UID Research Seminar

The UID Research Seminars take place every second Tuesday at 13 (to 15) in the Research Studio. It is open, and you are more than welcome to join our discussions.

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November 13 - Research Seminar with Heather Wiltse

Conceptualizing digital mediation: Structures, dynamics, and consequences

13:15-15:00, Research Studio, Umeå Institute of Design

Me At UAC

Everyday life has come to be digitally mediated to a quite significant extent. This mediation includes both intentional use of connected things as well as other forms of contact with the myriad touchpoints of what have become planetary-scale computational processes and flows. Digital mediation cannot be understood solely in terms of intentional use and user experience, since much of what they are and do falls outside of this frame. This paper argues that incisive conceptualization of digital mediation in general is therefore needed in order to understand and articulate the role digital things now play in not only experience, but also in distributions of power and agency, visibility and invisibility-and to provide insight on how to design in order to better care for their consequences. The paper attempts to outline some key elements of such a framework, pulling together and integrating previous work. It begins by considering earlier modes of sense-making in relation to technologies and how they have shifted to accommodate changes in understanding of what technologies are and can be, and the roles that they play in everyday life and society. It then begins to lay the groundwork for some basic shifts currently needed in order to grapple with connected digital things. It does this through proposing and articulating a set of structures, dynamics, and associated consequences of digital mediation that can be used to frame further investigation.

Heather Wiltse is currently Assistant Professor at Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University (Sweden). Her transdisciplinary research centers around trying to understand and critique the role of digitally connected, responsive, and changing things in experience and society in ways that can inform response-able design.  Building on a background in informatics, human-computer interaction, design, and communication and culture, Heather's research focus currently sits primarily at the intersection of design studies and philosophy of technology.  Her recent book  Changing Things: The Future of Objects in a Digital World  (with Johan Redström) investigates and articulates what has become of things as computational processes, dynamic networks, and contextual customisation now emerge as factors as important as form, function and material were for designing, using and understanding objects in the industrial age.

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October 30th - Research Seminar with Nicholas B. Torretta: 

Anti-oppressive design for sustainabilities - whose design, whose sustainability? 

13:15 - 16:00,  Red Room, Umeå Institute of Design 

 MG 0316

Can design for sustainability be non-oppressive and decolonial? How do we deal with diverse ways of being with and as worlds in design? In this seminar I introduce a project that explored directions for anti-oppressive DfS by engaging with diverse forms of being with and as worlds in design. Posing the need of increasing situated awareness, relationality, humbleness and care in design, the findings from the project will serve as starting point to discuss oppression and colonization in design and the possible ways for transforming design for sustainabilities into being non-oppressive and non-colonial.

Nicholas B. Torretta is a Brazilian designer with focus on the social interaction aspects of design for sustainability. He has been working with design for sustainability in Sweden, Finland, Mexico, Mozambique and Brazil. Currently Nicholas is a PhD candidate at Umeå Institute of Design, where his research concerns anti-oppressive and non-colonial approaches to design as a way to nurture diversity through design

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October 16th - A Real Imaginary Experiment - Enrique Encinas 

13:15-15:00, October 16, 2018 - Red Room, UID 

The life of a design research PhD happens among a cohort of real and fictional objects. There are materials and possibilities, words and ideas, objects and events. Telling the fictional and the real apart is a challenging task that might not make sense at all when designing. In this seminar I propose to take a look at a very real thing for a PhD: a paper published. It is a real paper about real people that write real words about real problems without revealing their real identities. It addresses a real issue about an imaginary paradigm for HCI researchers. It supports its real argument not through the use of real data but through real abstracts from imaginary papers. In bringing this paper to your attention I'd like to share not only what it is but how it came to be and the objects I considered real or fictional in the process. My presentation will be brief so we can have fun chasing the real and fictional objects that makes a PhD what it is.

