Exploratory Papers

Exploratory Papers present original, unpublished ideas and research that explores, advances or reflects on the potential future developments of participatory practices. Exploratory Papers (EXP) are grouped in nine (9) thematic sessions. All contributions are in English.

EXP Chairs: Shana Agid (Parsons School of Design / The New School – USA) and Cristhian Daniel Parra (Laboratorio de Aceleración del PNUD – PRY)

EXP1 – Making Otherwise

Thursday 18th of June 1:00 pm (UTC -5)

Session chair: Shana Agid

Mi Fink app, a participative research-creation experience for afro-caucan territory protection in Colombia

Andrés Eduardo Nieto Vallejo, Isabel Cristina Tobón Giraldo, Carlos Torres Parra

The Traditional Afro-Caucan farm – TAF is part of the northern Cauca culture in Colombia, but it is threatened. Mi Fink is a mobile phone app that vindicates the tradition of the farm as a form of community work an afro-descendant expression about their identity in this territory. This app is the result of a research-creation project with children from the municipality of Villa Rica in the northern region of the Department of Cauca in Colombia. Through collaborative design, a team of professionals from different areas and academic researchers investigated the memories of care and use of their territory. Despite expected limitations related to digital technologies access, this experience shows how easy children can get involved, collaborate and carry out innovative activities with digital devices such as stop motion animation. The project gives clues to the knowledge and recognition of spaces in which participatory design allows a transition from a passive use of mobile phones to a creative perspective using meaningful activities to transform realities. In this way, we are able to construct various stories about their reality, in this case, from children who are often marginalized and excluded from dominant cultural trajectories.

Situated Automation: Algorithmic Creatures in Participatory Design

Jaz Hee-jeong Choi, Laura Forlano, Denisa Kera

This paper introduces the notion of situated automation to explore how emerging technologies of automation (such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithms) might be considered as actors in Participatory Design (PD). The growing significance of these algorithmic systems in the shaping of public and private lives of the citizens make them a timely and important site of research and advocacy. This paper presents examples of practices and projects that work with the paradoxes of automation and participation as a site where the different actors collide and form what we describe as algorithmic creatures. We map the different modes of reflection about/through/with technologies of automation to argue for a PD with algorithmic creatures focused on pluralism, justice, equity, and care.

Participatory construction of futures for the defense of human rights

Paula Astrid Mendez Gonzalez, Sofía Castañeda Mosquera, María Paula Bernal Tinjaca, Ricardo Mejía Sarmiento, Roberto Alejandro Morales Rubio, Juan Camilo Giraldo Manrique, Santiago Baquero Lozano

Participatory design allows for designing speculative futures through a collaborative approach. This paper explores how a human rights defense non-governmental organization (NGO) and a group of designers could explore speculative futures collaboratively. It also reflects on how prototypes of these futures help the organization face potential changes in the country’s social model to make an impact on the defense of human rights during the next ten years. This case study presents how the use of participatory design and speculative design can allow NGOs to explore the futures, identify the opportunities and challenges they offer, and co-design a roadmap to act accordingly.

Matters of Care in Designing a Feminist Coalition

Rafaella P. Eleutério, Frederick C.M. van Amstel

Recent literature on Participatory Design describes the act of designing coalitions around a matter of concern. This paper challenges the notion of concern as the ontological basis of coalitions. Coalitions are, in fact, political organizational forms that have a long history in civil rights movements, characterized by the provisional union of different oppressed groups in times of intense repression. According to feminist literature, what unites people in feminist coalitions are matters of care and not matters of concern. Following this shift of perspective, this research critically revises the notion of designing coalitions while analysing a codesign project for increasing women coffee workers’ visibility in a particular region of Latin America.

