data and whether the future of ethnography as an area of interest is in jeopardy. Will all questions regarding people, “users”, and markets be answered by brute force, number crunching? The answer is absolutely NO. It’s important to note that the ethnography community has a long-standing relationship with analysis of, and interpretation through, quantitative data at all scales and granularities. “Big” data and “data at scale” are not new. Stealing a snippet of Samuelle Carlson and Ben Anderson’s paper title from 2007,...

Reimagining Possibilities for Ethnographic Practice: Rita Denny, A Profile

EPIC Profiles Series by JOSEF WIELAND, University of California – Irvine As the Program Chair for EPIC2017, Rita Denny is not shy about what we can learn when we come together as a diverse professional community of social researchers and designers and marketers: "First, that there is a world of possibility. People are doing really interesting things of which you had no idea.” There is tremendous value in breaking down silos and connecting an interdisciplinary network of researchers, designers, and scholars. “Second, that someone could reimagine the possibilities of their own work as a result of the EPIC conference. The hope is that the conference really enables people to think differently.” Rita’s work over the years has been defined by encouraging people to contemplate perspectives and potentials that they hadn’t previously considered—an instinct she has foregrounded for EPIC2017. A founding partner of the boutique consultancy Practica Group and co-editor and co-author of award winning books considered foundational...

5 Things Great EPIC PechaKuchas Have in Common

by CARRIE YURY, BeyondCurious If you have never been to an EPIC conference and you are considering submitting PechaKucha proposal this year, welcome! This article is for you. EPIC people love PechaKucha. What the heck is it and why should you take on the challenge for EPIC2017? Powered by PechaKucha is a wonderful format for a conference presentation. Weighing in at only 6 minutes and 40 seconds, it is, in my opinion, the most compact, impactful, and fun presentation format available to EPIC-goers. Pecha Kucha is a very specific form—a visual presentation that is given at a staccato pace of one slide every 20 seconds. Merciless to the unprepared, it can be transformational in the right hands. Consider these 5 things that great EPIC PechaKuchas have in common. Great Visuals It may seem obvious, but in case it’s not, let me underscore here how critical visuals are for a PechaKucha. They aren’t simply illustrations. They’re a point of view. You must be absolutely intentional in your choice of visuals. When you perform...

Reaffirming Our Values in Critical Times: How Will the EPIC Community Respond?

Shortly after we opened our Call for Participation for EPIC2017 in Montréal, President Trump ordered a temporary travel ban for many people with joint citizenship as well as a halt to refugees and immigrants from 7 predominately Muslim countries. We’d like to take a moment to reassert the values at the heart of this organization…