Call for Participation


The European EPIC (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference) community is pleased to invite you to a one-day meeting in Barcelona, Spain, on Friday May 11th, 2012, hosted by ELISAVA Design School. The goal of this first-of-its-kind meeting is to provide a space for anyone involved in the use of ethnographic research in industry where we can:

  • meet and get to know each other, giving voice to and sharing our diverse set of experiences,
  • explore and discuss the state of ethnographic practice from a distinct European angle, and
  • develop an action plan around where we want to take things in the future.

The meeting complements the annual global EPIC conference, held this year in Savannah, Georgia, USA.

Who should come

  • Ethnographic practitioners and those interested in ethnographic practice in the business world
  • Designers, marketers, planners, anthropologists and others from related fields (students are encouraged)
  • People working in corporations, research firms, agencies/ consultancies, and academia


The meeting is scheduled for Friday May 11, 2012 (registration opens at 08:00, meeting ends at around 18:00). There is a reception and informal dinner the evening before on Thursday May 10. For those who want to be part of organizing the future of Epic Europe there will be an informal brunch the day after on Saturday May 12 at 10:00, further details here.


The meeting is hosted by ELISAVA Design School. La Rambla 30-32, 08002 Barcelona, Spain; We thank ELISAVA profoundly for their support, without them the meeting would not have been possible.

Registration & Participation

Online registration is available at: (Please note that registration closes April 26th.) The venue limits the number of participants to 100, therefore registration will close when that number is reached. The Registration Fee is Euro 50. (The amount includes catering for the day – light breakfast and lunch – and covers basic expenses for this meeting). There are no formal papers and therefore there is no paper submission process.

Programme & Format

Our one-day-plus meeting is designed for a high level of involvement and participation by participants, as well as space for informal talk. There will be no formal papers but rather three workshop sessions consisting of brief presentations, followed by extensive group and plenum discussions. We aim at actionable results. The meeting revolves around three central themes that are discussed in three workshop sessions.

Session 1: Mapping ethnographic practice in Europe: Who we are, what we do, successes and challenges. 

From trend forecasters in Warsaw to market researchers in Berlin, from user experience researchers in Madrid to social innovation designers in London, we are a hugely diverse group. This workshop is about capturing that diversity and finding our points of common interest, common challenges and common achievements. Only by seeing ourselves can we begin to build the strong and vibrant community of European ethnographic practitioners in industry we need.

Session 2: Evolving industry-academia collaboration: Vision and needs. 

The use of ethnographic practices in industry is a fairly new phenomenon that until recently was rarely addressed by academics from either a research or education perspective. Yet for any field of practice, a dynamic and close collaboration between academia and practitioners is necessary if the field is to evolve, and those doing it are to have the opportunity to train and extend their practice. This session will ask what collaboration between industry and academia should ideally look like in the future.

Session 3: Ethnography and the corporation: Lessons from the experience of ethnographers in the corporation. 

Organising ethnography internally and buying it externally poses particular challenges and opportunities. This session provides us with an opportunity to hear from the experiences of people within major corporations, and consider what they and we might teach each other about a (re)positioning of ethnography in the business context.

Opening remark and closing keynote.

We are pleased to present as opening and closing speakers two prominent figures in our field:

  • The event is launched by co-chair of the global EPIC Conference 2012 in Savannah, USA, and business anthropologist at ReD Associates, Simon Roberts. Simon has a background in both consulting and major corporations. As a prominent member of the EPIC community he will provide a brief overview of the growth and importance of EPIC.
  • The closing keynote will be presented by Simon Pulman-Jones, Anthropologist and Global Director, Innovation and Ethnography at GfK. Simon is a vibrant speaker whose long standing experience of developing ethnographic competencies in industry gives him a clear insight into what we all need to reflect on as we seek to strengthen and grow ethnographic practice in European industry.

We are looking forward to seeing you all in Barcelona in May. Best regards, Cat Macaulay, Heinrich Schwarz & Joan Vinyets (Co-Chairs)

Meeting Website:

Online registration:

Contact and questions:

[Please feel free to distribute this call to everyone who might be interested.]


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