I am a designer who studied electrical engineering in ETSIT (Madrid), semiconductor tech in NTU (Taiwan) and participatory design in SDU (Denmark). I have briefly supported artists in Medialab Prado (Madrid) and technical systems in Vodafone Spain. Now I am working on a PhD in Northumbria University by researching the region of the design spectrum where fiction is most visible.  enrique.encinas@northumbria.ac.uk

Recommended pre-reading: "Making Problems in Design Research: The Case of Teen Shoplifters on Tumblr." Encinas, Enrique, Mark Blythe, Shaun Lawson, John Vines, Jayne Wallace, and Pamela Briggs. Montreal, Canada, 2018. http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/33898/

Enriqueencinas

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Seminars Spring 2018

22 May 2018, 13.15-15.00
Research studio
Trang Vu
Writing workshop - "Finding your little place: Conceptual tools for constructing arguments"

This workshop focuses on how an argument can be constructed building on existing theories/concepts while opening up new perspectives. As an author, you are often expected to assertively put your points across, clearly convince readers of their significance, and demonstrate that the points are argued from rigorous critical reading. This can be a challenging task. Some of our observations from the last Academic Writing workshop in Autumn 2017 show that UID writers found themselves ¨the invisible me", "the inauthentic me", "the frustrated me", "the lagom scholar me" when working with theories and trying to communicate their own stance. This workshop provides you with an opportunity to look at your text and evaluate your own little space of argumentation. You will also start to reflect on and analyse your author's voice.

To prepare for the workshop, please bring a sample of 3 or 4 pages from your thesis or an assignment that you are working on. The writing should come from a part where you discuss your research in connection with theories/key concepts.

Please also send the sample to Trang Vu (trang.vu@umu.se) by end of Thursday 17/5/18.


8 May 2018, 13.15-15.00
White room
Aditya Pawar
OPEN-COLLABORATIVE-DESIGN
Participatory design between situated collaborations and the rhetoric of openness

This practice-based research sets out to investigate and intervene in practices of community based participatory design as effected by the rhetoric of openness. The thesis proposes the re-articulation of openness as it relates to the relational core of collaborative design. At stake here is the uncritical adoption of an increasingly ambiguous notion of openness inparticipatory design, which can create new forms of closure. Through a programmatic enquiry between the practices and rhetoric of openness, I propose three dimensions of open-collaboration that draw out a field of operation for designers. The practice based research elements include situated participatory design engagements with communities within and outside institutional boundaries. The first set of studies (Study 1) takes place with food producing communities and consecutive studies (study 2 and 3) take place within an open maker-space environment and in a design classroom respectively. Each study highlights a particular form of open-collaboration. Relating these particular instantiations of opencollaborations (as expressed by the studies) in relation to the research programme provides us with ways to reposition our participatory practices.

The thesis contributes a theoretical-practice toolbox to reposition a participatory design practice as forms of open-collaboration. And in general, create the conditions for a responsible society characterized by collective agency and the capacity to respond to local needs.


 13 April 2018, 10.00-12.00
Research studio
Holly Robbins
"Reflecting on Navigating Between STS and Design Practice"

HollyRobbins

In this seminar, I will reflect on some of the tensions that emerged in the course of conducting my PhD research navigating between science and technology studies (STS) and design practice. As a design researcher, I was concerned with theorizing "the black box" and how design could potentially support approaches to make it more legible. From STS I was working with Albert Borgmann's work on the device paradigm and focal things and practices. I made inquires into his work with a methodological cocktail of research through design and design anthropology.


This discussion will not be so much about the content of the research itself, but more of a reflection on my own experiences, and teasing out some of the tensions that emerged in navigating between STS and design practice. These tensions reflected different styles of working, values and assumptions. In particular, I found that between design practice and STS there were tensions between working with different levels of specificity and abstraction, reference points, and modes of evaluation. In this seminar I will first elaborate and contextualize some of these tensions that I experienced, but I hope to use this seminar as an opportunity to share and discuss our own experiences and reflections in trans-disciplinary design research.


