The pop-up ethnographer: roles of the researcher in temporary spaces

Deborah Maxwell, Mel Woods, Suzanne Prior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


As our lived reality becomes ever more mobile and networked, so society and business has adopted cultures and practices to embrace the creation of temporary interstitial ‘pop-up’ environments. These spaces, which can take the form of work environments (e.g. NESTA’s ‘Productive Coffee Breaks), training (e.g. workshops), knowledge exchange (e.g. sandpits, culture hacks), and social environments (e.g. festivals) require us to examine the role of the temporal ethnographer. Our paper explores the changing and challenging roles that researchers must adopt and move between (from organiser, facilitator, participant, observer, and analyst) by examining four empirical case studies in a range of research contexts. Furthermore we consider how short-term studies in such temporary, ‘pop-up’ environments can contribute to and be enriched by ethnographic practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-215
Number of pages16
JournalEthnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

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