CHI 2011 Workshop: HCI, Politics, and the City (May 2011, Vancouver)

Website: http://staceyk.org/chi11workshop/
Dates: 7-8 May 2011
UPDATED! Workshop submissions deadline: 4 February 2011

Be bold. Play strategically. Think emotionally. Unite unexpectedly.

Join us in an exploratory two-day engagement with politics in and around Vancouver. Come with an open mind, fertile imagination and willingness to collaborate. Leave with new perspectives, synergies with grassroots movements and invigorated research ideas.

This is a hands-on workshop. We will not be reading papers all day. We will not be huddled in a dark hotel room. We will not marvel at each others’ fancy new slides. It’s time for HCI practitioners to open a real and healthy dialogue with grassroots communities and political themes. Help us initiate this vital new research direction.

Working together with local organizations in Vancouver, we will try to understand the processes, challenges and motivations that drive bottom-up movements. We will debate the needs and applicability of HCI practices to further the efforts of grassroots activists. We will propose new strategies, explore technical interventions and create political artifacts. We will make mistakes and we won’t always be right.

We invite you to contribute to the bottom-up processes that shape Vancouver, the city hosting CHI’11. Please read more about our workshop themes and visit our call for submissions.

January 14, 2011: Workshop submissions deadline
February 1, 2011: Accepted submissions notified
May 7-8, 2011: Workshop held in Vancouver, Canada (location TBA)

Workshop Submissions

From community gardens, street art and neighborhood watch campaigns, to rallies, protests and large-scale revolutions, bottom-up initiatives enable stakeholders to voice their concerns and enact change. We hope to bring together a diverse group of HCI researchers and practitioners, as well as activists and public artists to explore the unique challenges, goals, materials, and practices that underlie grassroots movements.
We invite submissions using one of the following formats:

Position paper in CHI archival format (maximum 4 pages); or

A photograph, video, website, etc. of a prior project, installation or expression in a public space, along with a brief description. The description (200 words or less) should include the goal of the project (creative expression, political message, etc.), the location and duration of installation; or

A creative proposal for a project (new system, interface, campaign, etc.) or design exercise to engage an activist group in Vancouver. The proposal can focus on an activist organization that might co-organize our workshop (AHA Media, The Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project, Pembina Institute) or another group in Vancouver. The proposal can be any format, including a video, website or write-up (maximum 4 pages) as long as it clearly states the goals of the proposed project.
In addition, participants are asked to submit a brief (100 words or less) personal biography.

We welcome submissions from participants outside the CHI community (artists, activists, etc.) as well as HCI researchers and participants from underrepresented disciplines within HCI (e.g., anthropology, literature, philosophy, political sciences, or the arts).

Submissions should be sent by email to stace@cs.cmu.edu by January 14, 2011. Please include the text “CHI 2011 Workshop” in the subject of your email.

Workshop Themes

The workshop will present a venue for participants, organizers and collaborating organizations to share their knowledge of social and technological practices that surround urban grassroots movements. Our goal is to explore issues associated with designing for—and with—urban grassroots communities. The workshop will focus on the following themes:

Grassroots tools and expressions
What technological and non-technological tools are used to achieve grassroots community goals? How is technology used to coordinate collective social action? What barriers hinder these processes?

Constraints
How do factors such as lack of funding, changing physical environments and resources affect the role researchers play in helping communities achieve their goals? How can technology enable communities to adapt to changing conditions? What are appropriate methods to engage community members in design processes in the face of changing circumstances?

Failures and risks
At times, grassroots movements face direct opposition from broader political structures, cultural practices and forces in the city. What are the practices through which communities overcome such challenges to enact change? How do groups recover from technical and organizational breakdowns?

Autonomy
What methods are appropriate for designing with activist communities as collaborators? How can researchers establish rapport and trust with grassroots communities? How might technology be designed to strengthen group solidarity— and potentially help recruit new community members?

Security and surveillance
How can researchers reconcile the ethical issues associated with technologies that can be used to violate local or federal laws? What are the underlying privacy and security implications for protecting grassroots participants? How does a post 9-11 world, marked by a culture of suspicion, surveillance and fear impact activist strategies, particularly in regard to publically-placed technical artifacts?

Power structures
What methods or approaches support decentralized power structures in social change communities? How should designers approach partnering with groups to empower the change they seek while holistically taking into account community members’ perspectives? Could researchers’ involvement with groups—and particular members—unsettle or subvert power structures and community relations?

Evaluation
What are appropriate metrics for evaluation of technologies designed to support grassroots communities? What role should action research play as a productive outcome of political computing research? Should evidence of social change from design interventions be an additional metric of evaluation?

Organizers

Carl DiSalvo, School of Literature, Communication and Culture, at the Georgia Institute of Technology, US
Tad Hirsch, Intel Experience Insights Lab, US
Stacey Kuznetsov, Carnegie Mellon University, US
Vicki Moulder, The School of Interactive Arts + Technology, Simon Fraser University, CA
William Odom, Carnegie Mellon University, US
Eric Paulos, Carnegie Mellon University, US
Ron Wakkary, The School of Interactive Arts + Technology, Simon Fraser University, CA

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About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is http://deseng.ryerson.ca/~fil.

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