EXP2 – Platforms for Participation

Thursday 18th of June 1:00 pm (UTC -5)

Session chair: Giacomo Poderi

Designing Participedia: A Collaborative Research Platform

Amber Frid-Jimenez, Jesi Carson, Alanna Scott, Paninee Khantidhara, Dethe Elza

A transformation of democratic governance is occurring as public participation empowers citizens to have their voices heard beyond the vote. Participedia is a research community and online crowdsourcing platform designed to document and share emerging knowledge about participatory democracy. Participedia’s women led Design & Technology (D&T) team used participatory design (PD) and feminist human computer interaction (HCI) strategies to evaluate Participedia’s formerly proprietary website and design and build a new, open source platform. By shifting Participedia to an open source technological approach, the D&T team deliberately created opportunities for women and students and initiated new collaborations through channels like Github. Key design improvements, such as improved accessibility and reducing bias in the data model of Participedia, further align the project with feminist values of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). The D&T team is part of a new generation of designers and developers contributing to interdisciplinary research through design and technology for social good.

PD and The Challenge of AI in Health-Care

Christopher H. Gyldenkærne, Jesper Simonsen, Troels Mønsted, Gustav From

In its promise to contribute to considerable cost savings and im proved patient care through efficient analysis of the tremendous amount of data stored in electronic health records (EHR), there is currently a strong push for the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) in health-care. We identify, through a study of AI being used to predict patient no-show’s, that for the AI to gain full potential there lies a need to balance the introduction of AI with a proper focus on the patients and the clinicians’ interests. We call for a Participatory Design (PD) approach to understand and reconfigure the socio-technical setup in health-care, especially where AI is being used on EHR data that are manually being submitted by health-care personnel.

Worker Empowerment in the Era of Sharing Economy Platforms in Global South

Pietari Keskinen, Heike Winschiers-Theophilus

In this exploratory paper we discuss the relation between empowerment and global sharing economy in a Global Southern context. We distinguish two primary meanings of ’empowerment’ namely,the liberation from oppression and the ability to act. We inspect working for sharing economies from both angles. A critical factor for assessing whether sharing economies are empowering for global South workers is the change it brings. If the platform work offers opportunities for formerly unemployed, the change is considered as empowering. However, it is possible, that these platform jobs instead replace the traditional, more protected employments, in which case the change is considered dis-empowering. We exemplify our arguments with a contextual inquiry into community-based tourism in a small village Tanzania.

Platformization of the public sector: Assessing the space of possibilities for participation

Tangni C. Dahl-Jørgensen, Elena Parmiggiani

Digitalization processes are emerging as a promising avenue to elicit participation in large-scale platforms. In the public sector, platformization efforts call for deeper insight into how they shape the space of possibility for citizen involvement through decision linkages. Based on an ongoing exploratory study of the early-stage development of a digital platform at a Norwegian municipality, we identify three core challenges to participation in platformization processes: the municipality experts’ views on participation, the cultivation of the installed base on the governance and technical level, and opportunities for scaling up the platform. We analyze how these core challenges impact the space of possibility for participation.

EXP3 – (Re)Turning

Thursday 18th of June 1:00 pm (UTC -5)

Session chair: Oksana Zelenko

The Design of Pseudo-Participation

Victoria Palacin, Matti Nelimarkka, Pedro Reynolds-Cuellar, Christoph Becker

Participation is key to building an equitable, realistic and democratic future. Yet a lack of agency in decision making and agenda-setting is a growing phenomenon in the design of digital public services. We call this pseudo-participation by and in design. The configuration of digital artifacts and/or processes can provide an illusion of participation but lack supportive processes and affordances to allow meaningful participation to happen. This exploratory paper examines the realm of pseudo-participation in the design of public digital services through two concepts: 1) pseudo-participation by design, digital interfaces, and tools that provide the illusion of participation to the people, 2) pseudo-participation in design, processes in which those affected by the design decisions are marginalized and not given any agency. We contribute to the re-imagination of participatory design in modern societies where the role of politics has become ubiquitous and is yet to be critically scrutinized by designers.

P for political: Participation Without Agency Is Not Enough

Aakash Gautam, Deborah Tatar

Participatory Design’s vision of democratic participation assumes participants’ feelings of agency in envisioning a collective future. But this assumption may be leaky when dealing with vulnerable populations. We reflect on the results of a series of activities aimed at supporting agentic-future-envisionment with a group of sex-trafficking survivors in Nepal. We observed a growing sense among the survivors that they could play a role in bringing about change in their families. They also became aware of how they could interact with available institutional resources. Reflecting on the observations, we argue that building participant agency on the small and personal interactions is necessary before demanding larger Political participation. In particular, a value of PD, especially for vulnerable populations, can lie in the process itself if it helps participants position themselves as actors in the larger world.

