SP2: Why We Do Participatory Design

Different perspectives on the motivations, assumptions and values inherent in participatory design research and practice. Reflections on the early history of work presented at PDC how that has shaped the research community, through to novel ways of conceptualising participatory design and those engaged in its processes.

Thursday, 18 August, 09.00 – 10.30
Small Auditorium, INCUBA
Chair: Cristiano Storni, University of Limerick

The Early Shaping of Participatory Design at PDC

Ditte Amund Basballe, Aarhus University, Denmark
Kim Halskov, Aarhus University, Denmark
Nicolai Brodersen Hansen; Aarhus University, Denmark

Abstract: For 25 years the Participatory Design Conference (PDC) has been concerned with the understanding and development of Participatory Design in theory and practice. The main contribution of this paper is an informed understanding of how the participatory design tradition formed the early PDC community and how the PDC community’s understanding of PD developed during the 90s. The paper presents an inquiry into the recurrent, fundamental aspects of participatory design, namely: politics, context, product, people, and method. Using politics as our point of departure the paper elucidates how the core aspects were shaped and developed during the first decade of PDC. The paper thereby establishes a basis for advancing how interaction design researchers position and discuss their research in relation to the roots of participatory design at PDC. In the papers concluding remarks we suggest how contemporary researchers can build on, challenge, and fill in gaps in the PDC community’s understanding of PD.

Expanding Participation – Participatory Design in Technology Agenda-Setting

Marie Lena Heidingsfelder, Fraunhofer IAO, Germany
Simone Kaiser, Fraunhofer IAO, Germany
Florian Schütz, Fraunhofer IAO, Germany 

Abstract: Involving laypersons very early in research and innovation (R&I) processes is a particular and inherent characteristic of participatory design, PD. Within our research project Shaping Future, we applied this key feature and developed a methodology for the purpose of setting need-oriented research agendas in the field of human-machine interaction. Our current results suggest that methods of participatory design can be invaluable for co-determining research trajectories and co-setting research agendas. By promoting interaction on equal terms and transcending terminology barriers, these methods can help re-orient science and technology development toward public preference. In view of the dynamic evolution of participatory design, our project can help uncover new research fields and develop new approaches to technology development. This paper presents our theoretical framework, the process design and the developed methodology, giving insights in the interdisciplinary evaluation of generated data.

The Use of the Absent and Othering in Design and Critical Analysis of PD Activities

Bo Westerlund, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Sweden

Abstract: In this paper I explore the use of the concept representation and argue that it can complement the concept constituting in order to support the design and critical analysis of participatory design activities. John Law acknowledges that in a representation some things are made present, while others are deliberately made absent, which is necessary. But it is important to realise that there are also things that are Othered, i.e. things that are unconsciously repressed and absent. The concepts are explored with the help of two cases involving participatory design workshops. I discuss how both concepts can be used in order to make sense of these participatory design activities. The paper also reflects on the importance of what realities the method used supports to be made present.

Teaching PD – Experiences From a Small Industrial Project

Jeff Winter, Linnaeus University, Sweden
Linda Sharp, Maskinteknik AB, Sweden

Abstract: In this paper we reflect on teaching PD, in an experience report of a student project taking place in an industrial context. The paper contributes to discussions in the PD community about how PD is, and could be, taught. It looks at what happened in the project, and issues that arose, from the point of view of the students and the company. It looks at the way in which uncertainty and power relations have played a role in the project, and how the students have been affected by them. It discusses the importance of the co-design that took place, mainly around prototyping, and the difficulties students experienced when working with PD methods. It looks at the importance of the roles involved in the project. We end with important points for discussion concerning teaching PD.

Anchoring and Transcendence: PD as an ‘Enabler’ in Quality of Life

Niels Hendriks, KU Leuwen, Belgium
Katrien Dreessen, KU Leuwen, Belgium
Jessica Schoffelen, KU Leuwen, Belgium

Abstract: This paper links the concept of transcendence in participatory design with the discourse on quality of life and secondary gains. Secondary gains occur when a person with a disability re-interprets the disturbed balance between body, mind and spirit in their life and finds an enriched meaning secondary to the condition brought on by the disability. This re-interpretation can lead to an improvement of their perceived quality of life. This paper suggests that involving a person with a disability in a participatory design process might lead to transcendence, potentially resulting in acquiring secondary gains. We explored Bespoke Design, a participatory design project working with adults with type 1 diabetes in the creation of bespoke self-management tools. Evaluating the participatory design methods on the integration of anchoring elements and those of transcendence and how the interplay between those two elements lead to secondary gains, is central in our analysis.