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Connor Graham <[log in to unmask]>
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Connor Graham <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 3 Aug 2007 21:58:34 -0400
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Workshop on Social Interaction and Mundane Technologies (simtech
workshop), University of Melbourne, 26th - 27th November, funded
by European Microsoft Research Fellowship.
Contributions in the form of 4 page position papers (ACM SIG format)
are invited for a one and a half day workshop at the University of
Melbourne, Australia.
Deadline for submissions is September 10th (see below)


This one and a half day workshop, supported by Mark Rouncefield's
European Microsoft Fellowship "Social Interaction and Mundane
Technologies", and preceding the 2007 Australasian Conference on
Computer-Human Interaction (OzCHI'07) is responding to the
proliferation and developing constellations of 'social' and
mundane technologies' in people's everyday lives. These technologies
are often simple, minimalist and'loose' and yet support richly
layered social interactions which are sustained and develop across
time, place, and culture.

This workshop will centre around the social interaction around
three main classes of 'mundane technologies' - mobile technologies,
domestic technologies and management technologies. We do not regard
these as mutually exclusive categories and, indeed, an additional
interest for us is how particular technologies can blur category
boundaries and operate across different situations. Our particular
interest is around the use of digital photos (e.g. mobile phone
cameras), the generation digital documents of life (e.g. blogs,
Web pages, text messages, phone call logs) and office technologies
(e.g. wordprocessors, email, calendar applications) by leaders and,
more generally, in everyday life. Put simply, we are interested in
exploring 'real' studies of quite ordinary technologies that have
already been appropriated (Carroll et al., 2002), domesticated
(Silverstone, 1991) and subsumed into the fabric of family, social
and organisational life and do particular work: maintaining a sense
of community; assisting with everyday decision-making; maintaining
"social translucence" (Erikson and Kellogg, 2000); providing channels
for emotional labour; and so on. We also have a strong interest in
how technology supports or fails to support the crossing of
boundaries in everyday life - between home, work, public and 'third
places' - and how we (use technology to) deal with the
'in-betweeness' of life. We define 'mundane technologies' as those
quite unremarkable technologies that, given the context in which
they operate, have been 'made at home', have become 'ordinary', in
plain view yet subtly embedded because they are, indeed, part of the
organisation already in place.

Professor Rob Procter: Rob is Research Director for the newly created
National Centre for e-Social Science at the University of Manchester.
Rob's research interests concern socio-technical issues in the design,
implementation, evaluation and use of interactive computer systems,
with a particular emphasis on ethnomethodologically-informed
ethnographic studies of work practices, computer-supported cooperative
work and participatory design.
Dr Keith Cheverst: Keith is a Senior Lecturer in the Computing
Department at Lancaster University. Keith's research interests lie in
the user centered design and evaluation of interactive systems that
utilise mobile and/or ubiquitous computing technologies.
Dr Dave Randall: Dave is a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department
at Manchester Metropolitan University. Dave's key research interests
concern ethnography and design and computer-supported cooperative work.

Our primary interest is in understanding how 'mundane technologies'
really work in people's lives.
We are concerned with (but are certainly not restricted to) answering
questions like:
- What do people do to maintain a sense of community through blogging?
- What is the role of digital photo sharing in family life, if any?
- How do managers operate across technologies (e.g. email, mobile
phone, Word, Excel) to lead in their organisations and what does each
technology afford for them?

One of our secondary interests is how mundane technologies can be
useful methodological instruments in the ethnographic enterprise and
how they can be combined with other, more 'traditional' approaches in
social science research, to inform how technology is used and how
practices, rhythms and routines are structured around technology to get
work done. Our assumption is that these 'mundane technologies' are at
a mature level of adoption, with seemingly well worked-out affordances
so that their use has become so tightly entwined with activity and
social interaction as to be almost invisible and thus, difficult to
study and to be surprised by. We are also convinced that the digital
trails left my individuals as they traverse their everyday lived and
what people slough and shed via mundane technologies can provide real
insights for the ethnographic enterprise: browser histories, mobile
phone logs, temporary files generated on-the-fly etc.. We are
interested in how these 'digital footprints' can provide insights into
people's use of technology. Additional concerns are: how such
technologies are 'made at home in the world';the social translucence
afforded by such 'mundane technologies'; how they are hashed together
with other technologies to get work done: how they are reconfigured
over time as functionality evolves, the context of use changes etc.

Attendance at this workshop will be via (a) submission(s) only
(although multiple authors can attend). Papers should address the
themes and interests of the workshop (see above) and can include
position pieces, work-in-progress, new themes with old data, early
reports from the field, and initial case study findings. Papers
should be 4 pages in length and accord with the ACM SIG format. All
submissions will be reviewed and selected on the basis of their
relevance and interest.

Successful authors will be invited to present (10 minutes) and
discuss (5-10 minutes) their papers during the first day of the
workshop. The second, half day of the workshop will focus on
developing the themes and papers of the first day. The first day
will consist of some formal talk and questioning, with the second
consolidating the ideas in papers towards further publication.
Revised papers will be published in a planned issue of the Personal
and Ubiquitous Computing journal. Eventually we intend to publish
an edited book from the themes and papers seeded at the workshop.

Papers due:
Monday 10th September 2400 (EST)
To: cgraham [at]
Acceptance notification:
Monday 1st October
Accepted papers available:
Monday 22nd October
Workshop preliminaries:
Sunday 25th November
Workshop registration:
Monday 26th November

The cost to attend this one and a half day workshop is AUS$200.
This will include attendance at the workshop sessions, materials,
refreshments and a workshop dinner.

Please contact Connor Graham for further information: cgraham [at]

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