The 14th Annual Ethnography Symposium took place at the University of Portsmouth from 28 – 30 August 2019. The Faculty of Business and Law and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Portsmouth hosted the event.

The social world we study has changed in many ways and so does how we practice ethnography. While the principles of long-term immersion in the field, systematic observation and writing detailed fieldnotes remain at the heart of ethnographic research, a lot has changed around the definition of the ‘field’, the focus of the research, the style of writing, and the mode of communication.

The 2019 Ethnography Symposium brought together ethnographers in different disciplines who engage in wide forms of ethnographic research. The symposium highlighted the richness and diversity of ethnographic methods.

Conference co-chairs:

  • Dr Hamid Foroughi, University of Portsmouth
  • Dr Sarah Charman, University of Portsmouth, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Dr Mike Rowe, University of Liverpool

Keynote speakers:

  • Dr Harriet Shortt, University of the West of England
  • Dr David Calvey, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Professor Paul Atkinson, University of Cardiff


Best paper

The 2019 Best Paper Ward was co-sponsored by Emerald Publishing and went to Abigail Schoneboom and Jason Slade for their paper titled Question your Teaspoons.

PhD Presentation awards

Kyla Wicks, Jonny Briggs, Joanne Vincett and Akash Puranik won £200 each for their PhD presentations.


Ethnographers have embraced new ways in how they explore social phenomena and how they communicate their research. This involves an increased awareness of the importance of utilising a wide range of senses  beyond observation  to navigate ethnographic research and explore hidden aspects of social life (e.g. ‘deep story’). Ethnographers are also increasingly utilising a range of communicative resources in their work – including recorded sound, still and moving images, as well as speech and writing (e.g. multi-modal ethnography). Further, some other researchers work on the olfactory as well as the visual and auditory aspects through ethnography. More recently, researchers have adapted ethnographic methods to the study of communities and cultures created through computer-mediated social interactions (whether as virtual ethnography or netnography and even auto netnography). There is a clear recognition that multisensory experience and advanced technology have changed the way we understand and research everyday life.