About CoLED

The UC Collaboratory for Ethnographic Design (CoLED) is an interdisciplinary hub for innovative ethnographic theory and methodology linking campuses across the University of California system. CoLED links faculty, postgraduate researchers and graduate students from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego.Five people stand in front of a high, white wall, looking at the graphically arranged multi-colored notes and tape arranged on the wall. One person to the right of the frame faces the camera and seems to be conversing with someone at the edge of the frame of the photo.

Our participants are researchers with a drive to explore the future of ethnography. The CoLED network links initiatives at the cutting edge of innovative ethnographic work that takes on global themes and contributes to transnational scholarly conversations.  On campuses around California, CoLED faculty have founded and driven programs that interrogate design practices, technology, collaboration and participatory methodologies, theater, digital methodologies, and filmmaking.


“CoLED is a groundbreaking initiative that is launching conversations and innovations that absolutely would not be happening otherwise. It should be a top priority for continued support.”- CoLED Conference Attendee
“Building intellectual communities across the UCs helps build intellectual communities beyond the UCs and helps build the UC’s intellectual leadership.” – CoLED Faculty Member
“Coled has really become an important part of my yearly rhythm. The spirit of adventure and intellectual generosity are so important. Hoping to be able to bring more students in the future.” – CoLED Faculty Member


CoLED fosters relationships among scholars and their initiatives across campuses, creating a collegial and dynamic environment for developing ethnographic and pedagogical methods, sharing innovation, and disseminating results.

The Collaboratory is working to build a globally accessible resource for exploring the nexus of ethnography and design.

CoLED was founded in 2015, and is supported by the University of California Office of the President Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives award. Dr. Elana Zilberg at UCSD is the Principal Investigator for the grant.