Why Use Ethnorgraphy? To Generate Lessons Quickly and Continuously

When grantmakers at a large international foundation decided to go forward with a major, multiyear initiative to support artistic collaborations between performing arts groups in the United States and Latin America, Africa, and Asia, a colleague asked them, “How are you going to know what experiences the artists have in all of this process? How are you going to know how the artists are treated and what their view on things is?”

Ethnography was the answer, and it quickly became an integral component of the project, serving several purposes. “We wanted documentation that could be used to capture the qualitative dimensions,” recalled the program officer, “which were clearly the most important dimensions of this work, for the artists, for the organizations doing work, and also for the communities and audiences that were experiencing the work.”

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by GrantCraft using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Getting Inside the Story.


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