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I’m currently taking a Pre-Practicum course at UNT. The course is meant to prepare us for doing our practicum, which is essentially a full applied anthropology research project in which we work directly with a client and it is in lieu of a master’s thesis (read practical, real world experience ;).

This course has focused on professional development; resume, 30 second elevator speech of personal interests/experience, a research paper about your field of interest, grant writing, IRB, types of anthropological research, and communities of practice (CoP).

For the sake of the course, ‘communities of practice’ were essentially professional organizations e.g., SfAA or AAA. I felt this definition was rather limiting and somewhat ill-informed in the age of the internet (doesn’t account for social networks, etc.) but that was the definition we were told to work from. So, for the course, I compiled a list of CoP’s that I felt would be relevant to me (design anthropologist in the tech field). I thought I’d share the list with you since I spent so much time on it 🙂 I’ve broken it into sections and put a “*” to denote organizations I belong to.

The idea of CoP is that you’ll have places to network, to stay informed about current trends, etc. and you’ll receive the benefits that said membership offers, such as newsletters, etc. However, a CoP is what you make of it and the reasons, benefits, etc. probably will vary by person to person.

Professional Organizations of Interest to Applied & Practicing Anthropologists

*American Anthropological Association (AAA)

*Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA)

*National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA)

*National Association of Student Anthropologists (NASA)

Consortium of Practicing & Applied Anthropology Programs (COPAA)

Local Practitioner Organizations (LPO)

Professional Organizations of Interest to Applied & Practicing Design Anthropologists

*Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA)

*AnthroDesign Listserv

Interaction Design Association (IxDA)

*Human Factors & Ergonomics Society (HFES)

Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)

Design Research Society

User Experience Network (UXnet)

Updated December 9, 2007: This was a comment posted by a reader (to another related post) “As for your list, note that UXnet is not a professional organization like the others – you cannot join it as a member (only as a volunteer). UXnet is more about helping you make sense of all of the user experience CoP out there.” Thanks Keith, I appreciate your correction!

Professional Organizations of Interest to Applied & Practicing Design Anthropologists in Tech

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

you have to be a member of ACM