Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Values, computing and design

Graduate Student Workshop: Values in Computer and Information System Design
August 1-12, 2005
Santa Clara University, USA

I remember finding out about this workshop two weeks after the proposal deadline, and thinking, wow, that sucks. And now that I see the stellar line-up of student projects it sucks even more. (Still, seeing a workshop like this gives me hope that my generation of researchers and designers will indeed offer more social and cultural perspectives, and critically address more political and ethical concerns.)

I see a couple of friends (hey!): Biella Coleman is looking at how hacker cultural values "shape the direction of design principles" and how these values are "undermined or realized" in the 'real world'. Carl DiSalvo is researching the relationships between technology design and use, agency and "how can we use design as a critical and interventionist device" to better understand both. Yes.

There's also a bunch of people I don't know but want to learn more about: Anke van Gorp is researching "how engineers deal with ethically relevant issues in daily engineering design practice.". Kirsten Boehner and Shay David are looking at how ambiguity in design "stands in direct contrast to the common strategies of reductionism and representation". Jericho Burg is investigating "how different understandings of famine become embedded in famine early warning systems, and how this shapes humanitarian efforts". Eddan Katz is addressing how the DMCA acts in favour of copyright holders because of the law's "isolation of technology from its human use" and its "attribution of moral agency to a technological device". Matthew Kam is figuring out "how to design technologies that empower underserved communities in both 'third world' and developed countries to raise their living standards". Tish Stringer is investigating "practices and technologies of collaboration and communication used by social movements". And others. All cool.

For interested folks, Design Issues often covers related topics, and last summer they put out a special issue on STS and the Social Shaping of Design. I'm also for more ethnographies of scientists and engineers.

PS to Mum & Dad - My work is related to the stuff above. It looks at how mobile and pervasive computing work with particular understandings of space and culture, technology and everyday life. This includes the social and cultural values and assumptions that researchers and designers build into these technologies. (Things like who we are, what we do or how we interact with others, what we believe and what we want.) I try to understand how those ideas and actions both open up and restrict the ways we can use technology to create relationships with each other and the places in which we live.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

best regards, nice info
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