November 9

Venue: RISD
8:30-5:00 pm



Online pre-registration is required for tutorials—there is no on-site registration.

Drop by at any time to get your badge and conference agenda; you don’t need a confirmation code or receipt. If you need info or assistance at any time, this is the place.

9:00-4:00 pm

Graduate Colloquium

9:00-4:00 pm


Online pre-registration is required for tutorials. Full session descriptions & registration here

9:00 am–12:00 pm
•  Information Design for Ethnographic Analysis
•  Ethics in Data-Driven Industries
•  Managing Resistance to Change in Your Organization
•  Advancing Your Agile Research Program
•  Participatory Visual Research

12:00–1:00 pm
Lunch for all tutorial attendees & instructors

1:00–4:00 pm
•  Cultivating Research Capacity as Organizational Strategy
•  Making Sense—Leading Teams Through Synthesis
•  Making Video Ethnography Work
•  Sketchnoting
•  Observational Research & Human Agency

4:30-5:45 pm

Reconceptualizng Privacy

Algorithmic systems are increasingly integrated into the physical and digital infrastructures of our lives. The borders of privacy are being pushed and redefined, provoking new debate about what privacy is. All corporations claim privacy is important, but what does that mean? Panelists will explore what privacy might look like or mean when individuals are tied into multiple networks, both human and AI.

ken anderson, Principal Researcher, Intel Corporation

Liz Keneski, Head of Privacy Research, Facebook Inc.
Peter Levin, Principal Researcher, Autodesk
Elena O’Curry, Senior User Researcher, Uber
Jeff Sokolov, Designer & Researcher, IBM Watson Health

6:00-8:30 pm

Welcome Reception

Kick off EPIC by connecting with people and art at the RISD Museum. Collections explore diverse cultures, makers, and relationships across communities.


November 10

Venue: RISD
8:00-6:00 pm

Check-in, Book Exhibit, Jobs Board


Check-in: Drop by to get your badge and conference agenda; you don’t need a confirmation code or receipt. If you need info or assistance at any time, this is the place.

Book Exhibit: EPIC Members have written some of the most important books in our field (and others!), and you can browse them at leisure. If you have a book that should be on display, please tell us.

Jobs Board: Nothing like paper & a board to recruit at a gathering like EPIC (and post to the digital version here)

8:00-9:00 am

Continental Breakfast

9:00-9:30 am


9:30-10:30 am

Keynote Address

Sareeta Amrute
Sareeta is Director of Research at Data & Society and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her research is focused on the integration of humans and technologies, particularly how race and class are revisited and remade in sites of new economy work such as coding and software economies. More…
10:30-11:00 am


10:30-6:00 pm


Multi-media installations invite you to experience ethnographic practice in new ways. Read more…

11:00-12:30 pm

Everyday Automation


Curator: Elizabeth Anderson-Kempe

Believe in A.I.: Will You Pray for a Chatbot?
Andre Torales

Robots and the Fallacy of Agency
Stewart Allen (Fuse Foresight)

Living amongst AI: Agency of the Household Ethnography’s Role in Seeing the AI’s Blind Spots
LaiYee Ho (Delve)


Curator: Ellie Rennie

AI Among Us: Agency in a World of Cameras and Recognition Systems
ken anderson (Intel); Carl DiSalvo (Georgia Institute of Technology); Sue Faulkner (Intel)

From Automation to Human-AI Teaming: The Future of Intelligent Systems Design
Laura Cesafsky (Alliance Innovation Lab – Silicon Valley); Erik Stayton (MIT); Melissa Cefkin (Alliance Innovation Lab – Silicon Valley)

Who Gets to Make the Future? Uncovering Paths to Privacy and User Agency in Connected Technologies
Miriam Lueck Avery (Mozilla); Arvind Venkataramani (SonicRim); Gemma Petrie (Mozilla); Christine Meinders (Feminist.AI)

12:30-2:00 pm


12:45-1:45 pm

Salons—Sponsored by Steelcase

Online pre-registration is required to attend a Salon. Full session descriptions & registration here.