10 April 2018, 13.15-15.00
Red room

Research Seminar Double Bill
Tuesday 10 April 2018, 13.15-15.00
Red room

doublebill-2

D. E. Wittkower
"On Disaffordances and Dysaffordances"

Despite the still-tempting myth of technological neutrality, examples of technologies with political effects surround us, and their politics are better and better recognized-from the racist Band-Aid or "flesh colored" crayon, to the sexism of "girls" and "boys" toys, to the enforcement of ethic and gender categories in data entry fields. Research on the politics of technology is also longstanding and ongoing, from Langdon Winner's 1980 "Do artifacts have politics" to Safiya Umoja Noble's just-published Algorithms of Oppression.

This presentation seeks to support research on the politics of technology by framing a theory of disaffordances and dysaffordances. I argue that a systematic theory is necessary to clarify when technologies pass from being merely inconvenient or badly designed to being discriminatory, and present a couple of ways of getting at that distinction through extensions to affordance theory. While this work is directed toward supporting research with new theory, the talk will not be technical, and will address a series of lively examples, including racist webcams, sexist baby strollers, religious discrimination in calendars, and sexist thermostat settings.

doublebill-1

Bruno Gransche
"Unnecessary and not impossible - Critique and design as the drivers, challenges, and consequences of accidence"

The impossible, the possible, and the necessary are three modal domains. If one wants to learn about worldviews, ambition, skills, or self-efficacy of others, it pays off to analyze how they classify entities with regard to these domains. The extension of each domain varies historically, ideologically, and individually but the extension of the possible is the only one in which decisions and actions matter. The impossible and the necessary cannot be altered by actors. The possible can. Challenging these definitions is an act of modal criticism and a prerequisite to the shaping of futures.

Throughout the history of philosophy, the entities belonging to these modal domains underwent significant changes: Aristotelian ontology differentiates between inalterable substances that inhere essential attributes and nonessential accidents; Descartes opposed the two substances res cogitans and res extensa; empiricism and sensualism foster experience and perception as epistemologically primary to substance; Kant positioned substance as the hypothetical persisting rest within the changes of perceptible qualities; phenomenology emphasized the givenness of the world for a consciousness and so on. These drifts predominantly follow one direction: from the eternal towards the alterable, from the impossible and necessary towards the possible.

For the therefore increasingly growing domain of the "unnecessary and possible" I propose the term accidence. The histories of philosophy, of sciences in general, and of technological "progress" show an expansion of accidence. Criticizing the respective definitions of the necessary and the impossible is one driver of this expansion. Actual attempts to shape and design the newly possible informs the observer about the hypothetically possible and the actually possible subdomains.

Critique and design, technological and social progress expand the accidence domain. I will discuss this dynamic as well as its effects and challenges. If almost everything can be potentially different - what follows from that: a wider future or no future at all?


20 March 2018, 13.15-15.00
Research studio
Marije de Haas
"The art of dying well - with dementia"

MarijeDeHaas

My research is about euthanasia in dementia, based on the dutch legal framework for euthanasia. Euthanasia in dementia is legally possible in the Netherlands, but in practise this rarely happens because the symptoms of dementia clash with the due care criteria for euthanasia: the patient must be able to consent at the time of death, and there must be unbearable and hopeless suffering.

I am trying to address these problems through speculative designs. I am creating three speculations that each tackle a specific problem area:

1) A person may have a rational and considered request for euthanasia in case of dementia, however, doctors can't or won't comply with this request if the patient in question can't confirm this request at time of death (even if this is because of the symptoms of dementia).
> Can we alleviate physician's responsibility in considering euthanasia requests?

2) Suffering is hard to assess; it is subjective and context based. Suffering is even harder to assess when one can't communicate effectively with the person whose suffering you are trying to measure.
> How can we measure suffering in dementia?

3) Ideas on what is a good death vary over time and cultures. In contemporary western culture death is a taboo and rarely discussed. When death is considered by those who are terminally ill, or professionally engaged in this subject, it is preferred to die "prepared", to finish what is important and to leave your loved-ones able to cope without you.
> How can one have a good death in dementia?

