Throughout the project's life-cycle, we were sharing our experiences, disseminating our research results and findings, and building the PEOPLE community at conferences, symposiums, and events.

The PEOPLE project cooperated closely with the Applied Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), the largest European network for scientists and practitioners who believe that anthropological theories, approaches, methods and skills can also be used beyond academic boundaries. We were also contributing to the annual symposium Why the World Needs Anthropologists 

“Skills for Industry: Curriculum Guidelines 4.0″

26 November 2019, Brussels, Belgium

curriculum guidelines, skills for industry, competences, PEOPLE, Erasmus+, EASME, conference, BrusselsPEOPLE project manager Gregor Cerinšek (IRI UL) participated in two out of six Expert Panels for developing curriculum guidelines in the area of key enabling technologies and advanced manufacturing technologies and was one of the speakers at the high-level final conference of the initiative. Key stakeholders and EU officials focused on a holistic approach towards curriculum design and approach, in particular, they addressed the elements that require most substantial change: strategy, collaboration learning environment, and content. The initiative has been launched by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) and its key aim is to improve the quality and relevance of existing curricula for Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT), and to promote better cooperation between industry and education and training organisations. PEOPLE project has been presented as a best practice example at two different expert workshops, one focusing on “aligning advanced manufacturing education and training with the 21st century needs” and the second one focusing on “future-proofing vocational education for manufacturing: strategy, collaboration patterns and learning environment”. Reports from both workshops can be found here and here, while the full final conference report is available here.


Why the World Needs Anthropologists: Sustaining Cities

25 - 27 October 2019, Oslo, Norway

PEOPLE project contributed to the 7th edition of Why the World Needs Anthropologists, an annual symposium of the EASA Applied Anthropology Network. Over the three days, we connected with and learned from researchers, practitioners, students, business and industry representatives, all invested in Sustaining Cities, the topic of this year’s event. In the symposiums’ workshop session, the PEOPLE team transferred their learnings on university-industry cooperation, designing and managing collaborative research and development projects in a hands-on workshop. The PEOPLE project’s workshop was convened by Marrije Prins (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Dr Sara Arko (Metronik), with the support of PEOPLE team members Maud Merrinboer, Assist Prof Dr Giulia Sinatti and Assoc Prof Dr Ellen W. Bal (all three Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). The aim of the workshop was to demonstrate how people-centred development approaches can be applied in industrial, practical and real-life settings and how anthropology can bring value to product or service design and development process. In particular, they focused on sustaining and managing interdisciplinary and cross-sector R&D teams, which was one of the key takeaways of the project’s collaborative nature. PEOPLE project’s three-hour workshop sparked a number of creative and innovative ideas, and initiated a dialogue on university-industry (or government) cooperation in research and development. We would like to thank all the participants for their active engagement and sharing the insights from the workshop on the conference’s concluding plenary session.


8th University Business Forum

24 - 25 October 2019, Brussels, Belgium

PEOPLE project manager Gregor Cerinšek (IRI UL) and industry representative Dr Sara Arko (Metronik) participated at the 8th University Business Forum (UBForum), focusing on "University-Business Cooperation - A Crucial Partnership for Innovation and Sustainable Development". UBForum was established in 2008 as a platform to encourage and improve relations between the worlds of academia and business. PEOPLE team members were speakers at one of the workshops, organised within the event on Providing learning Experiences that Enable Students to Acquire the Right Mix of Knowledge, Sklills and Competences. Research shows that short-term employment policies may indeed reduce youth unemployment, but they do not address the discrepancy between the skills young people acquire while studying and the skills they need in the workplace. As the nature of work is constantly changing, there is a growing need for staff who also have a broad range of transferable skills, such as teamwork, intercultural understanding, or creative thinking. In addition, interdisciplinary profiles are increasingly valued among employers, which are still in short supply on the labor market. Gregor and Sara presented experiences from the PEOPLE project, where we've addressed both the skills mismatch and interdisciplinarity in higher education.


