Redesigning PECE Founder Interview Notes - Angela Okune




First exposed at Kim Fortun’s job talk/presentation in 2017, end of 2016

Tech Platform interest


Reached out and interacted with  Kim as soon as she joined, july, met her right away, and asked to be advisor

She was in the midst of planning PECE for 4S in 2018 - august 2018 - roping in to STS across borders - aalok has been running that - Kim started roping Angela into those conversations

First use would have been for STS across borders

MAke an exhibit about STS in Africa - Angela was like ooh very big and political task


iHub research was one of the exhibits


User experience - still feels very beta

Aesthetic? Kind of - you don’t want it to look too beautiful maybe or too designed, it gives you incentive that even if it’s not perfect to keep pushing on


Having multiple tabs open

For putting things into an exhibit - want to do a lot of different things

Don’t want to lose things

Need to remember the name of artifact ot put it in an essay - so if the end goal is to work on the essay - if the in between task is to put up the artifact so you can put it in the essay - have to remember it to put it in the essay - need to 

Not having a back button - so needing to hit the back in the browser


[what attracted you to pece]

Flexibility of being able to work with materials


Creative aspect to it

Not coding - not analysis per se

A little bit of everything

That’s kind of cool

Can be frustrating

Grey messy middle

Allows you to do different things based on what it is you want to do with it

In hindsight - once you upload the stuff - Kenyans who are coming together as a research working group to think about data - uploaded various materials - all in an essay, for us to work with and annotate and see what everyone else is thinking about

If for 4S we could turn it into an exhibit - we could re-imagine the same artifacts and materials

Keep iteratively working the material

Sitting with it over time

Some of those aspects are what attracted me

Because nothing else - complain about it but there’ snot alternative to working with ethnographic material - not coding, so different genre of working the material - more ethnographic inclined people - 


[pre-decided structure or generated thru process of adding things?]

Depends on what she’s using it for

Creating essay exhibits for 4S - did it in 2018 and again in 2019

With exhibits it was much more pre-thought, especially the second year

Knew the general topic, drafted a metanarrative of the point of the whole exhibit, outlined types of artifacts planned to put in - led a training for others doing the 

Told them explicitly that they should plan

So much cool stuff, want to put it ALL there, may run out of time - need to bound it, could go forever and ever

Told everyone, think about which you will put in and which you will annotate


Own research-

Use cases for orals documents, which was a lot of work

Created own instance of PECE - uploading own research data from fieldwork


Orals docs - 

Were tricky

Was trying to figure out how to do the orals, how to read, and how to put it into PECE - extra work - annotating it - not like taking notes on a word doc, also migrating it all over

Want to have a backup copy

Not just do the annotations directly - you don’t want to just do it directly

Kind of figured out as she went 

Figuring out the genre

Knew the reading list already, but how to put it together, the aesthetics of that


Fieldwork - learning as she put it in

Built into the process intentionally

Consent forms - uploaded all of them as artifacts and put them into an essay - as she was scanning, putting up, adding metadata - got her to think about them, because she was thinking more about it. Realizing she needed to go back and redact their names since the participants said they wanted to be anonymized. Limits of large scale uploading, and risks. So it was an analytic moment for her. 


[What does your ecosystem look like and how do you feel about it]

Google docs is such a key part of academic or researcher’s toolkit

We heavily relied on google drive and google docs

Collaborative writing not well develop din pece

The folder structure

It’s not perfect in gdrive but better than PECE

PECE not really defined for info management

Meant to be kaleidoscopic, you can’t find things…

Meant to have multiple homes for a thing

But makes it hard to put things there

Comprehensive vs curation model is something to think about

Research organization s- would still - many have started using PECE - Angela warns them they need a separate document management and archive space - too much work and it also isn’t ideal to find stuff after you put it there

Not feel guilty about not using it for everything

PECE needs to figure out its niche 

Lindsay says a lot that it is trying to do too much

Tim Elfenbein - exploring platforms to use to (pub pub? )

PECE best suited as workflow - work…. In between - working with the material, doing stuff with it - not ideal - not the archive - not repository perse - different kind of archive but not backup or storage


[frozen in time?]

