*Salon registration is closed. No on-site registration. 

Salons are small-group discussions on key topics in ethnographic practice. Facilitated by hosts who inspire reflection and engagement—sometimes using exercises or activities—they offer a space where conference attendees share candidly and experiment with evolving ideas.


All Salons are Sunday, 10 November, 12:45–1:45. Pick up a box lunch in Market Square Tent before going to your Salon!

When Not to Design AI: Assessing and Addressing the Ethical Implications of Research
Hosts: Martha Bird (ADP) & Abbas Jaffer (Facebook)
Washington Building, 20 Washington Place, Room 128A

Organizations hope human-centered researchers will help them design better AI products—but what if your research suggests that a product or service should NOT be designed at all? As advocates for users and experts about the social implications of technology, ethnographers have an important place in identifying and advocating for opportunities not to design. On what practical, social, and philosophical bases can we make these decisions? And how can we make our positions heard within organizations?

Martha BirdSalon host Martha Bird is a Business Anthropologist in ADP’s Roseland Innovation Lab, working with global brands to create meaningful services, experiences, and products. She supports innovation to ensure future generations of HCM technologies are informed by the wisdom of human cultures and the everyday encounters out of which new practices take shape and transform the way we work.

Abbas JafferCo-host Abbas Jaffer is a UX Researcher at Facebook working the with the Civic Integrity team. He is ABD in anthropology and holds a Masters degrees in anthropology and Islamic studies from Harvard. In his career Abbas has worked with large corporations, startups, universities, and NGOs in sectors including consumer tech, media, mobile telecom, financial services, and education.

Honoring the Unforeseen
Host: Anna Wojnarowska (Google)
Washington Building, 20 Washington Place, Room 128B

Despite careful planning, researchers in the field invariably face unpredictable participants, unforeseen contexts, and “edge cases” that may lead us outside our scope of inquiry. How do we remain true to our goals while honoring unanticipated encounters? In an actively facilitated session with examples drawn from healthcare, we will discuss ways that seemingly “out of scope” interactions become valuable and informative.

Anna WojnarowskaSalon host Anna Wojnarowska is a User Researcher at Google working on Google Fit. Making use of her academic background in anthropology and psychology, her work focuses on identifying the true value and role of technology within constrained or challenging environments where “official” systems fail.

Speaking Truths to Power
Hosts: Chelsea Mauldin (Public Policy Lab) & Natalia Radywyl
Washington Building, 20 Washington Place, Room 302

Applied researchers and designers work in contexts strongly shaped by class, race, gender, and other markers of power. How and when can we address or disrupt existing power hierarchies? When our clients are higher status than our research participants, how do we address this imbalance? Is it our ethical duty to surface issues of power and inequality? What might a set of practices for addressing power look like?

Chelsea MauldinSalon co-host Chelsea Mauldin is a social scientist and designer. She directs the Public Policy Lab, a New York City nonprofit organization that designs better public policy and services for low-income and at-risk Americans. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the London School of Economics.

Natalia RadywylCo-host Natalia Radywyl, PhD, is an academic and design consultant specializing in applied research, design, and social innovation. She has worked with clients from Fortune 500 to government and NGOs. She’s passionate about bringing true rigor, creativity and integrity to design consulting.

Supporting Advanced Practitioners: Value, Impact, and Leadership
Host: Tracey Lovejoy (Catalyst Constellations)
Washington Building, 20 Washington Place, Room 310

A salon for experienced EPIC practitioners (10 or more years in practice and have attended at least one EPIC before) to discuss what could best support us at this stage in our career and how EPIC could be a part of creating that support. What are our key challenges at advanced levels of ethnographic practice? What does “doing ethnography” mean for those of us in managerial or executive positions? How do we define value, impact, and leadership?

Tracey LovejoySalon host Tracey Lovejoy is a coach who supports Catalysts and their teams, and is the researcher behind the Catalyst movement. Before she became a coach, Tracey spent 12 years at Microsoft as an ethnographer and leading teams of change makers. She is also the co-founder of EPIC and teaches the popular EPIC course Maximizing Your Impact as a Change Agent.

Agency through Appropriation: Does User Centered Design Diminish Agency?
Host: Margaret Morris (University of Washington Seattle)
College Building, 2 College Street, Room 346

Appropriating technologies—pushing them beyond their intended use to meet personal objectives—is a form of agency. This salon will explore tensions between user centered design and agency, ways of inviting appropriation among end users, and the appropriation of tools by researchers and designers.

Salon host Margie Morris is a clinical psychologist and technology researcher. She is the author of Left to Our Own Devices (MIT Press), has published in leading psychology and HCI journals, and has invented a number of systems for emotional wellbeing. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, and EPIC Perspectives.

