space

Out to Dry: Change and Agency Across Urban China

ZACH HYMAN EPAM Continuum PechaKucha Presentation This PechaKucha will take the audience on an intimate, visual exploration of the evolving ways that clothing is dried outside across urban China as drying practices are forced to adapt to limitations by evolving regulation and perceptions of urban modernity. Increasingly, engaging in this social practice requires an act of agency against both municipal governments and one's own neighbors in China. While drying one's laundered clothing outdoors remains a standard part of rural life, both the legal and physical space for this practice has shrunk during China's massive urbanization. This practice is being replaced by bureaucrats’ desire to stimulate domestic consumption (of appliances, in this case) and their desire to erase from cities what is considered a visual embarrassment of laundry hanging out of windows and between buildings. Today when something in urban China needs drying outside of one's privately owned space, one must assert agency over a slice of public space: A...

Caregiver/Family Agency: Rebuilding Confidence, Play, Familiarity, and Passion in a Healthcare System

ADAHEID L. MESTAD HGA AMIN MOJTAHEDI HGA During recovery and transition to the ‘new normal’, the loss of agency for patients and families of patients who go through a major health disruptor such as transplant, cancer, or cardio-vascular disease can be profound. Considering this, how can acute care hospitals help solve for caregivers’ loss of agency? And what does the physicality of such effort in the confines of a hospital building look like? The goal of this case study is to (1) demonstrate how ethnographic thinking and design research can help a medical center understand the needs, values, rituals, and agency of a patients and their families; (2) show socio-spatial solutions that can support the transition to the patient’s and family’s new normal. The ethnographic study showed that the patients and families who go through a major health disruptor struggle with the loss of agency in various ways. While loss of agency can be obtuse, four themes emerged as contributing factors to the overall sense of loss: (1) loss...

Confessions Across Digital Distances

JESS SHUTT Salesforce PechaKucha Presentation Digital environments can expand the distances between people. While this is often challenging, it can also be leveraged to do great things. This PechaKucha explores how we can take this negative divide between people and flip it on its head to discover more powerful insights. By looking at a range of studies focused on sensitive subjects, we explore how technology has the power to create a safer environment for vulnerable participants. While technology is an often underutilized research tool, these technology enabled environments can lead to richer data and insights. As a result, we, as researchers, can create the space needed to share some of our most intimate stories. Jess Shutt has dedicated her career to studying & creating technology to help democratize complex processes & systems from finance to consumer robotics. Her current work as the Lead User Researcher of Einstein at Salesforce focuses on applying these concepts to artificial intelligence. 2018 EPIC Proceedings,...

Disrupting Workspace: Designing an Office that Inspires Collaboration and Innovation

RYOKO IMAI Hitachi America MASAHIDE BAN Hitachi America Case Study—Hitachi America's R&D, comprised of five technical laboratories, opened the Center for Social Innovation in January, 2016. When the new office project emerged, the R&D group used the opportunity to reflect on and strengthen collaborative practices, organizational culture, and our customer engagement approach. We conducted an internal ethnographic study to investigate how space was used in our previous office, and based on our findings designed a new office space to facilitate collaboration and innovation for our group....

The Elephant in the Room: A Lesson from the Field

LIUBAVA SHATOKHINA Gemic Download PDF PechaKucha—We sometimes use ethnographic tools and methods with less reflexivity than they deserve. When you start to look at the constellation of objects in the spaces people inhabit, the traces of their values and practices can be seen everywhere. After all, the creation of an individual’s life and culture is an effort to make a cosmos out of chaos. People do it all the time by rearranging objects, practices and concepts. Our job as anthropologists/consultants is to get to the unspoken rules and structure of people’s everyday by being attentive to the cosmos people assemble materially and conceptually. However, we sometimes rely too much on spoken language. In most cases it applies to the use of interviews as our major data sources when we forget to use other opportunities to enrich our knowledge that ethnographic encounters can provide. Objects and their constellations leave powerful traces of culture, and they can often tell us more than people are able to articulate. Not because people...

Riding with Heidegger: A New Perspective on the Premium Vehicle

by BENJAMIN AHNERT, ReD Associates The car has been the subject of social scientific research for decades. Scholars have described the empowerment people feel through the physical sensations of speed and acceleration. The ability of the premium vehicle to express status has been a staple of literature on signaling and social stratification. These days, even in emerging markets, premium vehicles are no longer scarce. In 2013 the German and British premium brands already operated 1,085 dealerships in China; by 2020 an estimated 300 million Chinese will be able to afford premium vehicles. Meanwhile, congestion is increasingly severe. Between 2005 and 2013, the number of vehicles in China rose at a CAGR of 19%, yet the length of Chinese roads rose at just 3.4%. Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou have less than 1 km of road per one 1000 inhabitants, around one-fifth the amount in congested London and New York. In the face of these changes, a client sought our help to reinvestigate the meaning of premium mobility beyond status and...

Shared Ethnography of Shared Cities

ROBERT POTTS HighWire Centre for Doctorial Training, Lancaster University DHRUV SHARMA HighWire Centre for Doctorial Training, Lancaster University JOSEPH LINDLEY HighWire Centre for Doctorial Training, Lancaster University This paper aims to foreground issues for design ethnographers working in urban contexts within the smart-city discourse. It highlights ethnography's role in a shared urban future by exploring how ethnographers might pave the way for envisioning digital infrastructure at the core of Smart City programs. This paper begins by asking whether urban development practitioners can design for inclusive interaction with Smart Urban Infrastructure. The research suggests how ethnographers can work with ‘cities’ to rapidly develop diagnostic tools and capture insights that inform design processes with both utility and inclusive interaction as their key values. This involves rethinking how we consider places where space and information intersect. This work led to developing rapid means to assay a site and sensitize to contextual...