Right now 4s ones are frozen in time but it doesn’t have to be

If someone wanted to do an orals doc on Angela’s topics - collaboration - they could pull in the essay that Angela started and then build on top of it - like forking Git

How to still - if you pull in the essay as a published thing, you can't play with it in that fun PECE way, so it’s not really brought back to life

No one has figured out what that looks like

Would be 

That might be worth it - if someone was to use your orals docs and build on top of it


Black boxed orals doc - all this grad student labor only MAYBE read by your committee- why can’t we do something more cool with all that work? Why can’t I help share it with other people, build on it… I feel like it’s wasted showmanship 


What does it mean to be published?

Published, yet they are still editable

Still the theoretical and functional interplay - do you freeze it, does it get assigned a DOI? Does it actually become published

Publication side not as fleshed out conceptually


[how did it feel to do PECE than a paper]

Pictures and finding their work - scoping out everyone beforehand

More fun than writing a paper

Different media

Less foregrounding Angela’s analytic voice of this is what they said and if she agrees - more foregrounding the actual voice while still curating it

This is what’s going on vs this is what Angela thinks

Move is made by putting everyone in the same box

Let’s put in people who don’t call themselves STS in Africa - we need to expand this beyond the narrow academics who call themselves STS in aFrica - actually look at who is doing cool stuff and put them all together

Couldn’t have done that in a text written form




People you don’t know are engaging with the material - some sort of projects is a success if other people can start engaging with ith that otherwise wouldn’t have engaged with an article Angelwa wrote

Get them to read or contribute in some way 

Archive is of that project

Hard to get into 

Send a link of the essay, gets an email of the comments, so then Angela asks if she can put the comments into PECE, and then other people can see the comments

Open access in “Africa” - focus group fo four different scholars/activists

Published that, published transcript, added gr;ay literature and interviews - previous discussion - circulated that - feedback from the editor - good feedback - Angela added those in as annotations

Comments on comments

None of them did it as registered PECE users -

But then it becomes this fun enlived space - more than just a text, it’s people’s discussion gets in there

That’s when it’s really fun

Angel has done a first draft - hyperlinked with journal article

How to get them to engage with the material, but make it accessible

Have PECE be the only place it lives is maybe not the bes strategy

Use journal format that people are comfortable with - to pull into PECE


[own comments]

Not actually enjoy the actual work of putting in comments but she is excited about the engagement with her work - people engaging


[how did you find Lucy’s]

Looking at annotations 

Didn’t see annotations but saw her questions

Just noticed 

Was there anyway - perusing

Micro thing - intentional that all the questions keep changing - EACH PAGE IS REGENERATING. YOU CAN’T FIND IT. But discovery, keep you 



Original crew - Angela is a 2.0 crew member - since Kim came to UCI

It would be great to be notified

It would be important

Even for her own instance - trying to get other members of her working toup to add in things

Only way she knows is if she goes in and has to look for it


[what research analytic process without PECE -what tools would you use]

Have a research design class - 1 or 2 weeks where cover coding and software - assignment is to use a software - Max qda - dedoose - go in and code - very … has a … very reductive - this is about … i would engage with my material at a much more textual level - going through the transcript and kind of just pulling out - whether quotes or themes or what have you - can still do that in PECE - two sets of analytic questions - one thematic analysis  - other is project level questions - how to disentangle kim and mike’s methodology from PECE because they're hand in hand 

Could probably tweak a software

But PECE is well suited for question asking

Built with the Fortuns’ approach embedded in it

Question asking, further elicitation of thoughts

Rather than coming with one or two phrases you’re locking into 

Committee member asked if she has finished coding - it’s actually analysis of a different nature, more intuitive and tacit - so PECE makes it more foregrounded and built in to the process

Not just say i’d be frustrated with it

Wouldn’t know what to do

Once you code something, what do you do with that, now you have a coded transcript, now you could do statistical analysis

How qual gets quantified

Only workflow people are taught and know

Explicit analysis can be taught

Not just figure it out, un-black boxing 


What you gain from coding is in-depth knowledge of what they’ve said, can code it, get into it, 

