Welcome to PDC 2016


The Participatory Design Conference (PDC) is a premier venue for presenting research on the direct involvement of people in the design, development, implementation and appropriation of information and communication technology. PDC brings together a multidisciplinary and international group of researchers and practitioners from multiple fields encompassing a wide range of issues that emerge around cooperative design. This includes, but is not limited to, Human-Computer Interaction, CSCW (computer supported cooperative work), Co-Design, Design Research, CSCL (computer supported collaborative learning), ICT4D (information and communication technology for development), design Anthropology, design Psychology, design Industry and the Arts.

The theme for PDC 2016 is ‘Participatory Design in an Era of Participation’. Over 25 years after the first PDC in 1990, participation and co-creation have become essential features of design and research into technology. Living in an era of participation prompts critical questions around the goals and practices of involving people in diverse aspects of developing, redesigning and using IT.

The distribution and promise of information technologies cut across emerging societal challenges at various levels. Sharing economy, crowdfunding and participatory cultures create new forms of engagement that challenge traditional ideas of participation. Public engagement in radical social innovation is used to address shrinking finances to public services, which has resulted in citizen-involving projects and labs in various domains. Maker technologies, notions of hacking and shared data, are promoting civic engagement with technology innovation that changes the material and socio-economic contexts of production. At the same time, centralization of the Internet, big data and large-scale infrastructuring challenge the core democratic ideals of PD.

These issues call for new perspectives on the values, characteristics, politics and future forms of PD. We encourage critical and constructive reflections about Participatory Design as a past, present and future endeavor in an era of participation!

We look forward to you joining us in Aarhus, Denmark, for the 14th Participatory Design Conference!

Rachel Charlotte Smith,  Anne Marie Kanstrup & Claus Bossen
PDC 2016 Conference Chairs