The survey was very well conducted and met our needs. It focused on relevant themes, the chosen methods were appropriate and the findings were to the point. The value of the study for the museum was to receive feedback from museum experts – a vistitor group that offers insight into what is the function and goal of museums in contemporary times.
Agnes Aljas Estonian National Museum
During October 9 – 12, 2018 Estonian National Museum hosted a conference titled “Re-imagining the Museum in the Global Contemporary” – the annual event of ICOM ICME, the international committee of the International Council of Museums devoted to ethnographic museums and collections.
We engaged the students of folkloristics and applied heritage from the University of Tartu in studying the conference participants’ feedback to museum’s permanent expositions titled “Encounters” and “Echo of the Urals”. We also explored their personal experiences of Tartu and Estonia as tourist destinations.
In this study we combined a variety of methods – short interviews, participant observations during the excursions and walk-along interviews with participants during their independent explorations of expositions. The use of different methods allowed to discover a large range of details that have its effect on the entire visitor experience.
The findings of the study help the museum to understand better, how visitors relate to the expositions and what they place significance on within the space in general. Also, which exhibits and themes catch the attentions of visitors more, and what is it about them that is acknowledged and appreciated.
Photo by: Aivo Põlluäär
During the fall of 2018, The Center for Applied Anthropology of Estonia co-operated with the design agency Velvet and conducted research for TalTech’s future homepage.
In-depth interviews were conducted in order to map the needs and expectations of various user groups of the homepage. The user experience of university employees, private sector partners as well as future students was analysed and served as valuable insight for Velvet in the process of developing the concept and design of TalTech’s new homepage.
During the fall of 2018 we conducted research for the future strategy of Tartu’s Smart City concept, commissioned by the Estonian design agency Velvet. The aim of the project was to engage the inhabitants of Tartu in providing user-centric insight into the potential solutions for a sustainable rise in the quality of life and the development of a supportive eco-system for young talents.
The Center for Applied Anthropology of Estonia conducted approx. 30 in-depth interviews with Tartu inhabitants with the aim of gaining a better understanding of their current problems, needs, attitudes and expectations in relation to the Smart City concept. The research involved participants of various socio-economic status, incl young talents and skilled employees of foreign background.
The analysis of the ethnographic material was used by Velvet in the development of possible future scenarios for the city of Tartu.
Police and Border Guard Board was very content with the research carried out by the Center for Applied Anthropology of Estonia. The analysis provided suggestions to which bureaus should be located in each other’s vicinity, as well as answers to the main question prior to the research – in what extent is the model of an activity-based office applicable in the PBGB’s headquarters. We also received numerous suggestions on how to use space differently and an overview of the challenges faced by the organisation. The anthropological methods that were used, allowed to bring forth the deeper concerns of the employees that would have probably remained hidden with a mere statistical analysis.
Esko Suharov Real Estate Specialist, The Bureau of Logistics, Police and Border Guard Board
In the spring of 2018, The Center for Applied Anthropology of Estonia in cooperation with the Ethnology Department at the University of Tartu, carried out a work behaviour analysis at the headquarters of the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB).
This research was a pilot study where interviews and participant observations that were carried out in 15 bureaus provided insight into choosing the most suitable future office layout. The daily work behaviour, specificities of the organisation and its activities, as well as the strategic goals were studied in order to assist in the selection of choices for the future headquarters design.
The findings of the study were presented in a written report that included an overview of current work patterns in the present headquarters, as well as the main problems and challenges that result from the spatial arrangements and work culture. We presented recommendations for the future office on how to support cooperation between the employees, decrease noise and stress factors, and how to engage in the utilisation of space in a more flexible and sensible manner.
We argued that an office-design with the selected layout is not merely a real estate project, but instead the creation of work space that supports and facilitates the desired shift in the organisational culture. The extensive interviewing and engagement of employees that this project encompassed, allowed the top management to become aware of the fears and misconceptions circling within the organisation, and hence to take them into consideration in the future change management and internal communication processes.
Between June and November 2018 the Center for Applied Anthropology of Estonia conducted an anthropological research aiming at contributing to the development of strategies strengthening the Estonian startup ecosystem. The wider approach of our study dealt with the questions of how to develop the interest in entrepreneurship and digital competencies among children and adolescents. More specifically, our focus was on the field of cyber security and knowledge, skills, and attitudes that potentially encourage young people to become founders of startups.
The emphasis of the study was on the experiences of children, adolescents, and young adults – how they perceive the expectation of parents, teachers and education system, the prevalent cultural norms in the Estonian society (e.g. career choices, gender stereotypes), how do they evaluate the possibilities for undertaking hobbies and interests, how do they perceive their future and, in their opinion, what are the biggest problems in regard to the matters this study concerns.
Drawing on the analysis of anthropological fieldwork, the study provides recommendations and suggestions for different stakeholders to support and encourage boys’ and girls’ interest in entrepreneurship and cyber security.
We were very satisfied with the contribution of the The Center for Applied Anthropology into this project and most certainly plan to co-operate in the future as well. The insight that rose out of the in-depth interviews carried out by anthropologists provided such a thorough and invaluable insight into this sector.
We, ourselves, have conducted interviews in the past as well, but we must admit that we have not been able to open up such a nuanced understanding of a group’s culture and behaviour. Therefore, whenever similar needs arise in our future projects, we most certainly plan to engage The Center’s anthropologists again.
Laura Aaben Praxis
In winter 2018 the Centre for Applied Anthropology of Estonia (CAAE) conducted research in the Estonian construction sector for a project that was a collaboration with the Estonian Think Tank Praxis and the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. This sector leads in the lists of fields where the practices of unofficial salaries and un-reported taxes are widespread. The goal of the research was to explore the practices of employment, as well as prevalent moral and ethical standpoints.
To understand the behavioural patterns and common practices in the industry, our researchers conducted 15 in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs and construction workers. We explored the tensions, power issues, conflicts and problems that are rooted in the functioning of the construction sector. The entrepreneurs involved in the study also had a chance to make recommendations in order to improve the situation.
It emerged that the roots of the shadow economy in the construction sector lie in deep disappointment with the government and public sector; and in the manipulation of hierarchical power structures inside the construction sector – those between the main and sub-contractors. Efforts by both the public as well as the private sector are necessary in order to steer the construction sector towards a more law-abiding partner. CAAE’s role in this study was to convey the views and positions of the representatives of the construction sector to the Tax and Customs Board as authentically as possibly, while guaranteeing the informants’ anonymity.