Hello, I’m Justin. I’m an editor and independent researcher, readily nerd-sniped by edge cases and emerging phenomena.

Justin Pickard, dithered

Operating from a home base in the haunted, flood-prone city of York, I use ethnographic methods to uncover hidden meanings and challenge dominant narratives. In my work life, I’ve sought out opportunities to pursue open-ended, exploratory research in different settings. I have:

  • Co-founded a research company: Partnered with public and private-sector clients to investigate the diverse contexts in which technologies are imagined, designed, used, and controlled.
  • Taught observational methods: Developed and delivered courses and training on ethnographic fieldwork, observational research, and qualitative methods for studying sociotechnical systems and online communities.
  • Facilitated workshops: Designed and led participatory workshops with diverse stakeholders, using creative, experimental, and collaborative techniques to explore complex issues.
  • Participated in collaborative prototyping: Joined an interdisciplinary team at MediaLab Matadero to conduct exploratory research and prototyping on artificial intelligence and human-machine intimacy.
  • Conducted long-term fieldwork: Carried out ethnographic research on the cultural politics of infrastructure in Gujarat, with implications for policymaking and urban planning.

These experiences (and others) instilled a deep appreciation for creative, cross-disciplinary inquiry. Today, I am happiest working with others to decipher complex or uncertain situations, with a particular focus on:

  • Appropriate technology: Low-tech, decentralised technologies, tailored to specific contexts and user needs.
  • Communities of practice: The dynamics of practical knowledge development and dissemination within groups.
  • Translocal processes: The interplay of local practices and global forces, and how this shapes technologies, policy, and the built environment.
  • Knowledge bases, repositories, and information retrieval: How people navigate and use information in everyday contexts.
  • Improvisation and contingency: How people adapt and innovate in real-time, responding to changing conditions through technology design and use.

Having recently tumbled into the gravity well of generative language models, I am also now trying to learn Python.


Date Title Categories
29 Jun 2024 Dearth quotes, genai, authorship, creativity, tools
23 Jun 2024 Logical piano: 2024-W25 weeknotes
17 Jun 2024 Barefoot and malleable quotes, computational thinking, genai
9 Jun 2024 Countless openings quotes, combinatorics, genai
25 May 2024 Deep play: 2024-W21 weeknotes
17 May 2024 Engrossed: 2024-W20 weeknotes
6 Jan 2024 Choices about what is salient context
20 Apr 2023 Binnacle meta

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