a conversation about ethnographic methods

EPIC 2013 in London

The Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC) was held in London this year.  You can follow the organizers on Twitter and/or read the Twitter stream (hashtags #epic2013, #epicsocial, #epicthd).  There is also a Flickr site, though our pictures seem to be mixed in with an event at the Jewish Federation of NY, which makes for an interesting contrast.  For a minute there I was thinking … were there really people in full-length gowns at the dinner and I just missed it?!

I just didn’t have it in me to do real-time blogging this year … and with the tragically limited wifi it was hard to even get a timely tweet out.  But James Turner (@JamesAsterisk) did an amazing job real-timing blogging EPIC2013, so if you want to read a summary, that’s a great starting place!  The draft proceedings may still be online, though they usually come down after the event.  Though – bonus! – now the proceedings from years past are now available on the conference website.

It was great to be there and re-connect with members of the anthrodesign community!  Here are a few pictures from our gathering at Bill’s in Soho.  We had a good English breakfast with “bubble & squeak”.  Don’t know what that is?  It’s a hashbrown alternative made with mashed potato and peas.  The British really seem to like their peas – I think they were in every single meal I ate in London!


If I had remembered to order gluten-free bread I would have finished everything on the plate!

Here is a picture of the chatty attendees:


At the end of the table is Elena O’Curry (Groupon), and going counter-clockwise from there is Nelle Steele (Microsoft), Alex (Pitney Bowes), Paul Klipp (independent), Todd Harple (Intel), Martha Cotton (GravityTank), Martin Ortlieb (Google), Sam Ladner (Microsoft), Steven Garcia (UNT), Erin Taylor (post-doc University of Lisbon), me (ZS Associates), and Gordon Baty (Gannett).

Also also a picture of me (right) in the library of the Royal Institution of Science with Tracey Lovejoy (EPIC co-founder) and Ed Leibow (now president of the American Anthropology Association).

epic library

And here is a picture of the lovely ladies of Microsoft (Sam Ladner, Nelle Steele, Tracey Lovejoy) sitting in the Faraday Theatre at the Royal Institute:

microsoft ladies

It was great to catch up with them and many more over the course of the conference …

EPIC 2014 will be at the Fordham University Business School in New York City – I hope to see you there!

Author: Natalie Hanson

I am an anthropologist and user experience (UX) executive. I lead a team that works in the healthcare space on both licensable software and custom client solutions. As an anthropologist, my research has focused on work practices and work environments. I have a special interest in how institutions respond to macro-economic, industry, and regional trends, and how the resulting organizational changes affect the lives of employees. You can learn more about me at

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