I'm thrilled/challenged/excited/nervous to be helping to organise the first Industry Day
for this year's Participatory Design Conference
While you can check out the call for participation
for more specific details on the conference I wanted to provide a brief background on why I personally think this is important, and of course invite and encourage everyone to consider being involved.
Firstly, I believe opportunities to try and foster dialogue and collaboration and sharing of ideas between practitioners in industry
and those working more in academic contexts
are really important. And I also believe such a collaboration is especially important to design right now
Notions of participation in design and use, - what it might mean and how it can be enabled have changed radically even in just the last few years - for starters it is a much more visible concept in a lot of different places. The concurrent energies around civic engagement, co-design, open design, community design, crowdsourcing, open innovation and co-creation are all contributing to, and influencing how, participation is being re-defined (in different ways at different times by different people). Creating a space for dialogue where academic theory and practice can be
sharpened and invigorated by experiences and experiments from industry practice, and via versa, will, I hope, help us to grapple with some of the issues and questions inevitably emerging out of these shifts.
The Participatory Design Conference is an interesting locale to do this because it has always been an important venue for international discussion of the collaborative, social and political dimensions of technology innovation and use.
Questions of participation are questions of politics, control and power. As more and more of our systems and services become mediated through technology, the need for participatory approaches to the design of those systems only becomes more urgent. (Think Facebook and privacy, or maybe open government).
Participatory Design is one of the few (I believe) design and technology forums where the politics of design has always been at the forefront - and we need more of this critical thinking behind us as we move towards new spaces of collaboration - to ensure that participation isn't just "the new black".
I'm excited about Industry Day at PDC to bring together local and
international researchers and practitioners around the issues of participation in all the forms they may currently take. This is the first time there has been an Industry Day at PDC, it will be a bit experimental in itself - and probably quite intimate - but I think the opportunity to bring together local and international practitioners and researchers around questions of participation (and how technology can support that) is a valuable one.
Please Consider Submitting a Case Study!
The conference this year is being held in Sydney, Australia, the first time in the Southern Hemisphere, which is great for those us down under, but a fair distance for most others. We are currently looking into ways we might support remote participation, and are happy to hear from people who might want to have some form of non physical presence :) And of course we can extend the discussion here too.
(some definitions below of what I mean by PD)
What is Participatory Design?
Participatory Design is a diverse collection of principles and practices aimed at making technologies, tools, environments, businesses, services and social institutions more responsive to human needs. A central tenet of Participatory Design is the direct involvement of people in the co-design of things and technologies they use.
Participatory Design has its roots in the Scandinavian labour movement of the 70’s and over the years has broadened its impact to areas such as health care, international development, civic engagement, local government, education, communications, agile software development, new media, architecture, the arts and more. Methods that are becoming common in industry today such as co-operative prototyping, future workshops and scenarios had their origins in early Participatory Design research. More about the Participatory Design conference