For this seminar I would like to hold a design crit. I will present the three speculations and I invite you to critically appraise the speculations crafted and give me feedback.
• Do the speculations I have crafted (successfully) address the problem areas identified?
• How can I best use these speculations to further the debate?

I would also like to reflect on:
• Using design in design research: how do we address the quality of the designs created?
• Using design in design research: how can we write about the designs created?
• Using design in design research: how can we invite readers to observe the designs created in their original intended form (i.e. how do we get them to click a link and watch a video?)


6 March 2018, 13.15-15.00
Research studio
Morteza Abdipour
"The Structure of Thesis"

In this seminar, I will present my thesis contents and discuss about the chapters with more details. Some failures and lessons that I have learnt so far by doing my Ph.Licentiate dissertation.

The structure of this thesis has influenced by constructive design and practice based research methodology. Particularly, I apply upon the use of the program approach and developing the whole thesis by tiding the lab prototyping and experiments together with theoretical elements. Such this structure provides possibility of emerging invisible work relationships between Digital Wallpaper (DW) and people.


22 Feb 2018, 13.15-15.00
Green room
Arianna Mazzeo
"Performative Citizenship. A design intervention with Umea. Toward a civic co-production"

Topic: Design interventions are signals of social making in the city all over the world. What if Umea is the open lab of opportunity for all?
Researching trough design and performative ethnography we explore how theory and practice are inseparable in the making of our
relations.
AUDIENCE: Design Students, Encounters, Faculty, Phds, Community, Citizens.
ROOM: With flexible space, projector, internet, open space for working in groups and move around the space, outside
METHODOLOGY: Co-design, Performative Design Ethnography
FACILITATOR: Arianna Mazzeo ( DesisLab Elisava Director and Director Masterlab Service Design Systems, Exploring place and community through design research)
MATERIALS: internet, projector, mobile ( your own).
LEARNING OUTCOMES: You will learn how co-design a performative design intervention with Umea citizens, working with a multidisciplinary team of Umea Faculty, phDs, Researchers and encounters.

Arianna Mazzeo
Arianna is Design Research and Social Digital Innovation Professor as well she is the Director of the Masterlab in Service Design Systems, and Head of International Relations at the Elisava Barcelona School of Design and Engineering, Barcelona, Spain. Involved in European Innovation Projects since 2000, she coordinates under the frame of the Open Design Program, the first European Open Design School based on the open culture values, collaboration and co-design with community and collaborative cities, to open new scenarios in design education trough design research. She holds a PhD in Design Ethnography and she is responsible for the design research group Cambio / Changes, helping professionals, private and public institutions, cultural and creative hubs, administrations, foundations, associations and creative industries as well as informal groups to research through design for a real impact. From September 2017, she lead with Ezio Manzini,  the Desis Network Cluster " Design for City- Making" to explore how cities can play a role in generating, or regenerating, urban commons. She has worked in Cameroon, Mexico, Turkey, Armenia, and South Africa on social digital innovation programs and local government policy agenda, in order to re-design and re-think design education through new open educational resources (OER) and new learning formats outside the classroom, in the city as the open lab of opportunities for all.


6 Feb. 2018, 13.15-15.00
Aditya Pawar
"Taxonomies of openness"

The proliferation of the term openness in design practice, often in combination with rhetoric of diversity, innovation and creativity has made it a buzzword. As the term continues to be part of a designer's vocabulary it's meaning increasingly becomes obscured. This presentation tries to enhance the conceptual clarity of the term and distinguishes 4 concepts of openness from: object-oriented, organisational, socio-economic and the socio-political. Each concept has a different understanding of openness based on its historicity and the choice of methodology that its practitioners espouse. This presentation also points to the values and stakes ascribed to each stance. In this presentation, I will argue for the need to develop a critical conversation based on a figure- ground relationship between collaboration and openness, which will help us to make sense of the objects, values, motives of collaborations in participatory design projects.
This presentation is an iteration of the chapter 'framing openness' from the draft of my 50% thesis and will be presented as a conversation prompted by examples from my thesis work.


