Case Studies, Papers, and PechaKuchas are the heart of the EPIC program, taking us under the hood of the latest projects, frameworks, methods, and challenges in ethnographic practice. Each format is a unique approach to exposition and evidence. Our independent Program Committees invite proposals through an open Call for Participation in January–March, and carry out a competitive, anonymous peer review process to select these presentations.
Peer-reviewed case studies showcase ethnographic impact: what we did, how we did it, why it mattered, and how organizations and clients calibrate the value of the work. They take us “under the hood” of challenging work across private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Full-length, written Case Studies are published in the EPIC Proceedings.Anticipating Civic Needs and Skills
COVID-19 was a catalyst for rethinking the future of workers and public service providers. Across countries and contexts, researchers needed to understand the changing landscape of labor. These case studies demonstrate how researchers have anticipated new worker realities.
Oct 19, 4:00 pm San Francisco / Oct 20, 10:00 am Sydney
Anticipating Needs: How Trauma-Informed Research During COVID-19 Changed Our Everyday Work
Meredith Hitchcock, Airbnb
Sadhika Johnson, Airbnb
Human Skills as Essential Skills: Preparing Low-Skilled Job Seekers for Inclusion in the Future Economy
Minnar Xie, Blueprint
Ebony Bertorelli, Blueprint
Reconnecting with the Public
Lok Yi Lee, Brandnographer
Lyra Jiang, Brandnographer
Ethnographers must use insights about the consumers of current products and services in order to anticipate future ones. In this session, researchers demonstrate how they do this such diverse contexts as immersive media, virtual primary care, and future vehicles.
Oct 20, 8:00 am San Francisco / 4:00 pm London
Building for the Future, Together: A Model for Bringing Emerging Products to Market, Using Anticipatory Ethnography and Mixed Methods Research
Stefanie Hutka, Adobe, Inc.
Anticipating the Arrival of a Clean-Sensitive Driving Future
Annicka Campbell-Dollaghan, Rightpoint Consulting
Omer Tsimhoni General Motors
Edward Gundlach, General Motors
Camille Sharrow-Blaum, Rightpoint Consulting
Ashlynn Denny, Rightpoint Consulting
Designing Virtual Primary Health Care
Marie Mika, Grand Rounds, Inc.
Arvind Venkataramani, Grand Rounds, Inc.
Retooling ethnographic inquiry during the pandemic, researchers worked with corporate, governmental, and community stakeholders to anticipate the future of hygiene and shape sensitive governmental crisis-response strategies.
Oct 21, 9:00 am London / 7:00 pm Sydney
The Future of Hygiene: Constructing Expansive Futures
Siddharth Kanoria, Quantum Consumer Solutions
Dimitri Berti, Quantum Consumer Solutions
Christi Kobierecka, Unilever
Anticipating the Unanticipated: Ethnography and Crisis Response in the Public Sector
Christina Cheadle, Stripe Partners
Hannah Pattinson, Surrey County Council
Peer-reviewed papers offer syntheses or frameworks that drive innovation and debate in ethnographic practice. They address issues and challenges that bridge our varied contexts and organizations, and advance core ethnographic principles. Full-length, written Papers are published in the EPIC Proceedings.Methods of the Future
This session examines how we leverage the natively digital spaces where our participants live, work, and play. The authors look at these systems with a critical, informed eye on the context, and on ourselves, to offer methodological innovations that maintain ethnographic integrity.
Oct 19, 8:00 am London / 6:00 pm Sydney
Building Target Worlds
Markus Rothmüller, Bridgemaker GmbH
Anticipating Future (UX) Design Practice
Mette Kjærsgaard, Institute for Design and Communication
Jacob Buur, University of Southern Denmark
Wafa Said Mosleh, University of Southern Denmark
Feature versus Future: Anticipating Musical Futures in an Online Present
Iveta Hajdakova, Stripe Partners
How do we innovate for the future without understanding the past? How do we simultaneously prevent the past from locking us into just reproducing what we’ve already experienced? The papers in this session span theory to practice, all in service of unleashing a better unknown, but through the structure of controlled methods.
Oct 19, 10:00 am San Francisco / 6:00 pm London
Information Seeking across Cultures
Jennifer Zamora, Google
Leveraging Speculative Design to Re-imagine Product Roadmaps
Sanya Attari, Facebook
Charley Scull, Facebook
Mahboobeh Harandi, Syracuse University
Anticipating Headwinds: Using Cultural Tacking and Narrative Navigation to Build an Inclusive Future
Katie Sieck, AgencyAgile
A digitally connected world ostensibly signifies “progress” and “betterment”—but for whom exactly, and in what ways? In this session, we consider how ideas that lead to progress can be better situated within communities, and how anthropology supports communities that originate ideas to continue to be stewards, even within the context of the instantaneous and digital sharing.