Knowledge Alliances Cluster Meeting on University-Business Cooperation

23 October 2019, Brussels, Belgium

PEOPLE team members Gregor Cerinšek (IRI UL) and Dr Sara Arko (Metronik) participated at the thematic cluster meeting of the Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliances. The objectives of the meeting were to share the results and good practices of KA projects,, to identify and support possible synergies between projects, to facilitate networking and strengthen the KA community, and to discuss topics of common interest. The meeting was organized by the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC) and the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and attended by approximately 150 representatives of projects, co-funded by the EU Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliances programme. In several concurrent workshops, participants focused on specific topics, ranging from agriculture, employability, to new learning approaches - PEOPLE project manager Gregor Cerinšek moderated the workshop on sustainable economy and environment. Both PEOPLE team members shared the learning outcomes of the PEOPLE project in terms of addressing sustainability challenges through an interdisciplinary, problem-based learning approach, as well as building up a solid collaboration framework between higher education and industry partners in teaching and learning. The meeting proved a good opportunity to network with other projects within the Knowledge Coalitions, transfer good practices, as well as share other practical experiences on running Knowledge Alliance projects.


PEOPLE Co-Creation Camp symposium: "Forget About Users - Start Thinking About People!"

4 July 2019, Atrij ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana, Slovenia

As part of the PEOPLE project's 2nd Co-Creation Camp, we presented our experiences to a wider public at the Forget about users - start thinking about people! symposium, hosted by the project partner, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU). The event, dedicated to developing people-centred solutions for a sustainable future, featured exciting keynote speakers, including Prof Sarah Pink (Monash University, AU) who argued in her talk that if we wish to have an impact in the world, qualitative social scientists need to re-think how we conceptualise our disciplines and our research towards a futures-focused approach. Peter Pos, Consultant Energy Transition at Alliander (NL) explained how he came to understand that the energy transition is not so much a technological transition, as it is a social transition, and may require a fundamental redesign of the energy system as we know it. Marko Javornik (Voyego, a Comtrade company) shared his experience and vision of future mobility and mobility as a service with exciting examples of urban mobility solutions around the world. And the PEOPLE project students shared their experiences in the PEOPLE Learning cycles and presented the four case studies, in which they applied people-centred development and design approaches to real-life energy and sustainability challenges. The event concluded with a panel discussion and networking. See photos from the event here, and check the event videos!


DIGITAL DESIGN ETHNOGRAPHY: Technologies, People and Futures

14 March 2019, Melbourne, Australia

PEOPLE team members Dan Podjed and Sara Arko were speaking at the Digital Design Ethnography symposium, organised by the Emerging Technologies Lab @ Monash University, Australia, joining a fabulous team of internationally leading academic and industry researchers Sarah Pink (Monash University), Deborah Lupton (UNSW), Vaike Fors (Halmstad University), Robert Brostrom (Volvo Cars and Halmstad University), and Annie Rydstrom (Volvo Cars).

How can we create new understandings, shape and inform technology research and innovation by bringing together social sciences and design methodologies? In a contemporary environment of emerging technologies and data there is a growing need for social scientists to produce new understandings and insights into how this is playing out in the present and the implications for possible futures. Yet this involves going beyond the conventions of social science as we know it, to develop collaborations with design disciplines and beyond. The speakers discussed new interdisciplinary research methodologies and fields of practice developed for understanding the design and use of digital and emerging technologies, and new modes of academic-industry collaboration that are growing in this dynamic interdisciplinary field of scholarship, research and practice.

Read our short report on the event here.



30 - 31 January 2019, Birmingham, UK

The PEOPLE project was represented at the HE Academy STEM Teaching and Learning Conference in Birmingham. In pedagogical literature, expectations around innovation in education entail demands on curricular development and the delivery of teaching and learning objectives: an ideal education setting is often imagined as one in which teacher and student alike are engaged with the construction and revision of bodies of knowledge (Martin 2008, 302). Our workshop broadened the scope to include industry and community partners in the learning process alongside teachers and students. The workshop included a critical discussion of knowledge exchange across industry and academia – recognising how knowledge is co-constructed by students, teachers and industry partners in an “intersubjective dialogue of shared meanings” (Light, G., R. Cox and S. Calkins 2009, 30). It highlighted the critical aspects of knowledge creation, beyond social dialogue.



