Reading: A Journey © 2005 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Donald Gensler. Used by permission.

This year, Penn GSE's Ethnography Forum will be combining with CAMRA's Screening Scholarship Media Festival and Penn's Experimental Ethnography for a student-lead collaboration. Inspired by the “unconference” movement, this year’s meeting will focus on innovative media and formats; creative collaboration; peer-to-peer dialogues; and intimate conversations with key scholars, educators, performers and activists. 

Although the "EthnoFest" this year will be free to all, in order to facilitate meaningful and substantive conversations, there will be space for only 100 attendees. Those who wish to participate in this dialogue about the future of the Forum are encouraged to register as soon as possible and reserve a seat. 

Although it is expected grow and evolve as an event, the Forum will have open submission and attendance in 2019. 

A Sneak-Peek at EthnoFest 2018

The meeting will be held during the weekend of February 23-24, 2018 and will center around the theme: Whose Knowledge Counts? Research and Practice in Critical Times. Invited sessions will be uniquely structured to allow a conversation about both substantive domains, and how the “EthnoFest” can best provide a space for nurturing future scholars, practitioners, activists, educators, students, filmmakers and community partners. 

As there are only 100 open seats for attendance this year, participants are encouraged to participate in the full range of innovative activities on both days. Emerging details about the programming will be updated here.


Friday, February 23

  • Film Screening: Because of the War. 
  • Conversation with the Filmmaker and Artists: Youth, Precarity and Performance
  • Reception with the Artists and Conference Organizers

Saturday, February 24

  • Breakfast Conversations: Politics of Positionality and Power in Research
  • Breakout Dialogues: Locating the Activist in Academia
  • Teen Performance/Exhibit: Autoethnography and Multimodality: Youth Perspectives in Critical Times [featuring MoCAT]
  • Keynote: Arianna Mangual Figueroa
  • Panel: Ethics and Equity in Educational Research
  • Facilitated Workgroup: Humanizing Big Data, Evaluation and Assessment
  • Conference Reception
  • Facilitated Discussion: Is this a conference?
  • Conference Dinner


Conference Fast Facts

Important Legacies and New Directions

This year is the 39th anniversary of the Ethnography in Education Research Forum.  A great deal has changed in the field of educational ethnography as well as in the world since the Forum was first created.  At that time, the Forum provided a unique and vital venue for ethnographers in education to come together to nurture what was then a fledgling field within education.  Since then, ethnographic research has become firmly established and well-respected within education as well as many other fields of study. And the Forum has been joined by numerous conferences on education and ethnography held each year across the globe.


So, as we approach our 40th anniversary, it seems like an opportune moment to reflect on where we have been and directions we might take in the future.  To provide an opportunity for this, we have decided to do something a bit different for just one year.  We are organizing an alternative Ethnography Forum in collaboration with another student group at Penn closely associated with the Forum, CAMRA (the Collective for Advancing Multimodal Research Arts).

At this year’s gathering, we will consider together how the Forum and CAMRA can continue to nurture creative socially-engaged ethnographic work among a new generation of scholars, practitioners, activists, students, filmmakers, and community partners.

We will not be circulating a call for paper proposals this year and will provide more specific information about the dates and plans for this year’s Forum in the coming weeks. To be clear, we will not be accepting submissions for proposed papers or panels for 2018.

The traditional Annual Ethnography in Education Research Forum/Practitioner Inquiry Day will resume in spring 2019.  A call for papers will be circulated and posted on this website in summer 2018.

Conference Leadership Team


Kathy Hall
Associate Professor 

2018 Student Coordinator

Jasmine Blanks Jones

2018 Planning Committee

OreOluwa Badaki, Osei Alleyne, Gordon "Dee" Asaah, Carmen Delgado, Jessica Peng, Rachael Stephens, Bethany Monea, Nora Gross, Tali Rosen, Marisa Gonzalez

Administrative Assistant

Suzanne Oh

Practitioner Inquiry Convenor

H. Gerald Campano
Associate Professor

In the Spirit of an Unconference

We aim to create more democratic dialogue with the recognition and appreciation for the deep knowledge each participant brings to our discussion.  Therefore, we ask that you join with us in opening up the space by flattening differences that can hinder the flow of conversation.  These are just a few ideas, but they should change based on who is in the room!

Social Locations

Each session will have a variety of panelists including an academic, a community practitioner or activist, and an artist or multimodal specialist.

Open Seat and Audience Participation

Each session will have an Open Seat intended for an audience member to join the main discussion at any time.  Other forms of audience participation will be experimental.

Name Badges

At registration, you will notice that name badges only list names, not affiliations, ranks or titles.

About the Forum

The Ethnography in Education Research Forum, convened by the Center for Urban Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) every year since 1980, is the largest annual meeting of qualitative researchers in education. The Forum excels in nurturing ethnographic research and researchers in schools. The Forum is known for its friendly and supportive atmosphere for fledgling researchers and for the spirit of relaxed and open dialogue embracing newcomers and experienced researchers alike. Areas of emphasis include: multicultural issues in education, practitioner/teacher/action research, critical and feminist ethnography, ethnographic evaluation in education, language issues in education, uses of ethnography in math and science, and indigenous language revitalization.

About Practitioner Inquiry Day

Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan L. Lytle –both assistant professors at Penn GSE at the time – initiated practitioner Inquiry Day in 1987 in response to the burgeoning U.S. and international interest in teacher research, action research, critical action research, and participatory research. From the beginning, the intent of Practitioner Inquiry Day was to provide a space for educators to share their research in various formats, including papers, symposia, data sessions, informal group discussions, and more.


Center for Urban Ethnography

University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6216