We’re thrilled to invite you to join EPIC2021!

OCT 11–15: Learning & Networking
OCT 18–21: Main Program

Now in its 17th year, EPIC is a treasured annual gathering that brings together people around the world—in all disciplines, roles, and industries—who use ethnography to drive innovation and change that is anchored in deep understandings of society, culture, and people in their everyday lives. Our conference is a warm, inclusive event that combines practical learning and expertise, meaningful networking, and the inspiration and debate that we need to grow and evolve in a changing world. EPIC is a nonprofit organization powered by members and volunteers.

Once again EPIC2021 will be a global, virtual event—registration opens July 1. Learn more about the EPIC community here.

This Call for Participation invites you to submit a proposal to be part of the conference program. Please read this information carefully and contact us if you have any questions—we want your proposal to be successful and we’re here to help! conference@epicpeople.org

Invitation to Submit a Proposal

Our conference theme is ANTICIPATION:
There are no future facts. Yet we humans constantly create potential futures through art, imagination, research, storytelling, planning, and design. The EPIC2021 theme Anticipation invites us to explore how our work documents, anticipates, and crafts futures of its own. Our daily practices of research, design, and strategy create landscapes of possibility. How do we open new paths—and obscure others—as we work to understand people, interpret wants and needs, propel change, navigate risk, assign cause, predict outcomes, and assess consequence?

We invite you to join us in integrating anticipation into your work with a collective goal to make futures that would be better for many, not just a few. Read the full conference theme

The Program Committee invites proposals from everyone who creates and applies ethnography—from researchers, designers, and strategists, to analysts, product managers, executives, and academics. Contributions should integrate theory and practice—drawing on ethnographic frameworks and concepts coupled with practices from professional fields.

Submissions should be made to one of the following formats:

  1. Papers
  2. Case Studies
  3. PechaKucha

Key Dates

  • Submission deadline – March 19, 2021, at the last stroke of midnight on earth!
  • Acceptance notifications – June 4, 2021
  • First draft submission – July 5, 2021
  • Final submissions video-recorded presentations – August 23, 2021 (PechaKucha August 6)
  • Final submissions of written Papers and Case Studies – September 20, 2021
  • Participate in EPIC2021 Main Program – October 18–21, 2021

General Guidelines & Review Process

The guidelines in this section apply to all proposals. Please also read the specific requirements for each format—Papers, Case Studies, and PechaKucha. We want your proposal to be successful and we are here to help! We cannot review proposals prior to submission, but we can answer your questions about the formats, review criteria, and author/presenter experience.

How many proposals can I submit?
You may submit only one proposal as lead author. You may be a co-author on a second proposal. Making an invited presentation (eg, tutorial, panel) and serving on a committee do not affect your eligibility to submit.
How are proposals evaluated and selected?
Your submission is evaluated through double-anonymous peer review by our independent program committees. Our acceptance rate ranges 20–40%. Our goal is to provide constructive, collegial feedback, and encourage resubmission in following years. Evaluation criteria include:

  • Contribution to the EPIC community. Originality, creativity, and bridge-building are all forms of contribution.
  • Engagement with the larger body of work and ideas relevant to your topic.
  • Credibility of the evidence and strength of the argument.
  • Quality of communication and clarity of presentation.
  • Relevance to the conference theme Anticipation—how proposals exemplify, amplify, extend or reframe the theme.
  • Overall diversity of topics, frameworks, authorship, and geography across the EPIC2021 program.
How are presentations and articles developed
Authors of accepted proposals work closely with a curator on the program committee, who assists with the conceptual development and execution of high-quality presentations and publications. These teams commit to deadlines for submitting/reviewing draft and final versions of both. EPIC2021 is a virtual conference, and we provide video production support for your presentation. We know you have many demands on your time, so before submitting a proposal, please ensure you have the availability and interest to engage in this process.
Are presenters required to register for the conference?
At least one co-author must purchase conference registration and present the work. No discounts are available for presenters—EPIC is a nonprofit organization and we offer below-cost registration rates for all attendees whose fees are not paid by an employer. Over 200 people volunteer their time and expertise to make EPIC happen, and we cannot afford additional discounts to all of these fabulous people. Please contact us if you have concerns about financial accessibility.
Can I submit an article or talk I have given previously?
Your contribution to EPIC2021 must be original. Of course, many presenters draw on previous data, projects, and ideas, but your EPIC contribution must be a new formulation, tailored to this community, event, theme, and format. Papers and Case Studies must be original articles.