DESIGNING FUTURE ENERGY POLICIES: Social sciences and humanities to accelerate the energy transitions

22 January 2019, Brussels (BE)

PEOPLE team member Prof Simone Abram was one of the speakers at the SHAPE ENERGY end of project conference, which underlined how crucial social and humanities research is to accelerating the decarbonisation of our economy and making a real dent in climate change. Energy policies cannot fulfil their maximum potential if the knowledge stemming from social sciences and humanities research is not factored into the decision-making process. Citizens should be at the core of all policies – including those to do with energy. The conference was a call for action to all stakeholders to support further the integration of social sciences and humanities research within the design, evaluation and implementation of future energy policies.  It also provided concrete recommendations on how to advance and better design future European energy policies in the context of the upcoming research and innovation framework: Horizon Europe.

Simone Abram participated in the Cities as catalysts for transformation in the energy transition session, highlighting that the key issue was knowing how to work together and achieve a more people-centred approach. “We need to push energy confidence in cities to use skills, knowledge and networks. Universities, local authorities and hospitals are the major employers in cities, so if they don’t work together we will not achieve any solutions.”



5 - 6 November 2018, Eindhoven (NL)

PEOPLE team member, Dr Dan Podjed was one of the keynote speakers at the Retrofit Europe! conference, taking place in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

The SBE Conference series is considered as the pre-eminent international conference on sustainable building and construction. The main theme of the conference was: ‘Retrofitting 250 million homes to 0-energy performance housing in Europe’. The conference started and ended with round table debates on ‘How to get 250 million houses performing net zero energy, within CO2 budgets available under the 2-degree scenario’.  In plenary, the attendees had the opportunity to discuss and learn more about different retrofit concepts and application in several climate zones.

The theme of Dan's keynote was "Forget about your customers, clients and users – start thinking about people!"



26 - 27 October 2018, Lisbon, Portugal

PEOPLE project continues the partnership with the EASA Applied Anthropology Network for the second year in a row!  On 26 and 27 October 2018, we were in Lisbon with 400 applied anthropologists, designers, and other experts and practitioners who were designing the future at the 6th Why the World Needs Anthropologists international symposium.  All attendees received the latest, 5th issue of the PEOPLE Newsletter in their registration bags!

Aptly titled Designing the Future, this year's event focused on design anthropology, its methods, practical applications, and its potential for framing the future of humanity around the world. Four fabulous keynote speakers were lined up and explored human-centred design and design thinking with an emphasis on the value of ethnography in these type of processes and techniques. The event brought together researchers, designers, and developers from various domains, creating an enriched discussion, facilitating collaborations, innovation momentum, and providing a networking platform for new job opportunities.

Why the World Needs Anthropologists 2018 registration desk, 26 October 2018, Lisbon

Keynote speakers were:

  • JOSÉ MANUEL DOS SANTOS (Head of Design and User Experience at Philips Lighting)
  • SARAH PINK (Distinguished Professor at RMIT University)
  • JAMER HUNT (Vice Provost for Transdisciplinary Initiatives at The New School)
  • ANNA KIRAH (Managing Director at Design Without Borders)

Detailed programme with all speakers, workshops, and fringe events is available on the event website.




ASA, 2018, conference, Simone Abram, meter, people-centred design, people-centred development, anthropology, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK & CommonwealthThe PEOPLE Project participated in the Conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists in the UK and the Commonwealth, which took place in Oxford on the 18 - 21 September 2018. Together with Dr Hannah Knox from University College London, PEOPLE team members Prof Simone Abram and Dr Maria Salaru created a lab titled People-Centred Development: what is a meter?: an interactive, collaborative session in which participants used a wide variety of meters in a structured conversation about ecologies of metering.

 The lab explored how anthropology can contribute to the conditions of everyday life. It aimed to rethink the design of infrastructural objects, highlighting the conditions that they impose on the everyday, and repositioning the ‘user’ through people-centred design.

