Opening Keynote

“Challenging the Current State of PD and Looking Towards the Future of  Participation” by Morten Kyng and Susanne Bødker

Chair: Peter Dalsgaard, Aarhus University, Denmark

Motivated by the milestone achieved by the Participatory Design Conference – celebrating its 25 years anniversary, we contribute with a keynote where we look at the past, present and possible futures of participatory design. In particular, we revisit some of the early Scandinavian projects, and bring attention to issues like ‘systems-that-matter’ and ‘systems-in-use’ as well as other core elements, which we argue have become almost invisible in contemporary participatory design research. We use this insight to critically examine the current state of participatory design, in research as well as in real-life projects. The keywords for our criticism as well as for discussing future possibilities include: Motivation, scale, alternatives, conflicts, action, results, open platforms, and control. In our discussion of future possibilities, we present current large-scale projects as inspiration for developing future research agendas for participatory design. In particular, we position PD in an era of participation where user-involvement has been adopted by public and private organizations, and we suggest focusing on both participation and control.



Morten Kyng is professor of pervasive computing at the Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University and manager of Health IT at the Alexandra Institute, Denmark. He is currently doing cross-disciplinary research on contexts for design and participatory design within healthcare and welfare. He also works on experimental systems development, health IT, software ecosystems, IT infrastructure and, when necessary, international standards. He manages the open source foundation 4S that governs the national Danish Telemedicine platform OpenTele.

Susanne Bødker is professor of Human-Computer Interaction at the Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University. She is known for her theoretical and empirical work on second-wave Human-Computer Interaction, computer mediated activity, and participatory design. She currently does most of her research in relation to participation in physical and on-line communities.  She co-manages Aarhus University’s interdisciplinary center for Participatory IT research.