• When Not to Design AI
• Honoring the Unforeseen
• Speaking Truths to Power
• Supporting Advanced Practitioners
• Agency through Appropriation
• Failing Fast—Adapting to Agile
• Design, Ethnography, and Foresight
• Intersectional Design Research
• Getting “Unstuck in the Middle” with Ethics

2:00-3:30 pm



Food for Thought: The Path to Food Security in Newark, NJ
Ruchika Muchhala (Third Kulture Media)

The Learning Library: Using Ethnographic Film as an Organizational Change Tool by Scaling Human Insights Across a National Preschool System
Hal Phillips & Meg Kinney (Bad Babysitter)

Clyde in Mulberry
Allegra Oxborough (Aero Creative LLC)

Agency in a Future Smart Home
Nick Agafonoff (Real Ethnography)

Read more about the films and filmmakers

3:30-4:00 pm


4:00-5:30 pm

Panel: Agency & Innovation


November 11

Venue: RISD
8:00-5:00 pm

Info Desk, Book Exhibit, Jobs Board


Info Desk: If you need info or assistance at any time, this is the place.

Book Exhibit: EPIC Members have written some of the most important books in our field (and others!), and you can browse them at leisure. If you have a book that should be on display, please tell us.

Jobs Board: Nothing like paper & a board to recruit at a gathering like EPIC (and post to the digital version here)

8:00-9:00 am

Continental Breakfast

Portfolio Review Group
Bring your printed portfolio/resume, grab some breakfast, and join a friendly peer group for a review and discussion facilitated by senior practitioners and coaches. (not a recruiting event)
9:00-10:30 am

Concurrent Sessions

Negotiating Agency—PechaKucha & Papers

PechaKucha: Curated by Bridget Monahan (Google)

Change Agent: Lessons on Power and Failure from Eight Years of Systems Research and Policy Design
Chelsea Mauldin (Public Policy Lab)

Data Walks into a Bar: A Love Story
Tabitha Steager (Workday)

Contextual Research in Prisons: Moving People Safely
Ruben Perez Huidobro (Shopify)

Papers: Curated by Abbas Jaffer (Facebook)

Listening through Their Ears: Developing Inclusive Research Methods to Co-Create with Blind Participants
Gregory Weinstein (Uber)

Exploring Human and Machine Agency through an Ethnographic Perspective on Video Game Toxicity
Jamie Sherman (Intel)

The Adaptation of Everyday Work: How “Endangered” Middle-Men Ere Evolving the Way They Think about and Perform Their Jobs to Keep Pace with Automation-Driven Disruption
Millie P. Arora, Morgan Ramsey-Elliot, Tamara Moellenberg & Claire Straty (ReD Associates)

User Agency in UX Research—Case Studies

‘My AI’ versus ‘the Company AI’: How Knowledge Workers Conceptualize Forms of AI Assistance in the Workplace
Nanna Sandberg (Stripe Partners); Martin Ortlieb (Google); Tom Hoy (Stripe Partners)

Driving Chatbot Product Vision through User Research
Gregory A. Bennett & Molly Mahar (Salesforce)

The Human Agency Driverless Cars Must Preserve
Eliot Salandy Brown (ReD Associates)

Using Ethnography and Narrative Analysis to Uncover Customer Agency: Intrepid Travel’s Online Booking Project
Alice K. Watson (Intrepid Group)

More Than A Robot: Designing For Human Exploration On Mars
Paige Pritchard (Carnegie Mellon)

Climate Crisis and Collective Futures—Panel

What is ethnographers’ role in dealing with catastrophic climate crisis? This panel will examine tensions and responsibilities in individual and collective action in our organizations and beyond. And we’ll explore unique value that ethnographers can bring to this critical issue for our collective futures.