Participants were invited to interact with various meters (thermometers, chronometers, optic power meters, sonic sound recorders, angle meters, etc.) as prompts towards taking a people-centred approach to re-conceptualisation and re-design of ‘metering’. This participative lab was fun and thought-provoking, providing the PEOPLE project with a novel perspective on different individual/community understandings of the potential of metering.




Behave 2018, logo, Zurich, Switzerland

5 - 7 September 2018, Zurich, Switzerland

PEOPLE project, Behave 2018, conference, Dan Podjed, people-centred, energy efficiency, buildings

PEOPLE  team was presenting at this year's BEHAVE conference in Zurich. Behave aims to facilitate the exchange of knowledge on sustainable energy behaviour in transport, buildings and consumption of goods as well as the individual and social acceptance of sustainable technologies (e.g. renewables). In particular, the conference should act as a platform to share multi-disciplinary research on new technological developments and best practices concerning understanding and influencing energy-related behaviours.

PEOPLE participated at Behave 2018 with a paper on INTERDISCIPLINARY PEOPLE-CENTRED APPROACHES TO UNDERSTANDING AND IMPROVING ENERGY INFORMATION SYSTEMS IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS. The paper was co-authored by five members of the Slovenian PEOPLE team: Sara Arko (Metronik), Gregor Cerinšek (IRI UL), Dan Podjed (ZRC SAZU), Ajda Pretnar (FRI UL and PEOPLE student team member), and Jure Vetršek (IRI UL). They presented an interdisciplinary people-centred research approach to energy-related behaviour and an energy information system through a case study conducted as part of the PEOPLE project in a building of the University of Ljubljana.

 Find the full conference schedule in PDF here.


Stockholm, Sweden, 14 - 17 August 2018

EASA 2018, anthropology, Dan Podjed, PEOPLE project, conference, paper, people-centred approaches, Erasmus+

PEOPLE project was presented at the 15th biennial conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. Dan Podjed (ZRC SAZU) and Ajda Pretnar (FRI UL and PEOPLE project Learning Cycle 1 student) participated in the conference with their paper Making Sense of Sensors, in the panel Anthropology and Emerging Technologies. They presented the PEOPLE project and the findings of the Slovenian PEOPLE case study on energy information system installed at two of the buildings of the University of Ljubljana. (Read more about the case study here.)




Ljubljana, Slovenia, 31 May 2018

Ethnography 2.0, symposium, University of Ljubljana, interdisciplinarity, anthropology, data, digital anthropology, data mining, data ethnography

What do terms such as data mining, or big data and artificial intelligence mean to anthropologists and social scientists in general? And what has ethnography got to do with it? We looked into these (and other) questions at the symposium Ethnography 2.0: New Approaches to Understanding Ways of Life. The event was organised at the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana on 31 May 2018 and supported by the PEOPLE project.

Two members of the Slovenian PEOPLE team were presenting at the conference. Dr Dan Podjed (ZRC SAZU) presented the PEOPLE project and other interdisciplinary projects, in which he has been working as an anthropologist among natural scientists and engineers. Dan discussed how anthropological methods are often transformed and adapted in interdisciplinary contexts. Ajda Pretnar is participating in PEOPLE's 1st Learning Cycle as a PhD student in anthropology, and she is also a researcher at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science, Bioinformatics Laboratory. She defined concepts such as data ethnography, digital anthropology and computational anthropology and presented the possibilities of using machine learning and data mining in anthropology, drawing on her research on uncovering behavioural pattering from sensor data in a smart building (see also Slovenian case study). Read our full report from the symposium here.



Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 3 - 7 April 2018

Three members of the PEOPLE project team attended the 78th annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, which took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There were 255 sessions, 11 workshops, 24 films and 8 tours, attended by 1,400 registrants from 34 countries. The theme of this year's meeting was Sustainable Futures.

