Press Release / Oct 12

SCAD to host international EPIC Conference, bringing Google, Microsoft, IBM and Intel to Savannah


The Savannah College of Art and Design is proud to announce that it will host the 8th annual EPIC Conference, a premier international forum for bringing together practicing designers, policy makers, social scientists, marketers, academics and other professionals dedicated to the qualitative study of human behavior in social, business and organizational settings, otherwise known as ethnography

SCAD professor Christine Miller, graduate program in design management, is the local chair for EPIC 2012.

"We are very excited to bring the EPIC conference to Savannah," said Miller. "SCAD is unique in that ethnographic-style research, which puts a deep understanding of real people back at the center of business decision-making, is a core component of the design curriculum. SCAD students go on to work for many of the companies that will be represented at the conference."

Miller is working with conference co-chairs John Payne (Moment) and Simon Roberts (ReD Associates), alongside representatives from Google, Intel, Nokia and IBM. Miller and Stokes Jones, professor of design management, will present a paper titled "STAND Where You Live: Activating Civic Renewal by Engaging Social Fields," which documents a major community visioning project conducted in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Some of the major conference sponsors include Intel, Microsoft and Sapient Nitro. Joined by Google, IBM, Sony and many others, these corporations advocate EPIC's initiative in conducting studies on human behavior and applying the findings to the advancement of business practices.

"EPIC draws practitioners of ethnographic work from business, policy, design, and academia," said Roberts. "The confluence of history and innovation in Savannah, and at SCAD specifically, make the city an ideal venue for discussing the theory and practice of ethnography."

The conference will kick off with an informal reception and opening exhibit at ThincSavannah, open to the anticipated 300 EPIC attendees. This exhibit, which comes from the collection of the AIGA, will feature original Occupy Wall Street posters as poignant examples of the global impact of visual communication. The exhibit will be open to the public from Sunday, Oct. 14 through Wednesday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Free to the public, everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend both the opening and closing keynote speaker presentations. Emily Pilloton, the first keynote speaker, is the founder and executive director of nonprofit design agency Project H Design and has been featured on the TED stage and "The Colbert Report." She will be speaking on Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. at the Lucas Theatre. Journalist and bestselling author Philip Delves Broughton is a regular writer for The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Spectator, and also works with the Kauffman Foundation, which focuses on education and entrepreneurship. He will be closing the conference on Oct. 17, 10:45 a.m.

Pilloton and Broughton invite the public and EPIC attendees to a book signing on Monday, Oct. 15, 5-6 p.m. at the Lucas Theatre. Pilloton will be signing Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People and Broughton will be signing The Art of the Sale: Learning from the Masters About the Business Life.

SCAD is also pleased to announce that several SCAD students will be presenting during the prestigious conference. Colleen Heine, M.F.A. design management candidate, will present her ethnographic study "Scene and Unscene: An Exploration of the Emergence and Value of the Local Music Scene in Savannah, Georgia." Heine will be sharing a combination of insider perspective and research on how music contributes to building community and city life.

"EPIC's mission is about understanding people and their relationships with the people and places that define their world," said Heine. "I'm thrilled that my work is recognized as a relevant piece of that conversation."

The EPIC Conference is offering several events free to the community:

Occupy Wall Street exhibit, featuring original posters from Occupy Wall Street
The posters were collected from the first demonstrations in Zuccotti Park in New York and are an arresting example of the global impact of visual communication. They were first exhibited by the AIGA, a partner of this year's EPIC Conference.

  • Sunday, Oct. 14 - Wednesday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • ThincSavannah, 35 Barnard St., Savannah, Ga.

Emily Pilloton, opening keynote speaker
As an author, teacher and founder and executive director of nonprofit design agency Project H Design, Pilloton is a well-recognized speaker and has appeared on "The Colbert Report" and the TED Stage.

  • Monday, Oct. 15, 9:30 a.m.
  • Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St., Savannah, Ga.

Pilloton and Broughton book signing
Emily Pilloton will be signing Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People and Philip Delves Broughton will be signing The Art of the Sale: Learning from the Masters About the Business Life.

  • Monday, Oct. 15, 5-6 p.m.
  • Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St., Savannah, Ga.

Philip Delves Broughton, closing keynote speaker
Broughton is an esteemed journalist who has written for The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Spectator. He was a journalist with the Daily Telegraph for 10 years, and currently works with the Kauffman Foundation. Broughton is also a bestselling author of two books.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 17, 10:45 a.m.
  • Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St., Savannah, Ga.

To register for EPIC Conference and for a full list of events, visit epiconference.com.

SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor's and master's degrees in distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors and more than 50 minors in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Hong Kong; in Lacoste, France; and online through SCAD eLearning.

Design Management Program at SCAD

With a foundation in organizational anthropology, collaborative learning, brand analytics, design principles, collaborative innovation networks (COINs) and business practices, the design management program introduces design thinking into all operations of organizations. Design management students develop an understanding of the vital role of creativity as strategic advantage when incorporated into traditional business activities.

EPIC Conference

The EPIC Conference promotes the use of ethnographic investigations and principles in the study of human behavior as they are applied in business settings. By understanding people, what they do, how they do it and how these change over time, we can create better business strategies, processes and products, as well as enhance and simplify people's lives. Beyond this, the conference aspires to promote the integration of rigorous methods and theory from multiple disciplines into business practices; to advocate business decisions based upon sound research; to promote public recognition of practicing ethnography as a profession; and to support the continuing professionalization of the field. EPIC has been held annually since 2005, with an attendance of more than 300 participants.

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