storytelling

“Resistance is Possible”: The Ethnography of Roleplaying

NATHAN LEBLANC Scoop PechaKucha Presentation Roleplaying games, such as the popular Dungeons & Dragons, ask players to take on roles of particular people and contexts. As a researcher, my experience conducting playtesting and ethnographic work for a roleplaying game on the Holocaust called “Rosenstrasse” profoundly affected me. In this PechaKucha, I ponder how roleplaying games might inspire the communication of ethnographic insight. As a medium in which storytelling isn't linear or prescribed, how can roleplaying games effectively transfer cultural understanding? Just as a Games Master and game design facilitate this knowledge transfer, perhaps ethnographers can use techniques similar to roleplaying to increase change-making by enabling greater agency in stakeholders and teammates. Nathan LeBlanc is a design researcher currently working at Scoop. He holds a BA in Anthropology and Linguistics from Grinnell College and a Masters of HCI from Carnegie Mellon University. 2019 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic...

Hybrid Methodology: Combining Ethnography, Cognitive Science, and Machine Learning to Inform the Development of Context-Aware Personal Computing and Assistive Technology

MARIA CURY* ReD Associates ERYN WHITWORTH* Facebook Reality Labs*Lead co-authors The not-too-distant future may bring more ubiquitous personal computing technologies seamlessly integrated into people's lives, with the potential to augment reality and support human cognition. For such technology to be truly assistive to people, it must be context-aware. Human experience of context is complex, and so the early development of this technology benefits from a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to research — what the authors call “hybrid methodology” — that combines (and challenges) the frameworks, approaches, and methods of machine learning, cognitive science, and anthropology. Hybrid methodology suggests new value ethnography can offer, but also new ways ethnographers should adapt their methodologies, deliverables, and ways of collaborating for impact in this space. This paper outlines a few of the data collection and analysis approaches emerging from hybrid methodology, and learnings about impact and team collaboration,...

Creating Agency: What Ethnography Can Learn from Storytelling

ANNA ZAVYALOVA PechaKucha Presentation This PK explores the relationship between ethnography and post-modern storytelling techniques that shift the locus of agency towards the audience and away from the protagonist. The presentation builds on insights from a project about the future of storytelling, and explores the ways in which various storytelling formats (theater, film, comics) promote creative agency through immersion and interaction. The PK shows how through a deep engagement with the lives of the people we study, and our ability and willingness to take clients along with us, we as business ethnographers assume a sense of ‘creative’ agency, which allows us and our clients to take greater ownership of the story we tell. Anna Zavyalova is an anthropologist, socio-cultural explorer and a keen writer, passionate about applying the ethnographic method to real business challenges. With over five years’ experience in academic and commercial research, she has carried out global ethnographic studies spanning technology,...

Play it Back: Research as Intervention

NATALIE NAPIERInWithForward PechaKucha Presentation The social welfare system was built to protect the vulnerable through the provision of basic needs. I left my social service job to join an organization with a mission to shift that system from safety nets to trampolines - from services designed to maximize safety, to those that develop agency and resilience. That’s meant interrogating and renewing my principles for ethical engagement with people who are getting the poorest outcomes from services. Returning people’s data to them, in the form of a story is now a practice at the heart of my relationships to the people with whom I do research. At the best of times this interaction is an intervention in and of itself, validating someone’s experience and allowing them to open themselves up to new self-narratives. But the goal of story return in not a positive reception; rather, it’s about following through on our ethical commitment to recognize people’s ownership over their own data, and allowing them the opportunity to benefit...

Contextual Breathing: The Importance of Opening in an Increasingly Closed World

APRIL JEFFRIES Ipsos Understanding Unlimited PechaKucha Presentation Context cannot be ignored. The ability to pull back, observe and listen deeply balanced with internal analysis and reflection has significant impact on our individual and societal health. Myopic views that ignore or distort what is happening around us have resulted in a social, cultural and political bipolar effect that occurs within a narrow spectrum of isolation. Extreme swings from close-minded tribes to secluded self dialogue, wreak havoc on our broader needs for transcendence and compassion. A study of middle-class moms in America, found a pull toward insular communities in unexpected places. Hostile or challenging political arguments were increasingly infiltrating conversations in venues ranging from Facebook to book club. Emotional eruptions in previously “safe spaces” caused retreats to like-minded groups. Women who may have otherwise enjoyed open curiosity or stimulating debate, in these situations, were ill-equipped to handle feelings of rejection...

The Story As Evidence: It’s Yours, It’s Mine, It’s Theirs

NIK JARVIE-WALDROM Empathy PechaKucha Presentation I've been reflecting on my role in the use and abuse of evidence — in the past as a radio producer and more recently as a writer in a design research company. Storytelling is held aloft as something businesses need to do more of — and be better at — but often the narratives do not belong to businesses. We are re-tellers. The work of a writer presenting design research isolates evidence from its source. There are limits to what we can do to make sure evidence is considered alongside the intention it was gathered with. I started working on this because I wanted to share my indignation at evidence I gathered being misrepresented. My editors have turned stories of triumph into stories of disaster to get more clicks. But I've noticed the similarity between my questioning of editors, and the anthropologists I work with questioning me. Evidence exists in relation to questions. Defining the things we're curious about helps us focus, and decide which evidence to seek out. Ethnographers...

The Art of Sharing

by JAN CHIPCHASE, Studio D Radiodurans To understand the impact research can have requires an appreciation of how content ebbs and flows in an organisation, how ideas are passed from person to person and adopted, and how institutions internalise information, politics, and an acute sense of—wait for it—timing. A well-thought-out sharing process recognises the work of the team and is framed by the sharer. Poorly thought-out sharing marginalises team members and partners, building resentment that lives long after the project is completed. This article, drawn from The Field Study Handbook, delves into the art of sharing for impact. Why We Share Research is shared to evangelise a point of view. It positions the individual, team, and organisation as thought leaders, and primes the audience for what is to come. The primary advantage of thought leadership is not, as many observers believe, the elevated status of the sharer, but rather that it attracts conversations from a nascent community. Which, in turn, makes the work...