Ethnography: The World Fair

A Global Online Gathering (AGOG)  

25-27 August, 2021

Confirmed Keynotes:

  • Professor Melissa Fisher, New York University, on the future of work
  • Professor Damian O’Doherty, University of Manchester, on landscape ethnography for Gaia

Again, we are sorry not to be seeing you in person at the end of August this year. While we are all hopeful for progress in the coming months, there remains so much uncertainty. We have, therefore, decided to organise the symposium online.

But we will retain the aim and the spirit of the symposium, to support a community of ethnographers. After a year of isolation that many of us have found difficult, and perhaps particularly those of us now unable to engage in our fieldwork as we had planned, it is more important that we support each other.

Last year, the online format enabled colleagues to join us from California and Sydney, amongst other locations, but it did stretch their powers of endurance. This year, playing with the form and with the flexibility of the virtual format, we are going global.

We are going to try to do something virtual over the days we would have been together. We are planning keynotes in at least three time zones, possibly four. And we hope to have sessions running through a 24 hour period so that all can access some of the symposium without having to set their alarm clock. Again, we are also planning a range of different events rather than a series of research presentations as would normally be the format. If the purpose of the symposium has always been to create and support a community, we need to replicate as much as possible all the other aspects of attending a symposium that occur beyond the presentations. Following our experience of last year, we will arrange informal spaces for conversations between sessions.

Over the three days, we propose to host:

  • Networking events, perhaps particularly for doctoral and early career researchers engaging with ethnography and themed around the research journey for those starting out, engaging with ethical review, in the field or analysing their data.
  • Keynote presentations in at least three time zones on themes to be announced.
  • Panels on themes/topics
  • Shorter presentations of your research that will be the spark for more connections and conversations.
  • A workshop discussing the challenges of pursuing ethnographic research during a pandemic.
  • A writing workshop with editors from the Journal of Organizational Ethnography
  • Social events – some might even be ‘in person’ at regional locations if the pandemic allows.

Joining one or more of these will not be a commitment to participating in all of them. We are all truly tired of the many hours spent on Zoom, Teams, Blue Jeans… the list goes on. We envisage timetabled gatherings on each of the three days, well spread out to allow for breaks from the screen and recognising that many of us will be juggling other commitments while we are at home.

We plan to develop the form we tried last year, with shorter 5-minute presentations followed by questions and breakout rooms for discussions. The format keeps the audience engaged where it is all too easy to drift off online.

Conference Fee: once again, there will be no conference fee for this event.

If you would like to propose a panel on a theme/topic, please contact the organisers (ethnog@liv.ac.uk) with your thoughts as to the theme and potential speakers by Friday 28th May. Please indicate in which Time Zone you would wish the panel to run.

If you would like to present your work during the World Fair, please submit an abstract (c250 words) for a presentation to ethnog@liv.ac.uk by Wednesday 30th June. Please indicate in which Time Zone you would wish to present.

We would welcome suggestions for other activities we might arrange during the World Fair. What have you experienced in the past year that worked and we might learn from? Please do let us know (ethnog@liv.ac.uk).

Further details will posted here in due course.

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