Scaling Participation – What Does the Concept of Managed Communities Offer for Participatory Design?

Stefan Hochwarter, Babak A. Farshchian

This paper investigates mechanisms for scaling participation in participatory design (PD). Specifically, the paper focuses on managed communities, one strategy of generification work. We first give a brief introduction on the issue of scaling in PD, followed by exploring the strategy of managed communities in PD. This exploration is underlined by an ongoing case study in the healthcare sector, and we propose solutions to observed challenges. The paper ends with a critical reflection on the possibilities managed communities offer for PD. Managed communities have much to offer beyond mere generification work for large-scale information systems, but we need to pay attention to core PD values that are in danger of being sidelined in the process.

Dancing in fissures: Embodied practices in animation to communicate a decolonial world

Ilana Paterman Brasil

This paper shares the process of creating hand-drawn animations of corporeal movements from Afro-Brazilian religious communities in the state of Rio de Janeiro, known as terreiros. This process can be seen as a case of «crossing of knowledge» between universal practices of design and pluriversal, decolonial practices that resist and strike the colonial project by inhabiting its fissures. Relating this idea to the concept of embodiment, this paper aims to discuss about the supposed separation of body and mind, and, comparably, of making and designing, linking them with questions on technological progress and on the participation of the body in creative projects.

EXP4 – Spatial Agencies

Thursday 18th of June 1:00 pm (UTC -5)

Session chair: Maurizio Teli

Performing citizenship through design?

Marcella Arruda, Michael Haldrup, Kristine Samson

In the face of global protests and conflicts over spatial rights, this paper proposes another framework for participatory design. As participation necessitates the question of participation in, what and for whom, we wish to bring in perspectives from citizens studies in which citizenship is something to be claimed, enacted and performed, as a potential for decolonizing the universal claim of participation in “participatory design” and reflecting on role of the designer in current social struggles. Instead of creating neutral participatory spaces for democratic dialogue, we argue that the designer may recognize the productivity of affective relations. With examples from a deportation camp in Denmark and a seminar in marginalized spaces of São Paulo, we address to how designers and activists turn the gaze from making minority groups participate in design and instead work with embodied and mediatized perspectives and the ethics of affect in the design process.

Sticks, Ropes, Land: Confronting Colonialism in Public Space Design

Jean Chisholm, Charlotte A. Falk, Laura E. Kozak

Common participatory design and community consultation practices often tokenize participants’ input. This can limit the depth of information shared, lead to disconnected understandings of site, and perpetuate hierarchical structures between designers, planners and the communities they seek to serve. Sticks, Ropes, Land proposes alternative approaches for engaging with community stewards and groups who get marginalized in the design of public space. Through the development of practices that pair material-based methods of making with activities grounded in direct connections to place, Sticks, Ropes, Land puts forward approaches to participatory design that aim to question and problematize colonial structures in relation to public space design. This paper examines a series of three approaches that designers might consider towards the work of serving and supporting the agency and rights of place-based communities.

Participatory Housing – Segal’s Self-build Method

Luisa Hilmer

This paper joins an already vibrant discussion about the challenging nature of Participatory Design (PD) in British housing design. Through an analysis of a case study – Walter Segal’s self-build method – it investigates how architects and residents fostered participation to engage communities in the decision-making process. The study suggests that participatory methods applied by practitioners let communities play an increasing role as driving forces for participation. In particular, it explores the relationship between the architect Walter Segal and Lewisham residents and simultaneously illuminates the structural and fundamental levels of PD through which housing design inevitably shapes the lives of its users. It demonstrates that PD processes in architecture require a design historical revaluation because they are significantly linked to material culture. In doing so, this paper highlights the correlation between design history and architectural practice as a possible platform for a reflection on the built environment and PD.

EXP5 – Joining

Friday 19th of June 1:00 pm (UTC -5)

Session chair: Mauricio Mejia

Indigenous Worldviews to Inform Participatory Creativity

Ricardo Sosa

This focused reflection explores how Mesoamerican worldviews can inform participatory work. Purépecha accounts of creation are examined here to discover insights and entailments that sustain other ways of creating. With this, we wish to formulate deep questions about the core beliefs and views of what design(s) can be in a more inclusive world.

