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Our ethos

Pottery and Craft

The Ethnography Atelier is a collaborative space that promotes ethnographic and other qualitative research in work and organizations. We organize on-line and off-line opportunities for researchers to discuss and develop each other’s work and share resources to foster engagement with a variety of qualitative methods. The Ethnography Atelier is an independent effort, run by a group of volunteers from diverse institutions, located across the world. 


Our ethos orients how we conduct research, teach, review, and organize events. It guides how we learn from each other and behave as members of the profession.

1. Qualitative Research is a Craft

It requires skills and experience, as well as creativity and freedom. The word craft is important to us because it indicates that the methods we use to collect, analyze, and write up our work cannot be reduced to templates, recipes, or *put your favorite researcher’s name here* methods. It requires practice, feedback, and refining. It involves care and joy. 


2. Craft is a Collective Endeavor

A craft flourishes when people share what they do and know, creating opportunities for novices to learn the craft. This requires interaction, reflection, and exchange. Being honest and open with how we do our work enables us to learn from each other. As we progress into a craft, we develop our voice. In turn, this collective diversity generates new insights and augments the quality of knowledge we produce.

3. Deviate and Create

Each research project requires a unique approach. Fundamental techniques of our craft are needed in every project – taking field notes, developing interview protocols, conducting interviews, coding data, or moving from coding to other forms of analysis. While there are extensive written resources one can consult, moving from reading to doing is never straightforward, it requires independent thinking.

4. Research is a Process

We understand research as an artisanal process involving deep analyses and grounded interpretation of rich empirical data. We value a careful approach to our work and a sense of responsibility for our products. This requires focusing on the research process, not just its outputs, and accepting that good work takes time.

5. Continuously Create the World You Want to Live in

We aim to conduct ourselves in a way that reflects our aspirations for the world and our profession. We work to create and foster an honest, nurturing, responsible, inclusive, sustainable, and diverse academia. This translates into practical actions toward building inclusive, affordable, and environmentally friendly learning spaces. Our guests and themes reflect an ongoing effort to include a variety of approaches to qualitative work. We discuss differences and ask questions to understand other perspectives. Our activities are open to everybody, and we work to minimize time-zone biases and make recordings available when possible.

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