PEOPLE team member Dan Podjed (ZRC SAZU) was chairing the Building the Global Future of Applied Anthropology: Europe Meets America roundtable. What was our goal? Internationally, applied anthropologists live and work in separate worlds, defined by their continental or national activities. However, it is time to start working together to address the world’s political, environmental, and economic problems that cannot be solved only locally, such as poverty, climate change, racism and migrations. This roundtable, with representatives of several national and international associations and institutions, attempted to take a step in the direction of eliminating existing borders between applied anthropologies. It established new connections between American and European anthropologists and invites other experts to join a debate on collaborations of global East and West, North and South.

PEOPLE team members presented the project's approach, aim, goals, and the first results to an international audience, shared the consortium's experiences and looked for opportunities to connect and collaborate on a global scale. Participants at the roundtable were: Laurie KRIEGER (Manoff Group), Riall NOLAN (Purdue U), Edward LIEBOW (AAA), Lenora BOHREN (CO State U), Tatiana BAJUK SENČAR (ZRC SAZU & PEOPLE),  Sara ARKO (Metronik & PEOPLE), and Meta GORUP (Ghent U & EASA).



Durham, United Kingdom, 28 - 29 October 2017

The 5th international symposium Why the World Needs Anthropologists took place on 28 and 29 October 2017 at Durham University, Durham, UK.

The theme of the symposium was POWERING THE PLANET and we explored the questions of energy as an indispensable part of our domestic and working lives and the role of anthropology in the development of smart and sustainable energy systems that are environmentally responsible and people-friendly.

PEOPLE project was part of the symposium’s networking event Energy Hotspot. We presented our flyer and the second issue of the PEOPLE Newsletter, both hot off the press. As an introduction to the panel discussion with the speakers, we screened our new animated video and presented the PEOPLE approach and goals to the audience. We also brought the event online and worldwide by hosting the event’s live stream, now shared as five separate videos! Read more about our participation at the 2017 symposium here.

PEOPLE Flyer, PEOPLE Newsletter, Why the World Needs Anthropologists

The symposium brought together speakers from the academia, industry, and in-between, who gave their talks on the first day of the event. BENJ SYKES (UK Country Manager and Head of Programme Asset Management in DONG Energy's Offshore Wind Power) talked about the role of communities in the future of energy production and how engineers might work with social scientists on the introduction of new energy technologies. TANJA WINTHER (Associate Professor at Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo) drew on her experiences to explore what role could or should be played by anthropologists in the search for solutions to the energy dilemma – provision of modern energy for all and sustainable production and consumption. In her talk on the development of solar energy, SOPHIE BOULY DE LESDAIN (Expert Researcher at Electricité de France, EDF) has shown how anthropology provides insight into the issues involved in the installation of Photovoltaic by the locals. And in her talk on Empowering Infrastructures: Water, Steel and StoneVERONICA STRANG (Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University) shared her insights into the ‘power of materials’.

The second day of the event included workshops on energy and careers related topics, delivered by anthropologists, practitioners, and NGOs. (Find the full programme here.)

ENERGY IMPACTS: People, Responsibilities and the Contested Futures of Energy Developments (2017)

Bergen, Norway, 28 February - 2 March 2017

PEOPLE project, Erasmus+, Knowledge Alliances, Bergen, Norway, Energy Impacts, conference, presentationFrom 28 February to 2 March 2017 the University of Bergen in Norway organised a world-wide conference titled Energy impacts: People, Responsibilities and the Contested Futures of Energy Developments.  Social scientists worldwide are engaged in research, policy-making and grassroots action that aims to highlight the social, health, environmental and political impacts related to energy developments. The aim of the conference was to discuss issues pertaining to the social impacts of an accelerated pace and intensity of resource extraction and energy developments on an expanding scale.

PEOPLE project had the opportunity to present its concept, case studies and some preliminary results to the community of different scientist (e.g. anthropologists, geographers, geologists, sociologists), all involved in energy-related research. In addition, PEOPLE project joined the Energy Anthropology Network that brings together anthropologists concerned with energy research, to coordinate and consolidate debates about energies, and to support new anthropological approaches to energy questions

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