  • All co-authors must sign a media agreement that enables us to record your presentation and publish the video in our digital library.
  • All co-authors of Case Studies and Papers must sign a publication agreement that enables us to publish the text in the open-access journal Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings (ISSN 1559-8918) and on org.
  • You must have all necessary permissions to present and publish your work. Please contact us if you have any concerns about permissions.

Papers

We invite Paper proposals from authors in all career stages, and welcome new authors who are deepening their research craft.

What Is a Paper?
Papers advance our field by reflecting constructively on our explanatory and descriptive models (theory), the relationships between these models and the tools we use in our work (methodology), or more broadly on the conference theme and issues of the day. They pose and respond to questions that cut across the varied contexts, day-to-day concerns, and organizational priorities we face. They demonstrate the links between new insights and ongoing debates, and build on the work of others, referencing other projects, concepts, or data sources. Papers are expected to galvanize debate and offer innovative framings of topics for wider application by the EPIC community.

The framework of your argument should touch on the conference theme Anticipation, whether to amplify existing practices, or suggest ways in which new theory and practice in this area can evolve.

Although Papers frequently use cases to make or illustrate their larger arguments, a Paper is distinct from a Case Study, which demonstrates the concrete impact or ROI of a specific project or program.

Here are examples of great EPIC Papers:

Review, Writing, and Presentation
Paper proposals are double-anonymous peer reviewed and selected by an independent committee. The process is competitive and our acceptance rate ranges 20–40%. Please read the General Guidelines and Review Process.

Papers are original, written articles of around 5,000–7,000 words (excluding references), published in the open-access journal Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings (Wiley Blackwell, ISSN 1559-8918) and on epicpeople.org.

Authors make a ~10-minute presentation at EPIC2021 and engage in live discussion/Q&A sessions with attendees. The presentation is not a speed-reading of the Paper itself; it is a synthesis or provocative summary of the work that catalyzes discussion. EPIC will assist authors in pre-recording the presentation and professionally edit/produce the video.

We will provide additional guidelines for developing, formatting, and delivering final papers and conference presentations to authors whose proposals are accepted.

Writing and Submitting Your Proposal
To facilitate blind peer review, do not name or reference the identity or affiliations of any co-authors within the proposal document itself. You will enter this information separately in the submission process.

Proposals must include the following elements in one PDF document:

  • Title
  • Abstract of maximum 750 words, including citations, that covers:
    • Your main argument
    • The types of ethnographic sources you use (original research; secondary research; review/synthesis of other work; etc)
    • Your key insights
    • Relevance to the conference theme Anticipation
  • 1-page outline demonstrating the anticipated order of your paper’s main points
  • List of references to other relevant literature, research, or data sources you will use (in addition to those cited in the abstract)
  • A concise statement, 150 words maximum, on the Paper’s contributions to the EPIC community. What will we learn? How can others apply those learnings?

Submit your proposal to: https://new.precisionconference.com/epic
*The proposal submission system is unrelated to epicpeople.org and your EPIC account.

Questions? Papers@epicpeople.org

Case Studies

One of EPIC’s greatest contributions is its focus on the transformative value of ethnography on the ground, in practice, making an impact. We invite Case Studies of projects across all domains of practice.

What Is a Case Study?

Case studies demonstrate the concrete business or organizational impact of ethnographic projects. They are a teaching tool for the community to build value for ethnographic approaches in organizations. Cases emphasize how ethnographic practice and theory shaped and solved a specific organizational challenge/ opportunity and made a measurable impact for the organization, stakeholders, and communities, and users/consumers. The emphasis of the Case is not the elaboration of research methods per se, so much as the business/organizational context and how ethnography fueled solutions and concrete organizational outcomes. Cases must offer specific lessons for wider applicability in the community, and should be relevant to the conference theme Anticipation.

