DIS’12 Workshop: Perspectives on Participation: Evaluating cross-disciplinary tools, methods, and practices (June 2012, Newcastle UK)

Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Date: 11th June 2012
Website: www.di.ncl.ac.uk/participation/dis2012
Deadline for submissions: 16 March 2012

In this workshop we aim to explore the growing fascination with participation across design, art, social science and the sciences in recent years. We find ourselves in a situation where the boundaries between participatory tools and methods from specific disciplines are becoming blurred. Researchers and practitioners must now negotiate the appropriateness of methods and tools given the different epistemologies and practices across various disciplines. There comes a temptation to develop or use new methods and processes without necessarily understanding those that have been used before. There is often little reflection on why we might want to involve people in design and artistic practices, nor understand the motivations of those who do participate and what they take from the process. At the same time, project and funding commitments may mean participation becomes an end in itself as opposed to a means for improving research processes and products.

We invite researchers and practitioners from HCI, Participatory Design, Participative Arts, Community Informatics, and the Cultural Heritage sector to participate in this one-day workshop where they will be asked to reflect on a prior participatory project they have worked on. In bringing this diverse community together, we hope to unravel the ethics and efficacy of particular approaches to engaging people in design and artistic processes, and unpick some of the epistemological drivers of participation in diverse disciplines.

We ask prospective participants to submit:

1. One-to-two page A4 PDF ‘perspectives’ poster document of no more than 600 words, outlining responses to the following questions based on experiences of a particular participative project.

  • Why were you motivated to involve people in a participative manner in this project, and why were people motivated to participate?
  • What were the key transformative moments within this project?
  • How did you measure the success of the project’s “outcomes”, if at all?

These ‘perspectives’ on the role of participation will be printed out on a large format (A1) for the day of the workshop and will be used as discussion points for the day’s activities. We welcome lively visual representations of projects in these documents, though this is not a requirement.


2. One page A4 PDF document outlining 2-3 issues or questions identified in relation to previous projects regarding the role of participation. These issues will be printed onto cards for the day and will inspire activities in the afternoon.

In keeping with the workshop topic we hope the day will be engaging and participative for all. The goal is to engender a cross-disciplinary network of researchers and practitioners with a joint interest in understanding and evaluating the participative methods, techniques and processes used in their practices. We plan to invite those who participated to contribute to a special issue of a participatory design and arts related journal on the topic of evaluating cross-disciplinary perspectives on participation. We also aim to provide each participant with an immediate outcome from the workshop in the form of a visual mapping of the key tensions, synergies and concerns identified during the day. This visual map will also be displayed at opportune times during the main DIS 2012 conference.

Please visit the workshop website for further information: www.di.ncl.ac.uk/participation/dis2012.

All submission material and any questions should be sent to John Vines: john.vines@newcastle.ac.uk.

Important dates:

  • Workshop submission deadline: 16th March 2012
  • Feedback to authors: 6th April 2012
  • Date of workshop: 11th June 2012

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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