Service design and participatory design: time to join forces?

Joanna Saad-Sulonen, Amalia de Götzen, Nicola Morelli, Luca Simeone

We address the theme of “participation(s) otherwise” by bringing forward what we see as an opportunity to combine existing participatory and service design approaches to participation in the way they weave connections between design, IT, digitalization and democracy, focusing on the context of the public sector. This is a context where participatory design, despite interest and projects, has not been widely adopted. However, service design, the ‘new kid on the block’, is establishing itself by very pragmatically addressing the emerging need for people-centered design approaches in organizations, including in the public sector. Service design might at first be easily dismissed by participatory design because of what may seem a superficial take on people-centeredness and its links to business-centered interest in ‘design’. With this exploratory paper, we emphasize what both disciplines can learn from one another and propose that participatory design and service design join forces in expanding notions of participation and addressing the challenges of digitalization in the public sector.

Design research for participatory policies: Paradoxes, Themes, Futures

Ashni Devan Shah, Milene Gonçalves, Ingrid Mulder

In keeping with the participatory turn, the current work discusses how a double-layered design approach can bring participatory design principles to the policy domain, illustrated by our experiences in a design project for the municipality of Delft, the Netherlands. More precisely, the approach described is double layered in nature, comprising of the Double Diamond design process, which aims to provide structure to the process, while the inclusion of the Frame Innovation method, aims to provide inspiration. First, this elaborate method is motivated in the context of the municipality of Delft, supported by current streams of literature on participatory design. Next, we present findings highlighting three pivotal moments experienced as a result of using this approach. By engaging in a reflective practice, key learnings and insights gained from the implementation of the approach are presented, as well as conclusions and recommendations for the field of design research within participatory design.

A Participatory Design Case Study in Environmental Design Education

Yumeng Xie, G. Mauricio Mejía, Paul Coseo, Chingwen Cheng

This article provides an overview and insights of challenges, potentials, and recommendations of teaching and applying Participatory Design (PD) in design education including the students’ point of view through studying a case – a Master of Landscape Architecture studio course in Arizona State University, U.S. Students collaborated with Mo’ili’ili community members in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. for two semesters, to co-design the renovations of Old Stadium Park through three phases of PD process – field study & listening; community engagement workshop (50+ people); and pop-up design conversations (100+ people). This research illustrates the challenges of integrating PD in design education, which includes uncertainty and flexibility, funding, trust-building, time management, access to diverse knowledge centers, research ability, and communication hurdles. As well as implications and recommendations such as encouraging students to be flexible; embracing uncertainty; making explicit learning goals; leaving comfort zones; improving communication and organizational facilitation skills; and utilizing research ability for better trust-building with communities.

EXP6 – Material Politics

Friday 19th of June 1:00 pm (UTC -5)

Session chair: Juan Salamanca Garcia

Hack-Ability Using Co-Design to Develop an Accessible Toolkit for Adding Pockets to Garments

Lee Jones, Meghrik Isagholi, Elizabeth Meiklejohn, Snow Xu, Kara Truskolawski, Jessica Hayon, Grace Jun, Pinar Guvenc

Fashion brands have started to include adaptive lines for individuals with dressing challenges, but they are often expensive, and are not always suited to an individual’s personal style or functional needs. To help with this we have co-designed a toolkit with collaborators with mobility disabilities so that they can alter their own garments or off-the-rack garments with accessible tools. In this paper we describe the co-design process for a stitch-less pocket adaptation and the tools and stencils that were developed with 9 collaborators as part of the Open Style Lab program. We discuss how our collaborators designed their garment adaptations to reflect their own style, all while using the same set of accessible stencils and tools.

Cultural Landscape Memory Artifacts Visibilization, A Codesign Strategy

Felix Augusto Cardona Olaya 

We present the initial part of the PD experience carried out in the territory of the Colombian coffee cultural landscape, with civilly organized senior citizens to claim their rights as victims of the Colombian armed conflict, with the objective to design with them, strategies of appropriation of the world declaration of its land- scape as a cultural heritage of humanity through memory artifacts visibilization.

