EPIC Film Screening at RSDI Auditorium
Speaking at the Representation and Representativeness Panel

Representation & Representative-ness

We will be tackling the ever-relevant theme of “representation”, a topic with a long legacy in ethnography and anthropology. Actually, I feel like the panel already started in the terrific discussions we had to develop our abstract, so I want to share some of that thinking here to inspire you to join the conversation in Providence!

Our abstract begins: Ethnographers take pride in representing people’s voices with fidelity, empathy, and deep contextual understanding. But our work can end up reinforcing a distinction between people who “have experience” that we study for insights and people who “have expertise” to use, shape, and monetize that experience.

We want the panel to wrestle with the following questions:

  • What happens when telling a more representative story destroys the client’s narrative?
  • What does a commitment to representation look like in each stage of the process?
  • How does a commitment to representation change the way we do business (e.g. project planning, recruitment, reporting)?
  • How do we decide who/what we will represent in our research/work?

Film Screening

The film session at EPIC explores the ways ethnographic practitioners have used moving images to interpret data, share insights, and tell the stories of their work. Filmmakers showcase these forays in visual storytelling by screening examples and discussing the limits and possibilities of the form. Films were selected through anonymous review by our independent Film Committee. Read more about the films at EPIC 2019 here.