The Ethnography Lab is pleased to announce that Jessika Tremblay, PhD Candidate in the University of Toronto Department of Anthropology, has been awarded a Faculty of Arts and Science Germany/Europe Fund award to lead a partnership building project with the Georg-Simmel-Centre for Metropolitan Studies in the summer of 2016. Jessika will be traveling to Germany with Lukas Ley, also a PhD Candidate in anthropology, to meet with Carolin Genz, a PhD Candidate in anthropology at Humboldt University, to start building institutional links between two departments that are interested in fostering an international network of labs dedicated to spreading the value of ethnographic and qualitative urban research.
The University of Toronto Ethnography Lab, located in the Department of Anthropology, will conduct an exchange activity with anthropology students from Humboldt University in Berlin. Established in 2014, the Ethnography Lab is a growing center that promotes ethnographic research methods and practice within the university and outside academia, with a focus on urban areas. The proposed activity builds on a partnership with Humboldt University’s Georg-Simmel-Centre for Metropolitan Studies that was initiated last year by U of T graduate student Lukas Ley. In the first stage, two graduate students and one faculty member from the U of T will travel to Germany for one week to conduct a series of lectures, seminars, and research workshops with a select group of anthropology students and faculty from Humboldt University. In the second stage, two graduate students from Humboldt University will be invited to spend one week in Toronto to learn first hand the workings of the Ethnography lab, and to participate in an ongoing ethnographic research project in Toronto’s Kensington Market.
There are two planned outcomes for this activity. First, Humboldt University will develop a Transnational Ethnography Lab (TEL) in Berlin on the basis of the knowledge the German students will gain from participating in the exchange activities. This will provide the German partners with a center through which to promote ethnographic methods in the study of urban and metropolitan areas and increase its relevance in science and policy-making. Second, the partnership will allow the Ethnography Lab to generate international outreach and research co-operation with one of the key metropolitan research centers in Europe. This will be the first step in the lab’s long-term objective to create an international network of centers and organizations dedicated to promoting urban ethnography as a valuable research method beyond anthropology. The Ethnography Lab will benefit from learning different approaches to urban research that can be applied to a study the lab is conducting in Kensington Market, and all participants will gain from new research and teaching experiences and a lasting international partnership.
The Georg-Simmel-Centre for Metropolitan Studies is unique in its transdisciplinary approach to urban studies, while the Ethnography Lab is innovative in its focus on extending ethnography beyond disciplinary and academic confines. The exchange activities will provide both graduate and undergraduate students at either institution with opportunities to engage with new ways of thinking about how ethnography fits into the world of urban research. Graduate students will have the chance to professionalize by applying teaching and research skills in an international setting. While only graduate students will be conducting the exchanges, the lectures, workshops, and seminars will be open to larger groups, including undergraduates and faculty, who will benefit from this unprecedented exchange of ideas.
The Ethnography Lab is unique at the University of Toronto St. George campus for offering students the opportunity to conduct ethnography in campus-bordering communities and spaces. By creating an offshoot in Germany, the Ethnography Lab will open the University of Toronto to a global network of urban researchers with innovative outlooks on how to integrate academic research into applied environments. Very few academic activities create viable perspectives on how the university should influence and coexist with its urban environment. Establishing the Ethnography Lab in Germany will foster joint ethnographic research that will explore possibilities for creating research that really matters.
The Ethnography Lab wishes to thank the Faculty of Arts and Science Germany/Europe Fund for its generous support for this project. We will update the website with news about the project once it is under way.