30 Jan. 2018, 13.15-15.00
White room
Monica Lindh Karlsson
"Threshold for embracing togetherness"

We have investigated industrial design and ways to open up for involvement while doing design together in terms of aesthetics. Although aesthetics historically have been approached in various ways, we have found the role for a designer as responsible for a whole as ruling social order have not changed. Hence, we have highlighted the threshold of designers acknowledged to be responsible for a whole and keeping things together. Through project courses in design education with multi-disciplinary teams we have explored ways to break with pre-dominating social orders that position designers as responsible. From our initial investigations we argue that design doing can embrace democracy in terms of aesthetics, if we recognize those involved as accountable for a whole. Such re-thinking of social orders allows aesthetics to shift gravity from a programmatic order based on one position, toward a distribution of several voices to be heard and a collective exploration of a whole.

We have found that industrial design can be pushed toward a social order framed as shared accountability for a whole in terms of aesthetics. We have articulated that industrial design can be pushed toward an aesthetic order allowing a poetical and socio-political aesthetic to emerge, distributing recognition of several voices and positions toward a whole.

If we are to develop industrial design to meet contemporary challenges of e.g. democratization and diversity, we might need to consider designers' capacity to bring in diversity through poetical socio-political aesthetics. Hence, we need to question how social orders position designers as responsible for a whole, and subsequently the way we organize and conduct design education.


16 Jan. 2018, 13.15-15.00
Term kick-off
Collective

Seminars Fall 2017


12 Dec. 2017, 13.00-15.00
Marije de Haas
Søren Rosenbak

Special double bill: Design fiction bonanza!


5 Dec. 2017, 13.15-15.00
Aditya Pawar
"Design and open-collaboration in post-industrial society"


31 Oct. 2017, 13.15-15.00
Morteza Abdipour


24 Oct. 2017, 13.15-15.00
Nicholas Torretta


3 Oct. 2017, 13.15-15.00
Annika Bindler (University Library)
Writing workshop


12 Sept., 13.15-15.00
Marije De Haas
"Speculative design: An Advance Euthanasia Directive for Dementia"

In this seminar we explore the ethical complexities around euthanasia requests for dementia.


5 Sept. 2017, 13.15-15.00
Nicholas Torretta
"Humble design"


28 Aug 2017, 13.15-15.00
(collective)
Semester kick-off and planning



Seminars Spring 2017

16 May 2017, 13.15-15.00
"Embodiment of people and convey the influences of large display at domestic environment"
Morteza Abdipour

Imagine in coming years we go to a store and buy some rolls of digital wallpaper. After installing in an environment, the entire of surface becomes interactive display. This might be interesting, but how home environment will change when we use Large display at home? What large display can do in real world?

In this seminar, I attempt to present the general understanding of the key elements that are necessary to make the structure of this research and particularly the main ones to formulate the research question. There are many ways to study but the main challenge is how do I choose the choices? The model and examples that I will argue in this complex subject tries to give a tangibility of situation to understand the notion of large display and scale of application. This might help me to identify what do I need to fulfil the research program among of methodological choices.

Last month, I set up some studies in the Design Lab to explore people's behaviour in terms of experiencing ambient large display. I will present briefly the observations that express what did people do during different sessions? How they adapted their behaviour? What they require to experience appropriately in terms of using big screens as virtual environment in the lab?


9 May 2017, 13.15-15.00
"50% seminar onwards: 'Design for open collaborations"
Aditya Pawar

The seminar traces the feedback from Aditya's 50% seminar and the reflections between research programme and experiment.
The seminar will bring up questions on how the research is positioned within a community of practice, what methodological choices have been made and end with what might an exemplar of such a design proposal look like.


2 May 2017, 13.15-15.00
"Questioning the past to ask the future"
Nicholas Baroncelli Torretta

My PhD research concerns the interplay between learning, practicing and teaching in collaborative design for sustainability. I pay special attention to how we articulate and address the power relations and privilege of positions involved in such design practices.


