Video: Sara Arko 'The people project'

In March, the Emerging Technologies Research Lab held the Digital Design Ethnography Symposium and invited Sara Arko to speak about The People Project.

The PEOPLE project, an Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance, addresses three key challenges: the skills mismatch between social sciences graduates in Europe and the requirements of industry, the technology companies’ low recognition of the potential benefits of social science skills and knowledge to product and service development, and the need for novel approaches to teaching and learning in social sciences. Four European academic institutions, four companies, and an intermediary organisation are jointly developing and implementing People-centred Learning Cycles, an experimental pedagogical approach that brings together teams of students in anthropology, sociology, psychology, and related disciplines, university educators, and industry professionals to work on real-life industry challenges. The students apply qualitative research methods, test people-centred design and development approaches, and acquire new skills through an interdisciplinary learning process. Eight different university-industry cooperation case studies in the field of energy efficiency and sustainability are being implemented to assess the impact on all stakeholders involved.

Sara Arko, PhD, is a Slovenian anthropologist, working as a researcher in industry (automatization and digitalisation company Metronik) and in university-industry cooperation (IRI UL – Institute for Innovation and Development of University of Ljubljana). In her work, she is focusing on bringing anthropology into energy research and technology development.