Home Departmental News CoLED Ethnography and Design Conference: Mutual Provocations

CoLED Ethnography and Design Conference: Mutual Provocations

October 27, 28, & 29, 2016

The UC Collaboratory for Ethnographic Design (CoLED) is an interdisciplinary hub for innovative ethnographic theory and methodology linking campuses across the University of California system. CoLED links faculty, postgraduate researchers and graduate students from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego.

About the Conference 

Ethnography and Design: Mutual Provocations brings ethnographers working in all of these modes together for a series of curated, provocative conversations. Addressing issues in ethnographic design through a “keywords” format, the conference and subsequent multimedia production will ask: What is Ethnography? What is Design? Who decides? What are the implications for theory, practice, and real world outcomes?

In recent years, design and ethnography, and practitioners of design and ethnography, have found a variety of new engagements and mutual provocations. Many ethnographers work in collaboration with designers and design researchers. Others are curious about how designers have taken up, made use of, and transformed ethnographic research strategies to gain insights into how to redesign objects, infrastructures, and social or institutional systems. Many academic ethnographers see design practice as complicit with global capitalism, industrialized manufacturing, consumer product marketing, and modern nation-building. Still others are interested in how ethnographic practice might be transformed by an engagement with studio design, bringing some of the research modes and strategies developed in design research back into the service of academic research. Many ethnographers are interested in innovations in research design that engage new media and frontiers in digital, visual, and performative formats. At the core, the conference engages with what our collaboratory has come to call ethnographic design: the ethical and political stakes of ethnographic method and form.

Feedback from Conference Attendees

See what people were tweeting in real time on the conference Storify!

“This was truly an exceptional get together– so different from most boring academic meetings. The panels built on each other so well, and I kept having to change my own paper in response to the stimulating provocations from all the speakers. Excellent!”

“I particularly liked the innovative format, which gave us all time to really have conversations, as well as to enjoy the more playful creative workshops.”

“A terrific success – I loved the freshness of the research and ideas that were shared.”

“We desperately need more events and forums like this, that bring a diversity of folks together to talk about themes close to the cutting-edge of current research and dissemination practices.”

“Playful joyful conferences like these need to happen more often.”

“This conference really cemented relations and discussions we have been having for the last two years, and posed some critical questions. I feel we are reaching a turning point, where new thinking is taking place.”

Download the conference flyer in PDF format here.

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