The summer of 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of Dell Hymes's landmark publication of "The Ethnography of Speaking" (1962) and the 25th anniversary of Gerry Philipsen's influential theoretical work, "The Prospect for Cultural Communication" (1987). In June of 2012, Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., was host to the "Ethnography of Communication: Ways Forward," an international conference celebrating these milestones and providing a catalyst for future research, teaching, and practice. The conference was attended by 51 participants from 28 colleges, universities and research institutions representing 8 countries, including the United States, England, Finland, China, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Israel. Notably, NCA events and project funding provided financial support for the conference, especially travel support for 11 graduate students in the ethnography of communication (EC).
The conference was designed to bring together scholars in the EC tradition, broadly conceived. The conference featured traditional paper presentation sessions as well as topic-based roundtable discussions on matters including applied moves in EC research, challenges in international research, pedagogy and curriculum, theories and methods, and research institutes and centers. Participants enjoyed a data session and attended an event co-sponsored by the Creighton Office of Multicultural Affairs.
The conference theme "Ways Forward" prompted participants to focus on the future. On the final day of the conference, participants laid the framework for future collaboration on research, joint participation in NCA events, sharing of teaching resources, and the development of more robust opportunities for the exchange of ideas among EC scholars.
Additional funding support for the conference was provided by the Department of Communication Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Center for Catholic Thought (Creighton University) and the Center for Great Plains Studies (University of Nebraska).