Oct 20, 3:00 pm San Francisco / Oct 21, 9:00 am Sydney
Weaving Textile Futures: Indigenous Resistance and Intellectual Property
Amapola Rangel Flores, University of the Americas Puebla
Cities as Anticipatory Systems: Analyzing “Weak Signals” to Explore beyond the Predictability of Their Future
Nora Morales, UAM Cuajimalpa
Salomon Gonzalez, UAM Cuajimalpa
Oct 21, 8:00 am London / 6:00 pm Sydney
The emic position is an ethnographic tradition, fraught with contradictions of the multiple perspectives brought to bear on the interpretation of culture. Ethnographers in this session call upon us all to examine how ethnography can truly embrace the communities it watches. These authors show us that where and how the emic tradition can be brought forth, reinvented, and invigorated.
Reimagining Livelihoods: An Ethnographic Inquiry into Anticipation, Agency, and Reflexivity as India’s Impact Ecosystem Responds to Post-pandemic Rebuilding
Gitika Saksena, LagomWorks
Abhishek Mohanty, LagomWorks
Empowering Communities: Future-making through Citizen Ethnography
Sophie Goodman, Sophie Goodman Research
Dr. Monty Badami, Habitus
Adding Aspiration to Anticipation: Building Ethical Models for Future Social Change
Annette Markham, RMIT University
Future visions are products of their locations. But what if those visions are crafted at the periphery and not at the centre? This session decenters visioning, to explore futures from those often silenced, and to highlight ways of doing this decentering.
Oct 21, 3:00 pm San Francisco / Oct 22, 9:00 am Sydney
Deconstructing Imperialism in Technology
Toluwa Awodiya, SurveyMonkey
Come to Your Senses: Ethnography of the Everyday Futuring
Rebekah Park, Gemic
Jana Jevtic, Gemic
Futures in Things: Locating the Promise of Infrastructures in Public Libraries
Sanndjar Kozubaev, Georgia Institute of Technology
Carl DiSalvo, Georgia Institute of Technology
This unique storytelling format combines visual and spoken narratives. Selected through peer review, presentations explore ethnography and professional issues in pithy, provocative, or poignant ways.Alternative Methods
What does it mean to use creative methods in our research? From which techniques and toolboxes do we begin, if we want to anticipate the toolbox for our future practice? How can we incorporate alternative methods, paying attention to feelings as well as facts? In this panel, authors become bricoleurs who put their assumptions about knowledge creation on hold in order to explore a range of unexpected sources.
Oct 19, 3:00 pm San Francisco / Oct 20, 9:00 am Sydney
Our Advocacy Practice for Their Change
Amanda Rosenberg, Workday
Intuition Thinking through Loopholes
Laura Reiss, Independent
Honoring Children as Participants
Chloe Chang, Open Box Design
Vinay Kumar Mysore, Open Box Design
These presentations share a productive commitment to storytelling as a way to address what is uncertain or even risky. They dig deep into the ways that stories—and critically, the way stories are told—can have great bearing on how we anticipate and create futures.
Oct 20, 10:00 am London / 8:00 pm Sydney
Wine, Bacon and Periods: Changing Supermarket Categories, Changing the World
Jennie Leng, Independent
Who Deserves to Be Observed? Wrestling with the Avant-Garde
Letizia, Nardi, InProcess
Lola Billaud, InProcess
Storytelling as Research: Anticipating the Unthinkable
Sarah Heffernan, Sarah Heffernan Design
These presentations call on us to think beyond the human-centered approaches that are now so well-received and much-loved. They offer alternative lenses on the whole environment—of which human are just a part—at a time when so much of the world is at stake.
Oct 20, 10:00 am San Francisco / 6:00 pm London
Microbes that Matter
Carrie Yury, Fjord
On Being Well in a Time of Hell
Chloe Evans, Spotify
Mira Shah, Spotify
Camie Steinhoff, Spotify
Hands Are People Too: Reflections on the Value of Hands (and How to Study Them) from Ethnographic Research to Inform the Development of Haptic Technology
Maria Cury, RED Associate
Kahyun Sophie Kim, Facebook Reality Labs
Psychology: The Ballast in Anthropology’s Ship
Ben Doepke, IX
The PechaKuchas in this session go beyond peering into our futures—they unsettle long-standing truisms about what it means to be human, as bodies and beings in space and time. Presenters offer new and even experimental approaches to understanding what a future might look like when we reimagine bodies and senses.
Oct 21, 8:00 am San Francisco / 4:00 pm London
Do Not Fear Mistakes
Katherine Metzo, Lowes
Ethnographic Fiction: Exploring Bio-technological Possibilities through a Retrospeculative Lens
Oshin Siao Bhatt, Design Academy Eindhoven
Holidays and the Anticipation of Ritual
Rob Murray, IBM