Dan Lockton, Director of the Imaginaries Lab & Chair of Design Studies, Carnegie Mellon University

Makalé Faber Cullen, PhoScope
Györgyi Gálik, Royal College of Art
Mike Youngblood, Youngblood Group

9:00-4:00 pm


10:30-11:00 am


11:00-12:30 am

Concurrent Sessions

Designing for Agency—PechaKucha & Papers

PechaKucha: Curated by April Jeffries (Ipsos)

Center Frame: Agency in the Lives of Researchers
Brandy Parker (IA Collaborative)

Self Ethnography: Or, How I Earned My Berkeley Citizenship in an Ethnographic Journey through the Crunchy Granola and Scientific
Beth Schwindt (AutoDesk/Building Connected)

Remembering the Blister
Marise Phillips (Wells Fargo)

Papers: Curated by Dan Lockton (Carnegie Mellon School of Design)

From ‘Cool Science’ to Changing the World: The Opportunity to Support Pre-startup Science Commercialisation through Ethnography and Human-Centred Design
Simon Pulman-Jones (Emergence Now) & Amy Weatherup (AJM Enterprises)

(Fr)agile objects: Thinking Scrum through Post-It Notes
Isabel Lafuente & Wilson Prata (SIDIA – Samsung)

Getting Machine-Learning Algorithms to Think Like Ethnographers: A Case Study on Using “Hybrid Ethnography” to Inform Cognitive Science and Machine Learning for Context-Aware Technology
Eryn Whitworth (Facebook Technologies) & Maria Cury (ReD Associates)

Agency of the Affected—Case Studies

“Can Any Hairdresser Fix a Car?” Mechanics Seeking Agency in Automated Car Diagnostic Contexts, and How Observing Agency Can Help Designing a Car Diagnostic Tool
Chloé Huie Brickert & Guillaume Montagu (_unknowns)

Getting Us There: Ride Hailing Systems from the Drivers’ Perspectives
Keith S. Karn (Human Factors in Context LLC) & William E Hutson (IBM)

Designing for Dynamics of Agency with Homeless New Yorkers
Natalia Radywyl (Public Policy Lab)

Seen and Heard: Cybersecurity Analysts Won’t Soon Be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence
Liz Rogers (IBM); Andi L. Lozano (IBM); Terra Banal (IBM)

Boundary Crossings: Collaborative Robots and Human Workers
Bruce Pietrykowski (University of Michigan-Dearborn); Mike Folster (Behco)

Representation & Representativeness—Panel

As practitioners in industry and the public sector, when we present our research and recommendations to clients and communities we are often asked, “Is your data representative?” “Are you representing our constituents, consumers, or users?” As ethnographers, we ask, “What does ‘representation’ mean, in which contexts?” This panel brings together practitioners working across different sectors and industries (health, finance, media, education) to discuss representation and “representativeness” in their research and work.

Donna Lanclos, Anodyne Anthropology LLC

Autumn Sanders Foster, Founder, Quire Consulting
Amber Hampton Greene, Cityblock Health
Jordan Kraemer, Implosion Labs, LLC
Ruchika Muchhala, The Sound

12:30-2:00 pm

Networking Lunch—Sponsored by IBM

2:00-3:30 pm

Concurrent Sessions

Redesigning for Change—PechaKucha & Papers

PechaKucha: Curated by Chris Golias (Google)

Out to Dry: Change and Agency Across Urban China
Zach Hyman (EPAM Continuum)

Ethnographic ‘Weirdness’: Attending to Indicators of the Unfamiliar
Charley Scull (Filament Insight & Innovation)

Nangi Village: a story of collective agency in the mountains of Nepal
Emelia Rallapalli (Pebble Strategy)

Papers: Curated by Dan Perkel (IDEO)

Designing Queer Love: An Ethnographic Study of Dating App Producers in Urban India
Vishnupriya Das (University of Michigan)

Abiding by Invisible Road Rules in the Field: Using ANT for CTF
Amity Ballantyne Latham, Keir Reeves & John McDonald (Federation University Australia)

 “Alexa, Help Us Save the Planet”
Gyorgyi Galik (Royal College of Art)

Agency in/through Partnership—Case Studies

Increasing Perceived Self-Agency in Human-AI Interactions: Learnings from Piloting a Voice User Interface with Driver-Partners on a Ridesharing Platform
Jake Silva (Uber Technologies Inc.)

