Seminar 1: Ethnographies of the possible (April 2014)

Seminar 1: Ethnographies of the possible took place at Moesgaard Museum, Aarhus University on April 10-11, 2014. Perhaps the most evident difference between design and anthropology is their respective temporal orientation. By exploring “ethnographies of the possible,” our aim is to shed light on the peculiar space betwixt and between the present(s) and the future(s), a space that is highly contested in practice, yet relatively unexplored in theoretical terms.

How do the processes through which imaginative artifacts and futures are conceived and materialized unfold? Both techniques of estrangement from the well-known and of familiarization with seemingly distant or exotic alternatives seem to be at play in these experimental moments. What characterizes the space of the possible? How do designers and anthropologists contribute to it? And what are the methodological implications of conducting ethnography in a fuzzy here-and-now, a partly fictional space that resists full articulation?

Papers and Pecha Kuchas
The working papers and PechaKuchas presented at this seminar are available here:


Joachim Halse & Laura Boffi: Design Interventions as a Form of Inquiry

Ramia Mazé: Forms and Politics of Design Futures 

Ton Otto: Imagining Possible Futures – Designing Possible Pasts? 

Elisa Giaccardi, Chris Speed & Neil Rubens: Things Making Things: An Ethnography of the Impossible

Lise Pedersen, Kasper Tang Vangkilde: Making “The Possible” Possible

Mike Anusas, Rachel Joy Harkness: Things Could be Different: Design Anthropology as Hopeful, Critical and Ecological

Brendon Clark & Melissa L. Caldwell: On the Fly, On the Wall: Eliciting Possibility from Corporate Impossibility

Thomas Binder: Design Anthropological Encounters as Laboratories of the Possible

Siobhan Magee: Human Instruments and Imagined Returns (Pecha Kucha)

Pernille V. K. Andersen: Evoking and enacting imagination of a ‘potential future’ by using the methodology of LEGO Serious Play? (Pecha Kucha)

Sissel Olander: The Possible in Research (Pecha Kucha)