The Participation of Cartonera Publishers in Brazil: the Micro Case Study of the Collective Dulcinéia Catadora

Carolina Noury

The cartonera publishing movement has become stronger and multiplied in several countries. The Spanish word cárton gave rise to the name of the publishers that work with cardboard in the production of book covers. In Brazil, the collective Dulcinéia Catadora was created in 2007, in the city of São Paulo, and is composed of collectors from various cooperatives, as well as professionals from other areas. The books published by these publishers include not only well-known writers but also those on the fringes of this market. By having their voices published and their art shown on book covers, and participating in all stages of production, from garbage collection to garbage transformed into a more valuable object, waste pickers boost their self-esteem and are also valued. By eliminating the hierarchy of the production process, publishers can subvert the neoliberal capitalist logic of production and create a micro-utopia by showing that another system is possible. The autonomy occurs through the creation of conditions that allow for the change of social and cultural norms in the life of those involved in book production. The handmade, non-copyrighted cardboard book is cheaper and can potentially reach more readers, a process of democratization of this artifact that is still considered elitist. In this sense, design has the power to be a social transformation agent of this micro-universe.

How Can Digital Textiles Embody Testimonies of Reconciliation?

Laura Cortés-Rico, Jaime Patarroyo, Tania Pérez-Bustos, Eliana Sánchez-Aldana

Despite the importance of reconciliation in Colombia as a process that citizens practice actively in their everyday lives, most research has deployed a top-down approach to this concept. In this paper, we question these trends and show how design can play a careful role in destabilizing this approach, allowing the emergence of several embodied and uncertain temporalities as well as situated meanings related to reconciliation. To accomplish this, we focus on an interdisciplinary research project that promotes co-creation spaces with four communities that use textile crafting as ways to narrate conflict and its aftermath, to re-think how they feel reconciliation in their daily life. Nurtured by theories of speculative thinking and ethnographies of the future, this research created a living lab that gathered university students and experts from the social sciences and textile and digital crafts, to think-with digital textile materialities about the feelings of reconciliation.

EXP7 – Navigating Positions

Friday 19th of June 1:00 pm (UTC -5)

Session chair: Rachel Clarke

Experiential evaluation as a way to talk about livability in a neighborhood in transformation.

Lieve Custers, Oswald Devisch, Liesbeth Huybrechts

In order to preserve the open space in a suburbanized region as Flanders (Belgium), densification is one of the ways to go. But densification means that the existing living environment transforms and has an influence on the livability. This can lead to resistance by the inhabitants: they want to keep the idea of livability in their neighborhood. In the case of the Heilig-Hart neighborhood, we use the method of experiential evaluation to open up the debate on livability in a transformative neighborhood. Hereby, we bring aspects of formal evaluation and joint fact-finding in a participatory action research. At the end of the paper we discuss the first observations of the enrolment of this method so far: the definition of values, its experiential quality via a test set-up and its resulting tradeoffs, its enhancement of communication between city policy and inhabitants by providing a common language and the skills that have been made visible and are developed throughout the process.

A Checklist For A Successful PD Student Project

Jesper Simonsen, Aisha Z. Malik, Gustav From, Marie F. Parslov, Lars T. Sørensen

We identify and exemplify a general checklist of eight important conditions required for a successful Participatory Design (PD) student project with external partners. We address projects aiming to embrace both analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation in complex real-life settings. The checklist is intended to support students, academic institutions, and private/public collaborative partners in planning, initiating, conducting and realizing larger student-driven PD projects.

Designing with as People

Juan Sanin

The expression ‘designing with people’ predefines paradigmatic roles for designers and people collaborating in a design process. This paper challenges this paradigm and asks what other forms of collaboration would look like and what expressions could we use to define them. It shares a personal account of a project originally aimed at designing tools for doing sensory therapies in a psychiatric unit, but where the people working and living there did not  assume the role of participants and I had to collaborate with them in their own terms and ended up making an arts trolley. Building on autonomous design, I propose the expression ‘designing as people’ to make sense of this experience. In the context of this conference, ‘designing as people’ is a provocation and invitation to explore forms of collaborative design where designers move away from the role of facilitators to become participants of creative processes of communities and learn to design in the ways that those who are not designers do it.

