AGENCY IN APPLIED ETHNOGRAPHY

ETHNOBORREL IN ACTION!

NOTE: Register your interest through Meetup. We will have a separate registration process for the conference. Registration may include a small fee to cover catering and incidentals.

EthnoBorrel and the University of Amsterdam are running a one-day event in Amsterdam, parallel to the annual conference of the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Community (EPIC). The purpose of the conference is to build connections with our fellow ethnographers on both sides of the pond and explore issues specific to the European context.

Today, the profile of ethnography in European industry is growing rapidly. Here in the Netherlands, EthnoBorrel, AbV, and the Interbuilding Applied Anthropology Meetup are some of the fora where ethnographic practitioners discuss their work. These developments provide an excellent opportunity for us to work together to strengthen our profession and demonstrate our value to industry. We can learn a lot from our North American counterparts, especially the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Community (EPIC) who have been successful in promoting the use of ethnographic principles to create business value across different domains of industry.

THEME

The theme of EPIC2019 focuses on human agency in the new age of automation. We have interpreted the theme in our own way:

Agency, in the social sciences, is often seen as the amount of space, freedom and choice an individual experiences in the context of their life. The right to agency can be viewed as the right to self-determination. When agency meets technology it can be problematic in three ways.

First, technology (just like any other tool) is often designed according to the principle that in order to serve the customer's needs, some choices are already made for them. Are the ways in which technologies are making choices for us changing over time? Is the agency of the user diminishing or expanding?

Second, the agency of engaging with technology rests on the premise of transparency (are the 'why', 'how' and the implications of engaging with technology clear to those accessing it?), fairness (who has access to the technology and to the data produced?) and choice (is there a possibility to enter a dialogue with the technology where choice can be expressed?).

Third, many of today's technologies are built within one geography (with specific economic, social, geopolitical dynamics) to affect the geographies of the entire world. How does this affect the agency of (users in) these different geographies? How can the practice of ethnography help us see how agency and technology intersect in our contexts?

WORKSHOP 1

Driving Client Engagement Across the Project Life Cycle

Will Buckley and Calen Cole (Stripe Partners)

In today’s business world where everyone is scarce on time and attention, in-depth research is often compressed and flattened into the small digestible soundbites. Rich nuance gets simplified in easy-to-read headlines and bulleted slides. Months of research, analysis and reflection get trimmed into an elevator pitch for delivery to management. We will discuss Stripe’s approach to getting clients engaged and bought-in. (Spoiler alert: it involves bringing them along on the research.) In our workshop, we will select key project phases to zoom in on and we will share knowledge and tips on best-known-methods and novel approaches.

WORKSHOP 2

Engaging with Automation: Exploring the impact automation has on workers' identity and sense of ownership

Meltem Naz Kaso, Selene Camargo Correa and Álvaro Sánchez (A Piece of Pie)

The business community seems to believe that investments in automation deliver sought-after productivity gains and labour savings, increasing economic value at unprecedented rates. This belief is not erroneous but, instead, incomplete. This is because it perceives automation in isolation and does not consider the impact that automation has on those who design and work regularly with automated artefacts. During the workshop, we will generate discussion about the extent to which today’s tech-driven businesses are well-equipped to carry out a risk assessment of the impact automation has on workers’ identity, engagement and sense of ownership.

WORKSHOP 3

Stories of Transitioning from Academia to Industry

Corina Enache and Rosalie Post (Interbuiding Applied Anthropology Meetup)

Eight graduates will give lightning talks about a story they have with transitioning from academia to industry. These stories will involve a challenge of transition and how they overcame it (or not). They will then each host a small discussion group (total 8 groups) with the audience.

University of Amsterdam, Singel 425, Amsterdam

Sponsors

EthnoBorrel events can only be made possible by collaboration with industry partners who share our vision. This event's sponsor are:

People Make It Happen

People who share the passion and vision of EthnoBorrel help us all to make events a success.

This EthnoBorrel event is a reality thanks to the following people who are generously giving their time & professional assistance to you:

Erin Taylor

Erin Taylor

Gawain Lynch

Gawain Lynch

Gunjan Singh

Gunjan Singh

Abhigyan Singh

Abhigyan Singh

Sophia Rodriguez

Sophia Rodriguez

Rosalie Post

Rosalie Post

Corina Enache

Corina Enache