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I’m in Southern California for the next six days, hanging out with anthropologists and talking about research, design, and ethics. “Ethnography and Design: Mutual Provocations” is organized and hosted by CoLED; the conference is situated in the tradition of experimental ethnography.

In addition to learning about CoLED and the work of scholars and practitioners in the CoLED network, there have been fabulous sessions focused on teaching, collaboration, and community-building. I’ve got new concepts and readings to bring back; new case studies; new data visualization tools. The keyword format sessions have given me ideas for in-class activities and PHEEL meetings; the “Digital Ethnography” session on solidarities with Joan Donovan and Tom Boellstorff provided tools to talk about research ethics and logistics with students. And overall, I’ve just gotten a nice sense for how I’d like to run a small conference well. Kudos to the organizers!

One of my favorite sessions happened on Saturday morning, and was run by Erin McElroy from the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project.

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Simply: What an amazing and inspiring project. McElroy’s examples were powerful and provocative; I learned a few new things about platforms and mapping tools too. When I was teaching the ‘Housing Philadelphia’ class last spring I was overly focused on Philly, and its housing data. I think this is the best work I’ve seen documenting dynamically power in urban housing issues.

I think the the PECE team should definitely delve into the project and its platforms, and maybe have a meeting to chat about it as an exemplar.

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