AT Makers: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Co-Designing Assistive Technologies by Co-Optimizing Expert Knowledge

Leila Aflatoony, Su Jin (Susan) Lee

Assistive technology (AT) improves the functional abilities of individuals with disabilities and enables them to perform activities of daily living independently. Custom-made ATs have recently received considerable attention because generic, ready-made, as-is AT solutions often do not properly address the unique and intricate issues arising from physical impairments. In this paper, we report on a series of workshops with the goal of studying how three distinct types of participants—occupational therapists (OTs), industrial designers (IDs), and an end-user with physical disabilities— co-designed do-it-yourself (DIY) ATs. We conducted a total of four co-design workshops in which we investigated the benefits of a multidisciplinary approach in designing AT solutions. We did so primarily by studying OT–ID–user knowledge exchange processes. The workshop results indicate that such collaboration empowers participants in a synergistic manner, thus giving rise to a combined expertise that is greater than the sum of their isolated skills, knowledge, and expertise. In other words, this combined expertise—comprised of clinical expertise; design expertise; and personal experiences, insights, and knowledge—resulted in the co-creation of novel and advanced AT solutions.

EXP8 – (Re)Framing

Friday 19th of June 1:00 pm (UTC -5)

Session chair. Christopher Frauenberger

A Collaborative Framework to Improve Public Participation Practice

Aulia Akbar, Johannes Flacke, Javier A Martinez, Martin van Maarseveen

In Indonesia, an annual participatory planning practice called Musrenbang is implemented to produce village development plans through public meetings. Being an obligatory process, Musrenbang is often poorly implemented due to problems such as power relations and disagreement among stakeholders. Enabling the stakeholders to find common understanding through knowledge integration is crucial to minimize these issues. As most villages do not have proper maps, we developed a collaborative spatial learning methodology to enable the village stakeholders to participate in the mapping process. Through the mapping exercise it is expected that we can support production of the village maps, and contribute to integrate stakeholders’ spatial knowledge; helping them to minimize the power gaps and to find common understanding through social learning experiences. Ultimately, it is expected that the developed methodology will improve the Musrenbang implementation at village level.

Participant’s View: Do our Methods Help Pursue PD Ideals?

Sara Klüber, Franzisca Maas, Anna Hohm, Jörn Hurtienne

Participatory Design (PD) has long been described as a way to democratize technology development by involving those affected by the outcomes. Besides a good fit of technology as the outcome, PD allows participants to ‘have a say’, and supports ‘mutual learning’ and ‘co-realization’. A diverse range of PD methods has been developed, but there is a shortage of empirical studies showing whether (and why) these methods help pursue PD ideals. We therefore report on a case study of a short-term evaluation approach that may exemplary close this gap, and that allowed us to gain more knowledge on how our method affected participants. Participants perceived moderate to high feelings of ‘having a say’, ‘mutual learning’, and ‘co-realization’. In future research, mutual learning may exemplarily be improved by introducing a changing peer-to-peer procedure to the method. The evaluation may further be advanced by taking expectations into account.

Participation through substituting and refusing

Sarah Robinson, Nicola J. Bidwell, Laura Maye, Nadia Pantidi, Conor Linehan

Asking participants to explore and critique prototype technologies by using them in the real-world settings of their communities is a common approach to democratizing design decisions. We report on a project that sought to seed a rural community radio station, and simultaneously test and refine an innovative radio technology. Living on a remote Irish island, community members saw value in the local radio contributing to the island’s sustainability and oral history preservation. The novel, but not yet stable, prototype radio platform, however, did not enable them to produce content within the time constraints and quality requirements they considered vital to their goals. In response community members substituted the prototype platform with a more stable and familiar setup. We reflect on participants’ refusal and argue that their technology substitution helped us not only to understand user and technical needs, but also meanings about participation that are integral to ensuring the genuine design democratisation.

Fighting Back Algocracy: The need for new participatory approaches to technology assessment.