Anthropologists take notes, fieldnotes

Hesitant to see ita data

More as memory device


Even after coding, you still need to think about it



Putting all these things into one frame

Essay - can pull in this thing and this thing and what happens when they’re together - think with them together

That is a valuable part of it

If coding - would try - even transcribing - what that one person said - what happened with that one thing - it is hard to to hold onto the last one - so what analytic thread holds them together? Not just gender.. .but with nuance

Look at it again

The essay is that - this and this was there - make an essay about those things, put these things together and hold it in one bucket and have more thoughts

Mirrors what the anthropologists ideally would be doing if they were memoing and bring it it all together - but PECE make sit more visual - 



Most people are doing hodgepodge, Angela thinks

Probably … asked to make mind maps in research design class - mind map png could be put into a PECE essay - could have it in one frame or workspace

PECE serves well as a workspace - create frames, a new frame that goes in

Bubbles - glass - fishbowls 

Different glass fish bowls - different ways of capturing the images

Inspire you - redo 


Lines up with foregrounding the research process

What you’re putting in the frame together

Making that clear - from head or notepaper - that is usually blackboxed 


If serve as an archive - would need so much more investment

Uci libraries wanted - what it would mean to archive in the library repository - 

Get a snapshot - to get some integration 

Is there a way with Drupal 8 - screenshot but take a way to the materials there

Without PECE having to do it

Still build archives

[comments live on PECE, artifacts already there]


PECE compete on scholarly publication? Functions and features have expectations - alt to monograph or article - but needs more investment


OJS - backend technology - convo with pub pub[?]

Those are the 2 big orgs pushing forward open access scholarly publication - if that's the place PECE wants to be in it’s another realm of investment and focus

PECE is so much more experimental, focused on the materials in a way that other places focused on what is written

Seems like a different 

Not necessarily where to put the investment of time and effort there


Possibility is more than/different from that publishing places

The frame thing is unique  

Then you do this meta commentary on on your google docs that 

Encourages reflection 

Today, tomorrow, next week

Where i got this email - this is what happened since then

Temporal aspect

Some of the stuff finally done - moment of being done - but if you throw something in there - shifts - doesn’t stay static


[anything else?]

Biggest challenges will be- 

Who ideal users are, and how broad we want to make that - who is the ideal PECE user - how broad do we want to preach the gospel vs let them come

How much to invest in training

Digital humanities challenge

How much to do it

Business model, to funding structure, ot outreach , all fo that

Embedded in an epistemological approach

Learn a different way of thinking as you go

Quant researchers might not be interested in PECE in the same way angela is

Do we try to convert them or do we just let our small group use it for our own purposes? What’s our end goal? Do we want a bunch of anthro or engage across different borders and boundaries?

Need to have baseline of tech

What kind of tutorials, etc.

Getting there with COVID-19


Spread - how centralized vs how decentralized

Across instances - can’t search or input across 

No way to collaborate at that level unless already have social connections 

Technical level build that in?

Or social infrastructure?


Angel has built out a slack channel that is not active but at least keep communication open so it’s not only email

Social infrastructure - is actually lacking if PECE is to really get more institutionalized/ established beyond the people that know 


More than the software - what’s in the software -but part of that is what is the end goal 

[how do you feel about hierarchy]

Additional questions:

Q: What does PECE allow for your research process that was missing in other tools?


Q: When you’re working in PECE, do you use any other tools to facilitate the process?


Q: When you’re working on a project, at what point do you start putting that project into PECE? Do you have a structure / purpose in mind first, or does the structuring happen as you’re working?


Q: Do you use PECE mostly by yourself, or with others?

Q: You’ve mentioned using PECE with different stakeholders during your work in Kenya. What has that process been like? How do they respond to PECE? How does that affect your research?


Creative Commons Licence


Contributed date

December 16, 2020 - 10:14pm

Critical Commentary

These are notes supplementing the interview conducted by Lucy Pei and Hillary Abraham of Angela Okune on May 18th, 2020 as part of the Redesigning PECE project. The audio recording of the interview can be found here.

Cite as

Anonymous, "Redesigning PECE Founder Interview Notes - Angela Okune", contributed by Hillary Abraham and Lucy Pei, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 16 December 2020, accessed 24 September 2021.