Here are examples of some great EPIC Case Studies:

Review, Writing, and Presentation
Case Study proposals are double-anonymous peer reviewed and selected by an independent committee. The process is competitive and our acceptance rate ranges 20–40%. Please read the General Guidelines and Review Process.

Case Studies are original, written articles of around 3,000–4,000 words (excluding references), published in the open-access journal Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings (Wiley Blackwell, ISSN 1559-8918) and on epicpeople.org.

Authors make a 7–10-minute presentation at EPIC2021 and engage in live discussion/Q&A sessions with attendees. The presentation is not a speed-reading of the Case Study itself; it is a concise pitch that demonstrates how you would tell this persuasive story of ethnographic impact to your stakeholders, clients/funders, non-research colleagues, or executives. EPIC will assist authors in pre-recording the presentation and professionally edit/produce the video.

We will provide additional guidelines for developing, formatting, and delivering final papers and conference presentations to authors whose proposals are accepted.

Preparing Your Case Study Proposal
To facilitate blind peer review, do not name or reference the identity or affiliations of any co-authors within the proposal document itself. You will enter this information separately in the submission process.

Proposals must include the following elements in one PDF document:

  • Title
  • Abstract of 500 words maximum that includes citations in the body of the abstract, including:
    • Business/organizational context—challenge or opportunity the project addressed
    • Project approach, execution, and outcomes
    • Impact on the business/organizational challenge or opportunity
    • Relevance to conference theme Anticipation
  • 1-page outline demonstrating the anticipated order of your case study’s main points
  • List of references to the relevant literature, research, and data sources from which your case draws.
  • A concise statement of 150 words maximum articulating:
    • the concrete business/organizational impact of your case;
    • specific lessons for wider applicability in the EPIC community

Submit your proposal to: https://new.precisionconference.com/epic
*The proposal submission system is unrelated to epicpeople.org and your EPIC account.

Questions? CaseStudies@epicpeople.org

Powered by PechaKucha

What Is a PechaKucha
PechaKucha (pronounced: “peh-cha-ku-cha”) presentations are creative, evocative performances of 20 image-rich slides that show for 20 seconds each (6 min 40 seconds total). They are performance poetry with visual punch. Pechakucha offer a reflective format for sharing unique insights, perspectives, juxtapositions, and provocations about ethnographic work.

EPIC PechaKuchas may not be mini project debriefs (stuffed with findings and results). Rather, they should tell a compelling, relevant story by expanding outward from a single research moment, insight or study participant; or by taking on a compelling concept or theme across different studies, field sites, even whole careers. Here is your chance to make research visually and verbally lyrical.

The EPIC2021 conference theme Anticipation lends itself to visual interpretation, and we welcome PechaKucha presentations that amplify diverse and inclusive futures.

Here are examples of some great EPIC PechaKuchas:

Review, Writing, and Presentation
PechaKucha proposals are double-anonymous peer reviewed and selected by an independent committee. The process is competitive and our acceptance rate is around 40%. Please read the General Guidelines and Review Process.

PechaKucha are presented at EPIC2021 and presenters engage in live discussion/Q&A sessions with attendees. EPIC will assist authors in pre-recording the presentation and professionally edit/produce the video.

PechaKucha abstracts (~150 words) are published in the open-access journal Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings (Wiley Blackwell, ISSN 1559-8918) and on epicpeople.org.

We will provide additional guidelines for developing, formatting, and delivering final papers and conference presentations to authors whose proposals are accepted.

Preparing Your PechaKucha Proposal
To facilitate blind peer review, do not name or reference the identity or affiliations of any co-authors within the proposal document itself. You will enter this information separately in the submission process.

Proposals must include the following elements in one PDF document:

  • Title
  • Abstract of your overall story, 200 words maximum
  • A draft PechaKucha presentation with 20 slides and draft performance script (bullet points are ok!) for each slide. Images in the proposal should be low–medium resolution to reduce file size (resolution will not affect the evaluation of your proposal!).
  • A statement on your submission’s contributions to the EPIC community, 150 words maximum

Submit your proposal to: https://new.precisionconference.com/epic
*The proposal submission system is unrelated to epicpeople.org and your EPIC account.

Questions? PechaKucha@epicpeople.org