Successful PhD Workshop on Urban Ethnography

IMG_0222The PhD workshop on Urban Ethnography, organised by the Transnational Families research theme of MACIMIDE, was held at FASoS on 30th and 31st May 2016.

Against all odds (transport strikes in Belgium and multiple railway works in the Netherlands during those days), 9 PhD researchers and 4 international experts from the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK were able to take part.

During the two-day workshop, participants discussed the ethical and methodological concerns they encountered during their ethnographic fieldwork in urban settings as diverse as: Kingston Jamaica, Medellin Colombia, Quito Ecuador, Miami, Jerusalem, Amsterdam or Nairobi. The blurry boundaries between private and public life in the field, the “addiction” to go back into the field, and the “depth vs. breadth” dilemmas of multi-sited fieldwork, were some of the issues discussed. The workshop was organized using innovative techniques allowing the sharing of challenges and strategies to overcome them amongst the young researchers and experts and to learn from each other’s experiences.

As part of the workshop, the film “Our City” was screened, followed by a discussion with the director, Maria Tarantino. The discussion touched upon issues related not only to the filming of the movie, but also about the challenges of capturing meaningful moments of people’s lives in a city as diverse as Brussels.

The workshop appealed so much to participants that plans were made for a follow-up workshop hosted at one of the other participating European universities next academic year.