“Falling Up” – Genre-busting Digital Ethnography

Every spring my Digital Ethnography students move into the Meadowlark Hills Continuing Care Retirement Community and immerse themselves in the lives and memories of their new neighbors. This year we decided to push the boundaries a little bit and use the Unreal 4 Game Engine to create a different kind of ethnography. More soon …


Associate professor of cultural anthropology. Ed Traceur. Hacker. Car-free.

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Your link was shared on facebook today by an old brilliant friend of mine, Howard Rheingold, and I was left wanting more, wanting more, wanting more after watching this quickie video tease.
    PLEASE TELL ME you are planning a long-version book form of this. I hereby agree to publish it for you, print and kindle both, at no charge to you, just for the privilege of working with you and making this available to a wide audience.

    My sister in Minnesota did a Master’s project working with elderly ladies in the Twin Cities (senior citizens and computers and the internet), and it was then (several years ago) that I got fascinated with what she did with a young woman tracking older (80s and 90s) women and the social use of internet technology… but she only just touched on your far-larger project of trans-generational sharing.

    Your teaser trailer here just makes me hop up and down smiling and wanting more. Please tell me you are working on (or at least considering) a full-length book on this project. I WANT TO HELP.


  2. Wesch says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Kelly. I do not have a book project in mind for this right now, but we do hope to build upon this. Our long term goals include creating a fully immersive “story world” that would allow people to explore the lives, stories, and experiences of Meadowlark Hills from multiple perspectives – using the UnReal “Game Engine” as an “Empathy Engine.” I will keep your thoughts in mind though, and if a book idea comes to mind, I’ll reach out to you to explore some more. Thanks!

  3. Gary says:

    I think that this is extremely interesting! I am a PhD student at Indiana University — my major is in interaction design and my minor is in cultural anthropology. I have been using anthropological methods to study a community of board game designers. As such I have also been studying games. This past semester I have been exploring the use of ethnographic video methods for my research. So it seems there are strange and interesting intersections between this project of yours and my own research. I would love to hear more about this project/class. It seems like a wonderful idea on the surface but I have questions and concerns. I understand that you are not working on a book about this but is there a paper in the works?

  4. Wesch says:

    I’ll be writing a longer blog post about it soon, which might answer some questions. Are there any particular questions or concerns you would like me to address?