Design Ethnography Workshop

New School for Social Research: New School for Social Research

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Degree Students (with Restrictions)

Design Ethnography Workshop

Fall 2021

Taught By: Shannon Mattern

Section: A

CRN: 11839

Credits: 3

In this workshop, a part of the Anthropology and Design graduate minor, we partner with an external design organization to engage in collaborative ethnographic research. We will examine a range of design ethnographies; explore both traditional ethnographic methods and design research methods; and apply those methods in collaboratively studying a design object, site, system, process, and/or event. While our primary goal is to reflect critically on the design subject itself – asking how ideas are materialized, how expertise and power are negotiated, how collaboration is orchestrated, how communities form around design projects, and so forth – our work will also likely be applicable in informing design practice. In Fall 2021, we’re partnering with Open House New York (, an organization dedicated to educating New York residents and about through year-round events and tours, and particularly through its annual OHNY Weekend, when hundreds of city sites (many of which are typically inaccessible) are opened up to the public. This year’s OHNY Weekend takes place on October 16-17; students will need to be available this entire weekend to attend tours and events, both physical and virtual (pending pandemic restrictions). We will begin our semester by liaising with OHNY leaders, focusing in particular on the organization’s work to adapt to our new pandemic condition by designing complementary physical and virtual platforms; its collaboration with smaller, less-well-resourced and marginalized communities; and its role in racial equity and pandemic recovery. We’ll also work with some of OHNY’s local partners to observe and contribute to their own engagement with their communities through OHNY Weekend. On the Weekend itself, we’ll serve as participant-observers, enrolling in tours and events, and observing and interviewing other participants. Ultimately, we want to understand, and help OHNY understand, how it contributes to New Yorkers’ civic engagement – especially in their local neighborhoods – and how the organization could better reflect and reach New York’s diverse places and populations. Permission is required. Please fill out this form to request permission to register.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: New School for Social Research (NSSR)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 19

Add/Drop Deadline: September 13, 2021 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 21, 2021 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 12:21pm 1/24/2022 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Thursday

Times: 1:55pm - 3:45pm

Building: 6 East 16th Street

Room: 902

Date Range: 9/2/2021 - 12/16/2021