18 April 2017, 13.15-15.00
Janaina Teles Barbosa

I would like to invite you for my seminar where I will talk about the main topics of my research project and the challenges that I am facing at the moment.

The title of my PhD research project is: Designing collaboration for commoning: micro-power dynamics in urban transitions. I am examining the roles of design agency in the experience of making together in urban design practices, asking: How can design practices create, support and sustain transition spaces that facilitate transition practices for commoning in urban communities? Thus, I am exploring this issue though a qualitative analyse of four case studies, two in Brazil and two in Portugal.

About me:
I´m a PhD student in Design at the Aveiro University in Portugal and I am currently a visiting PhD guest student at the UID where I intend to improve the methodology of my ongoing research through a knowledge exchange with other students at UID.

My background is in Anthropology and Visual Arts. In the past 10 years, I have been working in research projects related with the production of meanings related with the production of traditional handcrafts in rural communities in Brazil, including artistic community interventions for social inclusion. Moreover, I have also been developing personal artistic projects on the scope of urban performances, art installations and photography.


4 April 2017, 13.15-15.00
Writing workshop
(collective)


28 March 2017, 13.15-15.00
"Inquiries into limitations and possibilities to regulate design situations"
Daniela Rothkegel

My research combines a design perspective with a systemic approach on the role of information generation. The focus of my research is methodological. I am interested into the generation and handling of information in human-technology relationships with the help of intermediary objects. Intermediary objects are transitional states of products. Therefore I am investigating into the basis for designers to understand the content of ideas practically while making proposals.


7 March 2017, 13.15-15.00
"Aesthetics of Being together"
Stoffel Kuenen

A workshop on the trajectory of an argument from set-up to closure in a dissertation.


21 Feb. 2017, 13.15-15.00
"Drifting"
Monica Lindh Karlsson

At our research seminar next week we will do a workshop together.

The aim of the workshop-seminar is to collectively, and individually, explore our research landscapes in our project and studies in terms of experimentation and 'drifting'.

We will take the notion of 'drifting' as our point of departure and critically explore our own programmes e.g. how we see actions building up our arguments, how things related, or not relate, to our programmes.
Peter Gall Krogh presented his project of drifting at an earlier research seminar at UID.  However, since not all of us where there at time and others might want to re-fresh his idea of drifting, I attach the article that Peter Gall Krogh has written together with Thomas Markussen and Anne Louise Bang.

In the workshop seminar we will create our own tentative visualization of our programmes and use them for discussing and problematize ways of conducting Research Through Design from our own positions. (Think of the visualization that I presented at our last PhD Festival 2016). We will look into and discuss things that are concerns of issues for us and also collectively reflect over our materials.

Everyone are asked to bring issues, perspectives and challenging concerns to the workshop.


7 Feb. 2017, 13.15-15.00
"Mediating (infra)structures: Technology, media, environment"
Heather Wiltse

This will be a text seminar based on a forthcoming book chapter.

The underlying argument of the chapter is that it is crucially important to (re)consider the intellectual tools that are brought to bear on phenomena and practices involving contemporary networked computational things. These are things that are often very active and interconnected; and they have functions and behaviors that are hidden beneath user-facing surfaces and may even be very different from the functionality and character a person experiences during interactions with and through it. This state of affairs calls for new conceptual and analytic lenses that build on the strengths of existing ones, but also recognize the inadequacies of existing perspectives and thus develop in the new directions that are required. The chapter develops the analytic lens of mediating (infra)structures as a way to synthesize these matters that are foregrounded, and to point toward new analytic directions and sensitivities that are required.


24 Jan. 2017, 13.15-15.00
"Pata-design Post-50%, Part II"
Søren Rosenbak

My research concerns the prototyping of a pataphysically infused critical design practice (what I've come to refer to as pata-design). In this seminar, I'll pick up some of the key discussion points from my 50% seminar in June 2016, in order to sketch out future research trajectories for the year ahead. In this way, I hope to have an informal discussion about ways to move forward. Hope to see you there!

 


An archive of previous years' seminars is found here