Design Anthropology

Design Anthropology is a growing field that integrates and applies anthropological insights with design interventions as a new line of critical inquiry into emergent and transient "potentialities" that arise out of the performance of design events organized to be situated within lived contexts and engaged with existing practices. 

As a cross-disciplinary, collaborative, and still nascent field, the objective of this group is to raise public awareness of the field of Design Anthropology by organizing and making resources more accessible to those across a broad range of fields in order to: 

1. Establish and explore how Design Anthropology fits into or supplements the existing practices and objectives of design, IT, and other fields. 

2. Open up a dialogue between designers, engineers, anthropologists and potential clients leading to greater participation, adoption, and even new collaborative partnerships.

Members: 16
Latest Activity: Oct 25, 2016

Discussion Forum

What Is Design Anthropology You Ask?

Design anthropology is a newly emerging field that integrates the strengths of design thinking and anthropological research in order to inform and critique design work in the making. While it has…Continue

Started by Brandon Meyer Dec 4, 2015.

Personal Introduction

I have been a member of the Open Anthropology Cooperative ever since reading a reference to it in the book, …Continue

Started by Brandon Meyer Feb 25, 2014.

Loading… Loading feed

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Design Anthropology to add comments!

Comment by Anastasia Gidt on April 1, 2016 at 2:43pm

@Nancy, thank you so much for replying and the video linkI know this video. It actually reminded me of the article that I am now searching (still without success). I was not aware of the AnthroDesign list. That's a great help! Huge thanks

Comment by Nancy Fried Foster on March 29, 2016 at 9:32pm

Don't recognize that article, Anastasia, but you are likely to get help on the AnthroDesign list if you don't get it here. Also, you might enjoy a recent Vox video about poorly designed doors: When you do find the article, please post info!

Comment by Anastasia Gidt on March 29, 2016 at 9:20pm

Hey there, I am not sure whether this is the right place to post, but here I go. I am facing a dilemma where I remember a text but not the author. Maybe one of you can help me remember the source. The text is on the subject of design anthropology or anthropology of material culture. In the text the author describes how an anthropologist would approach the study of design objects by using the example of a door in her/his university department. If I remember correctly, it was how by looking at the design of an object, you can tell about the social relations in which the object is embedded (The said door had a pin which separated students from staff. I also clearly remember the article carried an image of said pin door). Does anyone of you know which article I am talking about? do you remember the name of author or where I might find the article? It is not Jim Johnson aka Bruno Latour, and not Don Norman's door. Any help is greatly appreaciated!

Comment by Brandon Meyer on December 12, 2015 at 5:57pm

Most importantly, in this group I hope to stress that you don't have to feel intimidated when asking questions or to feel that you even have to present yourself as some brilliant scholar on the subject. The kinds of people that I hope to encourage to participate include designers, techies, hobbyists, students, and even maybe some PhD's :) because everyone can learn from an interaction between the various points in the spectrum of knowledge, considered in both its breadth and type.

Just consider for a moment what an elevator pitch for design anthropology by a PhD to a successful entrepreneur with an associates degree or a designer with paint on his fingers might go like! If you are that successful entrepreneur or super creative type, I want this to be the place to challenge those intellectual-type anthropologists to argue the case for adopting design anthropology into your processes without them coming off as an esoteric highbrow snob! On the other hand, if you are that highbrow snob I want this to be the place where you learn what the needs and expectations of business and designers are.

Comment by Brandon Meyer on December 4, 2015 at 5:30pm

I have scaled back this group in order to utilize some of my work and writings previously posted here towards a more personal, localized project that I've begun working on. I have also reoriented this groups description and mission statement to better fit it within the larger design anthropology community, my idea is to emphasize this group as a more open and jovial meeting place for the "uninitiated" masses. The larger goal is to promote design anthropology as a useful business practice and field of knowledge to all those who are interested but who are also discouraged by the air of intellectualism and coterie that seems to form in the communications between design anthropologists in other forums. Hopefully this group can find a nice balance between inclusion and intellectual stimulation.

Comment by Brandon Meyer on October 2, 2015 at 3:43pm

*Draft EPIC 2015 Proceedings* are now available for download! You can follow the action whether you're attending or not on twitter @epicpeople_org and #epicpeople also be sure to check the conference website, for updates from Brazil.

Comment by Brandon Meyer on July 31, 2015 at 7:53pm

In a continuation of my brazenness as a mere university student of anthropology I have created a design anthropology group at linkedin with much the same objective as this group: to raise public awareness by inviting designers, engineers, anthropologists and their potential clients to participate in group discussions and maybe even form new collaborative partnerships. Realizing that shared objective, this group is now also being associated as the url for the LinkedIn group and the "logo" has been updated to reflect that association. I invite everyone here to join the new Design Anthropology LinkedIn group and to begin making contributions and connections - I believe that my position in all of this is to merely open it up for others to make what they will of it.

Comment by Brandon Meyer on June 26, 2015 at 10:17pm

Digital Alchemy: Transforming Data into Poetry by Giles Lane

"Our project, Lifestreams, proposed a novel way of thinking about the nature of biosensor data and its relationship to how we live our lives. We sought to move beyond the simple graphs and number counting that pervades so much of the ‘quantified self’ meme towards the poetic and numinous; to capture something of the epic in everyday life. Our aim was to transform our relationships to digital data from the ephemeral of screens and interfaces into something that encompassed the tactile and material producing a more subconsciously emotive and emotional experience – an artefact or Lifecharm.

Comment by Brandon Meyer on March 22, 2015 at 4:31pm

The famous design consulting firm, IDEO, is launching a new series of classes that will teach students the same methods of innovation, research and development of ideas that they employ in their projects. The courses will be video-based and are going to cost $399 each. I have always had reservations about these kinds of costly, unaccredited, fleeting online courses. It seems like the lack of depth and recognition of these kinds of things only make them attractive to those with a passing or curious interest - unless of course they are required by an employer - but the cost of some of these make them nearly nonsensical - again, unless they are paid for by an employer. What do you guys think?

Comment by Brandon Meyer on December 23, 2014 at 10:54pm

Diagrams in Anthropology: Lines and Interactions by Tristan Partridge

"The ongoing use of diagrams in anthropology has its roots in the emergence of the discipline itself. Ever since the work of Malinowski and a number of notable predecessors, diagrams (along with maps) have become a customary feature of ethnographic monographs – with some more standardised and familiar than others. A two-dimensional, often schematic, arrangement of lines drawn to show the organisation, appearance, arrangement, mechanisms or interactions within an area or action of analysis, the diagram has appeared in many different forms.This introductory review focuses first on two particular kinds: those used to convey information regarding kinship, and those depicting different forms of exchange."



OAC Press



© 2019   Created by Keith Hart.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service