Honolulu, Hawai‘i October 9-12

What Happens at EPIC?

EPIC offers a diverse, inclusive program that gives our community many ways to share work and ideas. Through formal presentations, interactive sessions, and informal networking opportunities, attendees access global expertise, gain new skills, and make the invaluable connections that have transformed EPIC into an essential, year-round community.

Of course, the variety of programming can also be confusing. If you haven’t been to EPIC before, you may be wondering what the heck a Salon is, or which sessions require pre-registration and which are open to all attendees, or what the difference between a Case Study and a Paper is. This page is your guide, with links to additional info and some great videos. And don’t forget that you can explore 13 years of conference proceedings in our open-access library, as well as four years of video on demand.

Case Studies

Go to EPIC2018 Case Study Sessions // Case Studies are real-world examples of how ethnographic approaches are used to address a specific product, service, project, or organizational issue, with concrete outcomes and lessons. They come from business, not-for-profit, and public-sector contexts. Case study presentations are approx 12 minutes and sessions are open to all attendees. Read more about EPIC case studies here and here. Case Studies are published in the open access journal EPIC Proceedings within EPIC’s online library and by Wiley-Blackwell. Here’s Sue Faulkner (Intel) presenting a case study at EPIC2017:


Go to the EPIC2018 Film Session // Film screenings and talks by their creators explore the many creative ways ethnographic practitioners have used moving images (as opposed to other visual imagery like static diagrams, infographics and photography) to interpret data, share insights, and tell the stories of their work. This session will showcase forays in visual storytelling by screening examples and discussing the limits and possibilities of the form. The film session is open to all attendees.


Go to EPIC2018 Gallery Installations // Evidence can come in written, oral, visual, or three-dimensional form. From design artifacts, interactive data visualizations, photographic collages, or even installations, the Gallery will display examples of the many possible forms of evidence. The Gallery will be open to all attendees throughout the day on Thursday, October 11, so come in any time to interact with some exciting installations!


Go to EPIC2018 Paper Sessions // Papers advance our field with new developments that emphasize the interplay between theory and practice. They expand our community’s knowledge base, reflect constructively on theoretical concerns, and/or present methodological advances. Papers are original works selected through a highly competitive double-blind peer review process conducted by an independent Papers Committee, and accepted authors review and revise drafts under the guidance of session curators. Paper presentations are approx 12 minutes and sessions are open to all attendees. Accepted papers are published in the open access journal EPIC Proceedings within EPIC’s online library and by Wiley-Blackwell. Here’s Erin Taylor (Canela Consulting) presenting a paper at EPIC2017:

Powered by PechaKucha

Go to EPIC2018 PechaKucha Sessions // PechaKucha (pronounced: “peh-cha-ku-cha”) presentations are captivating performances of 20 image-rich slides that show for 20 seconds each. They convey insights and questions that are unique and profound—offering some of the most memorable moments of the conference for EPIC attendees. PechaKucha sessions are open to all attendees. EPIC Members can watch PechaKuchas from past conferences on demand in our video library. For a taste of these stirring presentations, check out this PechaKucha presentation by Paul Ratliff:


Go to the EPIC2018 Salon Program // In Salons, smaller groups of conference attendees gather with an inspiring host to wrestle with pressing topics. Pre-registration is required—attendees have the opportunity to sign up as part of the main conference registration process. Brief readings are sometimes assigned. This year, two Salons are available on a first-come, first-serve basis—the Unconference-Style Salons, which offer attendees and opportunity to organize spontaneously around topics of interest, and the forum Embracing Diversity.


Go to the EPIC2018 Tutorials Program // Tutorials offer attendees the opportunity to expand their knowledge, skills and techniques by learning from experts in our community. Formats range from lecture and demonstration to hands-on exercises and activities. Tutorials require pre-registration—attendees have the opportunity to sign up as part of the main conference registration process. Brief reading or prep is generally required. No tutorial registration is available on site. EPIC Members can access videos from selected tutorials on demand.


Ethnographers know the value of informal and spontaneous interactions, and EPIC2018 offers many opportunities to for attendees to connect outside of the formal program of presentations:

  • Breakfast—A lovely spread will be available to attendees every morning (no extra charge). Breakfast an excellent time to mingle in a relaxed environment, break bread (or mangos) with someone unexpected, or make appointments. On October 9, tutorial participants can enjoy breakfast (8–9 am) and lunch (12–1 pm) in the beautiful Hawaii Imin International Conference Center of the East-West Center. On October 10–12, breakfast will be available to all conference attendees in the Lanai (7:30–8:30 am); lunch will be available October 10–11.
  • Welcome Reception & Sponsor Exhibition—Every year it seems like this fabulous reception just gets better. On October 9 (6–9 pm) at the beach-front Waikiki Aquarium you’ll be treated to local food by Pili—”a diverse and passionate family of cooks, educators, and community organizers”—and an open bar. You’ll meet EPIC people from 6 continents. And you’ll learn about the incredible organizations that sponsor EPIC2018—meet recruiters, demo products and services designed for researchers, and see the work these organizations are doing to advance ethnographic practice. The reception is open to all attendees.
  • Networking Lunch—On Wednesday, October 10, grab your lunch and gather with a group of EPIC people who share your interests. Sign-up sheets will be available on Wednesday morning, 8–10 am. Sign up for a topic, find the corresponding table at lunch, and meet 10 other fascinating folks who want to talk about it.
  • Conference Dinner—A key networking opportunity and a chance to experience Hawaiian food, arts, and performers. Although we’ve sold out of our discounted block of tickets, you can purchase one directly from the Starlight Luau until the venue sells out. All the info you need is here.
  • EPIC2018 Ambassadors—Need help making connections? Have a question? Not sure where or how you belong? Just want to talk to someone fascinating? These folks know the ropes and they want to strike up a conversation! Look for attendees wearing ambassador buttons and take them up on it.