The Urban Ethnography Lab was started in October 2016 when graduate students from the University of Toronto’s Ethnography Lab (EL) (Department of Anthropology) and Humboldt University’s Humboldt University’s Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies (GSZ) and the Department of Social and Cultural Geography saw an opportunity to work together to enhance collaboration between urban ethnographers in anthropology and geography.

Funded by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Science Germany/Europe Fund, Jessika Tremblay (UofT PhD candidate), Henry Lee Heinonen (UofT MA student), Bronwyn Frey (UofT MA student), Carolin Genz (Humboldt PhD candidate), and Holger Wilcke (Humboldt PhD candidate) – accompanied by Emily Hertzman (UofT PhD candidate) and Lukas Ley (UofT PhD Candidate – engaged in an exchange project to initiate the establishment of a long-term transnational research collaboration under the working label of Urban Ethnography Lab (UEL).

The motivation for creating this partnership was to create a lab through which to promote ethnographic methods in the study of urban and metropolitan areas and increase its relevance in science and policy-making. The EL is a growing center that promotes ethnographic research methods, with a focus on urban areas, while the GSZ encourages the growth of international networks of academic groups focused on metropolitan research. On the basis of two weeks of intensive exchange between Berlin and Toronto, our long-term objectives have been identified as to:

  1. Enhance ethnographic research methods at the intersection of anthropology and geography.
  2. Create opportunities for research on urban comparisons,
  3. Promote the creation of a research network by facilitating the exchange of students and researchers between Toronto and Berlin.