FP1: Plurality

This theme draws attention to design that is invested in recognizing and marshalling resources that are valued for their differences; contributions address the possibilities of social transformation of practical strategies to support commoning practices; of the value of respecting different types of expertise within stakeholder types; and of participation that engages explicitly, inclusively and creatively with the particularities of relationships and assemblies in PD.

Wednesday, 17. August, 11.00 – 12.15
Peter Bøgh Andersen Auditorium, Nygaard
Chair: Andrea Botero, Aalto University

Computing and the common: An Empirical Case of Participatory Design Today

Maurizio Teli, University of Trento, Italy
Angela Di Fiore, University of Trento, Italy
Vincenzo D’Andrea, DISI – University of Trento, Italy

Abstract: With this paper we contribute to the ongoing discussion on the transformations of Participatory Design to address current societal transformations. We focus on how the implications of the emergence of financialized capitalism, characterized by “accumulation by dispossession”, could be reduced by the nourishment of the “common”. In taking this approach, we claim that nourishing the “common”, which refers to the ensemble of the material and symbolic elements that tie together human beings, would allow a renewal of Participatory Design, reinvigorating its political agenda. We base our reasoning on a project called ThinkDigiTank, the goal of which is the construction of a digital platform supporting a network of Italian “think tanks”, which refers to organizations aimed at producing political and cultural thinking. In this paper, we theoretically articulate the needs of a PD process nourishing the common and we discuss the empirical case, highlighting the possibilities of a renewal in PD and practical strategies to support commoning practices.

Designing an Educational Game For and With Teenagers with High Functioning Autism

Benoît Bossavit, Universidad Publica de Navarra, Spain
Sarah Parsons, University of Southampton, United Kingdom

Abstract: This paper describes a Participatory Design approach which involved teenagers with High functioning Autism in the design of an educational game to learn about Geography via the use of Natural User Interfaces. We designed sessions with specific activities which were guided by the interaction between the teachers and students on the day. The corresponding activities implicitly shaped the roles that each stakeholder undertook such as user, informant, tester, co-designer, motivator or facilitator. As a result, adults and young people together designed and tested a digital educational game based on their expertise as programmers, teachers, and video gamers, respectively. The project took place in a highly specialized school for young people with Special Educational Needs. This paper contributes by highlighting the importance of supporting students to participate on their own terms. Moreover, equity in participation is not about sharing all decisions but about managing and respecting the different types of expertise that each partner brings to the design team.

Reflexive Engagement – Enacting Reflexivity in Design and for ‘Participation in Plural’

Suvi Pihkala, University of Oulu, Finland
Helena Karasti, Roskilde University, Denmark

Abstract: This paper joins the discussion on participation in Participatory Design (PD) by proposing reflexivity as an orientation for engaging in design and for the plurality of participation. Based on our study in which a social media-supported collaboration model was designed with professionals working against workplace harassment, the paper recounts how the designer–researcher’s reflexive orientation allowed participation to be uncovered as manifold and dynamic and how this affected the design process. We discuss the critical sensitivity and attentiveness enacted in design practice as reflexive engagement that encouraged negotiations of roles, goals, and technology. Regarding participation, we discuss reflexive engagement with multiple relationships, participatory assemblies and their intersections and overlaps—participation in plural—in our study. We conclude by proposing the conceptualization of reflexive engagement as an orientation for PD designers to engage in the particularities of situated design practices, while holding to the ethical (political), practical and creative commitments of PD.