Ethnographic ‘Weirdness’: Attending to Indicators of the Unfamiliar

CHARLEY SCULL Filament Insight & Innovation This presentation begins with ethnographic research of an Indonesian tuna fishery in which a field partner describes unfamiliar cultural behavior as ‘weird’. Using that moment as a starting point, the paper then undertakes a reflection on the usage and meaning of the term. It explores ‘weirdness’ through a range of core tenets, like cultural relativism, empathy and ethnocentrism and then plays with the meaning of weirdness across a number of disciplinary and market lenses. The talk builds to a provocation about the ways in which ‘weird’ can serve as a call to action. It concludes that researchers should use ‘weird’ as an indicator that helps them know where they need to dig deeper, in search of empathic understanding and where they need to reconcile their biases. By doing so, the talk argues, we are giving agency to the data which we don't yet understand. Charley Scull is a visual anthropologist, ethnographer, insight strategist and UX researcher. He has worked...

Center Frame: Agency in the Lives of Researchers

BRANDY PARKER IA Collaborative PechaKucha Presentation We try to avoid being on camera, but as researchers, are we ever really out of frame? Centered around a life-changing project that had lackluster results, this piece is a meditation on our agency, or lack of agency, as researchers. Our work gives us unique glimpses into worlds no one else is privy to, and what we experience changes us. At times, the most powerful advancement of our work is in our own lives. Brandy Parker is a Senior Research & Design Strategist at IA Collaborative. With a background in ethnography, psychology, and nutrition, she brings a unique whole-person perspective to both medicine and the design world. She works at the intersection of her passions for human-centered design, research, and health care. Citation: 2019 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918,

Maria Bezaitis / A Profile

EPIC Profiles Series by AMINA BENHIMA, Swinburne University A PhD in French Literature and Cultural Studies from Duke University (1988-1994), Maria Bezaitis may appear to have a surprising career as a scientist inside Intel’s Interaction and Experience Lab. But as she says, her vast literary studies exploring modernist literary movements in the context of new technological developments, ultimately led her into such a field of work. Bezaitis felt she had learned about “the changing nature of everyday life” and it was this focus that forged her interesting career. Of immigrant parents to the USA, Bezaitis mentions that her background possibly contributed to a core tension that created a sense of “always being on the outside or at the margins”. This fluent speaker in French and Greek as well as English drew her academic attention to language and “writing, writing and writing”. Bezaitis came to see language as crucially important to all endeavours. Language for her was the preferred methodology “to work out problems,...