Failing Fast: Adapting to Agile
Hosts: Thomas Oder (Wells Fargo); Jenna Hammer (Zillow); Melissa Vogel (Clemson University)
College Building, 2 College Street, Room 410

Agile & Lean UX are digital development methodologies that are here to stay, forcing digital teams—including researchers—to adapt. Is this shift emphasizing generative over evaluative research a response to pressure to be “faster”? Is strategy the right place to focus research? Join us to discuss how researchers can deliver insights in these new structures.

Thomas OderSalon Host Thomas Oder is an Agile Change Agent at Wells Fargo and Business Mentor at Everwise. He has previously worked on Agile teams at Staples and Volvo. Thomas is focused on helping UX teams adapt to the Agile software development lifecycle while facilitating a cultural shift to embrace customer centric strategy and design.

Jenna HammerCo-host Jenna Hammer has spent 15 years in UX research, largely conducting research on personal finance for U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. She currently leads a research team at Zillow Group. She’s interested in helping researchers have the fluency and positioning to ensure business decisions are informed by customer needs.

Melissa VogelCo-host Melissa Vogel is Director of the Business Anthropology program at Clemson University and a Principal at Great Heron Insights. She has 25 years of mixed methods research experience, currently focused on improving corporate approaches to qualitative research and training applied social science researchers.

Design, Ethnography, and Foresight: Building Practices for the Long Term
Hosts: Lyn Jeffery (Institute for the Future) & Neil Collman (Nile)
College Building, 2 College Street, Room 412

To build better things, organizations, and futures, we need to integrate rigorous reflection on potential longterm consequences into our design and decisionmaking processes. But we live in a world optimized for the next quarter. How are ethnography, design, foresight, and a range of “innovation” practices evolving to meet this challenge? We will share successes and failures using foresight in service design and commercial environments, and strategize about making our personal practices more foresightful.

Lyn JefferySalon host Lyn Jeffery leads foresight training at the Institute for the Future (IFTF), an independent, non-profit futures research and education organization based in Palo Alto, Callifornia. A cultural anthropologist by training, Lyn designs and delivers learning experiences and strategic foresight research for large institutions seeking to better navigate change.

Neil CollmanCo-host Neil Collman is a design leader, speaker and service design practitioner who cares about making an impact for people and profit. He heads up the consulting practice at leading UK strategic design consultancy Nile where he develops ethnographic methods and offerings to stay at the forefront of the industry.

Intersectional Design Research
Host: Lindsey Wallace (Adobe)
College Building, 2 College Street, Room 424

How might we use intersectional feminist theory and understandings of knowledge production to explore the ways people live in webs of relationships and multiple intersecting systems of power? How do our own contexts and relationships shape what we can “see” and the insights we produce? When and how might they be actionable for designing digital and physical worlds, and what obligations do we have to the people we design for?

Lindsey WallaceSalon host Lindsey Wallace, PhD, is a Senior Researcher at Adobe Design. A feminist anthropologist and systems thinker, she uses observation and ethnography to understand individuals in their broader contexts, providing insights into the cultures and values that shape users’ interactions, problems, and experiences.

Clowns to the Left and Jokers to the Right: Getting “Unstuck in the Middle” with Ethics
Hosts: Nikki Lavoie (MindSpark); Josh Dresner (SPARCK) & Frank Romagosa (HiRoad)
College Building, 2 College Street, Room 442

How does ethics appear in our work and organizations? Are ethical questions changing with the nature of our work? Who or what owns questions of ethics when agency itself is being refigured? How can we protect our participants while attending to increasingly complex client needs? This salon will guide conversations around actual case studies of ethical dilemmas, and participants will be invited to share examples (anonymously). We’ll help each other get ‘unstuck in the middle’ by imagining how to proceed on questions of ethics today and tomorrow.

Nikki LavoieSalon host Nikki Lavoie, Founder & CEO of MindSpark Research International, is a qualitative specialist who translates her passion for understanding people into strategic insight. She combines ethnographic and digital techniques in a cross-cultural context and has written and presented on the power of language and culture in research.

Josh DresnerCo-host Josh Dresner is a digital consultant at SPARCK, the design company of BJSS, the leading independent IT and business consultancy in the UK. He holds a Masters in anthropology and people-centered business from the University of Copenhagen and previously worked at Claro Partners in Barcelona.

Frank RomagosaCo-host Frank Romagosa is the Senior Design Researcher at HiRoad, an insurtech private start-up that re-engineers insurance by rewarding and empowering mindful living. He is an anthropologist,  strategic planner and design researcher who has led cross-functional teams in a broad range of digital strategy and innovation projects.