Speculative Design within Corporate Realities
Megan M Prescott & Ben Kuester Kuester (Allstate)

Monitoring with Meaning: A Case Study of Sensor-Based Monitoring for Clean Energy Technologies
Jennifer Ventrella, Erin Peiffer, Nordica MacCarty & Shaozeng Zhang (Oregon State University)

Caregiver/Family Agency: Confidence, Play, Familiarity, and Passion in a Healthcare System
Adaheid L. Mestad & Amin Mojtahedi (HGA)

Educating the Educators: An Entire Franchise Preschool System Embraces Ethnographic Insights to Improve Brand Experience and Drive Growth
Meg Kinney (Bad Babysitter Productions)

Diversity & Inclusion World Cafe

Facilitated by Tamara Hale & Sam Ladner (Workday)

World Cafe is a collaborative participatory design method for hosting group dialogue. Come to this drop-in café to sit down, enjoy a refreshment with other attendees, and discuss how we as a community understand diversity and inclusion. Insights will be synthesized and shared back to the EPIC community to help us shape and advance diversity & inclusion goals.

3:30-4:00 pm


4:00-5:00 pm

Concurrent Sessions

Automating Ethnography—Papers

Curated by Sakari Tamminen (Gemic)

Designing Good Jobs: The Ethnography of Work and Data-Driven Systems
Marta Cuciurean-Zapan (IDEO)

Agency-Enhancing Automations in Consulting: Pathways for Anthropology and AI to Prioritize Contextual Automations
Cengiz Cemaloglu (ReD Associates); Jasmine Chia (Boston Consulting Group); Joshua Tam (IBM)

Supporting Real-Time Contextual Inquiry Through Sensor Data
Katerina Gorkovenko (University of Edinburgh); Dave Murray-Rust (University of Edinburgh); Daniel J. Burnett (Lancaster University); James K. Thorp (Lancaster University); Daniel Richards (Lancaster University)

Expanding Ethnographic Agencies—PechaKucha

Curated by Alexandra Mack (Ad Hoc) & Emma Saunders (Empathy)

Creating Agency: On What Ethnography Can Learn from Storytelling
Anna Zavyalova (Stripe Partners)

Creative Photography through Ethnographic Research
Gabriela Alves de Oliveira (INSITUM)

“Resistance is Possible”: The Ethnography of Roleplaying
Nathan LeBlanc (Scoop)

Borders and Walls: What Is the Agency of Architects in Geopolitical Conflicts?
Ane Gonzalez Lara (Pratt Institute)

Digital Selves and Distributed Agency: Redefining the Subject of Ethnography
Gunes Kocabag

Rebooting Literacy: Digital Literacy and Human Agency
Shubhangi Athalye & Stuart Henshall (Convo Research & Strategy Pvt Ltd)

5:00-6:00 pm

Keynote Address

Zach Lieberman
Zach is an artist, researcher and educator. He creates artwork through writing software; is a co-creator of openFrameworks, an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding; and co-founded the School for Poetic Computation. More…
6:00-9:30 pm

Conference Dinner

WaterFire Arts Center. Info & tickets.


November 12

Venue: RISD
8:00-8:30 am

Continental Breakfast

8:30-9:30 am

Ethnographic Agency


Curated by Anne Harris (RMIT University)

Ethnographic Agency in a Data-Driven World: A Methodological and Theoretical Toolkit for Doing Ethnography in Data-Intensive Settings
Nadine Sarah Levin (Facebook)

Doughnut Economics, Agency, and Ecological Design: Ethnography for Doughnut-Centered Designers
Christopher Golias (Google)

9:45-10:45 am

Keynote Address

Simon Roberts
Simon is an anthropologist and co-founder of Stripe Partners, a strategy and innovation consultancy. He writes and speaks internationally on anthropology ethnography, and technology, and has made important contributions to the EPIC community since 2005. More…
10:45-11:00 am