Timothy C. Kariotis, Darakhshan J. Mir

City, municipal, and state governments around the globe are increasingly looking towards algorithmic solutions to long-standing and difficult problems in governance. We use the term algorithmic governance to capture this increasing use of predictive and other algorithms to provide efficiencies in the targeting of services and government processes. However, in the course of pursuing these efficiencies, openness, transparency, public accountability, and community-based deliberation, key pillars of democracy, come under threat when decision making is black-boxed in an algorithm. Furthermore, algorithmic governance (for example, in domains like welfare management) typically exacerbates the marginalization of the most disadvantaged in society, while simultaneously making such marginalization invisible to the larger citizenry. A hybrid technology assessment (TA) comprising of elements of both participatory TA (that involves public debate about technology) and constructive TA (that involves co-construction of technology between society and designers) employed through the framework of engineering technology for social justice, may help address these challenges.

EXP9 – Untangling

Friday 19th of June 1:00 pm (UTC -5)

Session chair: Daria Loi

Towards reciprocity in Participatory Design processes

Katrien Dreessen, Niels Hendriks, Selina Schepers, Andrea Wilkinson

Albeit achieving reciprocity is considered essential in much Participatory Design (PD) research, there remains a gap in the current literature on how PD practitioners working in community settings can obtain this. Through a literature review, we identified four characteristics of reciprocity that were used to analyse six different projects that all took place in the same neighbourhood and with the same group of designers. Starting from projects that failed in achieving reciprocal relationships, we distilled four defining and interconnected elements or handles for enabling reciprocity in PD processes. To attain reciprocity in a PD project, the project should be embedded in the community setting. This also implies that the involved designers need to have the willingness to be (or become) engaged, invest time and self-disclose personal information to build relationships within the community in order to establish a symbiotic agreement.

From ‘Thing-ing’ to ‘Musyawarah-ing’: De-colonising the Participatory Design Vocabulary

Tanja Rosenqvist

With Participatory Design (PD) increasingly applied across a range of cultural contexts, there is a growing need to better understand 

the relationship between PD and the many distinct traditional approaches to decision-making PD encounters and the democratic ideals underpinning them. Currently, the PD discourse is strongly tied to Scandinavian democratic history and ideals. Most prominently, contemporary PD literature has drawn links between design and the etymology of the word ‘Thing’ – a democratic gathering in ancient Northern European societies. While this concept provides a useful lens for planning and analysing PD projects conducted in Scandinavia, other conceptualizations of design might be more useful and appropriate for PD taking place elsewhere. By conducting an initial exploration of traditional approaches to democratic decision-making practiced in parts of the Asia-Pacific, this paper offers a small step towards appreciating the diversity of democratic ideals PD may meet, how PD may adapt to these, and what can be learned from them. The paper, specifically, explores the traditions of musyawarah-mufakat practiced in Indonesia, and to a more limited extend talanoa, berkaul and hui practiced in Fiji, Sumatra, and Aotearoa respectively.

Reflexive account-giving through ‘practice notations’: plural dimensions and dynamics of infrastructuring

Shana Agid, Yoko Akama

This paper takes contemporary infrastructuring discourses further to explore ways to notice, articulate, and learn from dynamic shifts that characterize contingent contexts of participatory designing. We explore the knowledge(s) that can emerge from generating understandings of movements in relation to changing conditions through the use of ‘practice notation’ in a long-term collaboration with an organization working to end the prison industrial complex in the US. Informed by dance notation, the project experimented through practices of inquiry that enabled understandings across multiple scales, from the local to the systemic, with a focus on how collectivity was imagined, built, challenged, and sustained. We consider how practice notations can complement dynamic accounts of infrastructuring by layering participants’ movement, ideas, and contexts to create new understandings of practice. In so doing, we commit to the ethics of providing richer and more grounded articulations of participatory practices-in-motion.

Political-pedagogical contributions to participatory design from Paulo Freire

Bibiana Serpa, Imaíra Portela, Mariana Costard, Sâmia Batista

The article seeks to present correspondences between the Pedagogy of the Oppressed and  Participatory Design, in order to reflect on emancipatory practices in design research contexts. We will approach how Paulo Freire’s pedagogical propositions can add layers of social and political reflection to discussions about democratic design, articulating the notion of Design Things. After that, we will present design experiments that aim to investigate issues of social, ethnic and gender inequality, with shared theoretical and practical approaches in the Design Anthropology Laboratory of the Superior School of Industrial Design, based in Rio de Janeiro State University.

Exploratory papers format