ISSR Methodology Workshop | Ethnographic / Engaged / and Visual Methods

Rainbow colored Kaleidos logo on black background
Tuesday, April 4, 2023 - 11:15am to 12:45pm
ILC N111 | UMass Amherst


Join Maka Suárez and Jorge Núñez – Founding Directors of Kaleidos, the Center for Interdisciplinary Ethnography at the Universidad de Cuenca, Ecuador – for a workshop focused on innovating across research forms.

  • Want to collaborate on an ethnographic project? Want to better visualize your data? Want to confront the ethical problems in your engagements head on? 
  • Bring your own research designs for workshopping! Bring problems you’ve faced in the field for discussion! Be ready to learn and push your thinking and doing into new realms! 

This workshop is targeted to those who have a research project underway or otherwise available for reflection.  

Maka Suárez (PhD in Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London) works in the fields of economic, political, and medical anthropology. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oslo in Norway and a former fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. For the past decade, Dr. Suárez has been researching how disadvantaged families in Spain and Ecuador fare in the housing market. Her book manuscript, solicited by Duke University Press and entitled After Debt: Transnational Household Infrastructures and the Politics of Speculation, is an ethnography of Ecuadorian migrants in Barcelona in which she explores the contradictions faced by people who migrate to improve their living conditions but find themselves constantly underemployed, over-indebted, and striving to be part of an increasingly ephemeral global middle class. Her documentation of predatory lending and the creative (and effective) social organizing of migrants in Spain against indebtedness and precarity provides a unique approach to engage critically the financialization of global migration and the potential for democratic transformation. 

Jorge Núñez (PhD in Anthropology, University of California, Davis) works in the fields of political, economic, and visual anthropology. He is a visiting scholar at the Center for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo and co-founder of Kaleidos at the University of Cuenca. Jorge is co-director and lead designer of two multimodal ethnographic platforms: EthnoData and Prison Observatory 593. His book manuscript, solicited by Duke University Press, supported by a Wenner-Gren Foundation Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, and entitled Austere Demos: The Political Life of a Market in Public Debt, investigates how everyday households invested in the pro-independence movement became bondholders of the Catalan government after the 2009 Eurozone crisis. He has written and produced three ethnographic films. One of them is publicly available in Spanish with English subtitles as ‘El Panóptico Ciego’. He is currently working on a documentary about a space station built by NASA as part of the first U.S. global satellite tracking network. This documentary is part of a broader research project entitled Remote Sensing Markets: The Assetization of Nature from Outer Space.    

Together, Suárez and Núñez have pioneered experimental ethnographic work through a series of projects. They are the cofounders of Kaleidos – an experimental academic infrastructure in the Global South that hosts interdisciplinary ethnographic engagement and produces grounded theory at the intersections of anthropology and science and technology studies. They also worked together on, a study of violent deaths, hate crimes, femicides, missing people, and prison life in Ecuador. This is a multimodal and multimedia platform that allows users to collaboratively create their own theorizations and stories of violence by sharing a wide variety of datasets, including official statistics, news archives, curated images, videos and soundscapes, and diverse ethnographic materials. Additional projects include their Map Against State Repression and Brutality, which they built in collaboration with social movements and human rights organizations during the 2022 General Strike, and the Prison Observatory, which they are putting tougher with the families of inmates killed while incarcerated. (See also  All these projects and more aim to produce ethnographic and quantitative data through collaborations that politicize processes of knowledge production from a decolonial perspective. 

Please see two short articles as further introduction to thei work