In honor of World Anthropology Day (Feb. 18, 2016), I wanted to illustrate what a day of work is like when I’m employed as an anthropologist, so I took some fieldnotes on my experiences during the day. Sometimes, when I talk with prospective anthropologists, they want to know what an average day is like for me as an anthropologist. Taking World Anthropology Day as a sample, here is what a day in my life is like.
I was contracted to work on a user research project by my client, an information architecture consultancy of about 15 people. Occasionally, the employees at this organization gather for “brown bag” sessions over lunch, where someone would present something on a topic of general interest.
As a freelancer, I spend the majority of my time working from my home office, but I am happy to go to client sites or field sites as needed. For this project, the team was spread out: one team member commuted between Grand Rapids and Chicago, one team member was based in Ann Arbor and one was based in Indianapolis. Though I am close enough to Ann Arbor to be located in that office for the project, the team determined that we would all work remotely and collaborate using tools like Slack and Google Hangout, Docs and Sheets to get our work done. However, I was going to be in my client’s office on World Anthropology Day conducting remote user research sessions with the project team, so I volunteered to give a short presentation over lunch on the relationship of anthropology to information architecture.
The following notes are what I captured at various points throughout the day, documenting what I was doing and what I was thinking about, to be able to show people what a day in the life of anthropologist is like.
Hi, I'm Amy Goldmacher. I'm an anthropologist who works with individuals, teams, businesses and organizations, providing human-centered design and user experience research that drives product, service and experience innovation.