2020 Forum Theme: Partnerships for Change


The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the Center for Urban Ethnography will celebrate the 41st convening of the Ethnography in Education Research Forum, one of the most longstanding and renowned scholarly venues for this intellectual tradition, on February 21 and 22, 2020. This year's theme, "Ethnography in Education: Partnerships for Change", highlights research partnerships as pivotal to understanding the critical dimensions of context, cultures, and social practices. At once, research partnerships adhere to the ethical standards of scientific inquiry but also challenge traditionally established operating procedures that reinforce power asymmetries. Partnerships foreground the central role of relationships between researcher and communities, and are based on collaborative, co-constructed approaches to inquiry, which inform all aspects of the research process. There is compelling evidence of the promise of partnerships-to enhance cultural and linguistic sensitivity, draw on different sources of wisdom, build upon local knowledge, and eliminate barriers that reduce reciprocity. Through the multiple forms they may take, research partnerships aim to embrace the diversity of participants in the work of research-not restricted to intervention but open to expanding the imagination and creating new dialogues and technologies that can lead to meaningful change. 

We welcome research submissions that push the field's thinking about approaches that enhance how we interpret the role of ethnography, how we partner with communities and build relationships, and how we respond to potential methodological and ethical dilemmas. Presentations should consider the wide range of ethnographic-focused inquiry with an eye toward the ways in which partnerships serve as conceptual and methodological assets that help us imagine possibilities to effect educational and social change.