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"ACM SIGCHI General Interest Announcements (Mailing List)" <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 6 Jul 2006 16:03:42 +0200
Anders Morch <[log in to unmask]>
Anders Morch <[log in to unmask]>
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ANNOUNCING Workshop #4 at NordiCHI 2006

Multidisciplinarity in design
October 15 (Sunday)

1. Introduction
The goal of this full day workshop is to arrange for researchers
representing different approaches to design to meet and discuss. We will
explore differences and similarities between the approaches as a basis for
expanding a shared notion of design.

Computing technology is constantly changing, both in hardware and
software. This has effect on human-computer interaction in many ways. As a
piece of equipment, the computer can take a variety of forms, ranging from
desktop displays to seamlessly embedded in our environment. The HCI design
process needs to be informed about the multiple use contexts as well as
how the technical components fit and interact with each other. The same
equipment may be viewed differently depending on its users: as a
production tool, a communication device, a mass medium, a fashion
statement, a knowledge base, or an information board – maybe even at the
same time! The best way to understand the roles that technology can play
is to engage researchers representing different approaches to design to
meet and discuss in order to come up with a better understanding of the
interactions between design and artifacts-in-use, and how to act – to
design – on the basis of such multidisciplinary understandings.

2. Organization
The organizers are all engaged in a multidisciplinary design initiative at
the University of Oslo, aiming to integrate and build a multidisciplinary
approach to design that bridge between different department and faculties.

We plan to structure the day into topical sessions based on participants’
background, interest and contributions. Each session will start of by
three short presentations. The potential participants should submit a
positions paper of 2-4 pages that tells about a disciplinary or
multidisciplinary experience.

The ideal size of the workshop is 12-15 participants, depending of the
distribution of disciplinary positions. If only one or two disciplines are
represented, the workshop makes less sense and may be cancelled.

The target group for the workshop is academic researchers in
human-computer interaction, as well as practitioners who work in
interdisciplinary projects or environments. We also hope to engage people
who study interaction design with a non-technical background (e.g. social
scientists, humanists). Likewise we hope to sensitize technical people to
other, productive views on the design of HCI artifacts.

3. Moving Disciplinary boundaries
The starting point for the discussion is the set of views represented by
the organizing team. The themes will change depending on the distribution
of participants’ views. We seek participants who represent one or more of
the perspectives mentioned below and who is willing to engage in a
constructive debate aimed at identifying and discussing how differences
and similarities between disciplinary stances on HCI design can be
handled. We want to discuss whether interdisciplinary, multidisciplinarity
or transdisciplinarity can make sense – and how we should go about
creating new roles for design in HCI.

3.1. Utilitarian design
represents the engineering (computer scientist) position in HCI design
making usability and usefulness as central tenets. The boundary for this
position is expanding as physical interaction becomes more important and
computer systems increasingly become distributed and embedded in the use
context. First and second-generation design methods are appropriate,
building on user-centered methods as well as taking inspiration from
participatory design, design rationale and end-user development. The
recent focus on representing the user experience requires sensitivity
toward capturing aspects of the use context.

3.2. Design as social change
Represents the design as a social and political process: who are the
beneficiaries and who gets to decide on the design? The organizers are
well represented within the area of Participatory Design, where such
themes are at the core of the concerns. How can design processes enhance
users’ competencies, autonomy and democracy?
In this slot we also like to suggest studies of science and technology (in
society) as a good source for the social science scholar to approach

3.3. Design as cultural expression and mediation
This is a topic originating from media and communication studies and which
is also present in pedagogy.  Media – as the name suggests – encourage
mediation, and the center of focus is communication analyzed with respect
to its audience. In pedagogy mediation refers to our interaction with the
world through artifacts: tools and signs (e.g. language). Furthermore,
contemporary design of technology may include focus on supporting fashion
and market trends, and our use of technology influences our identities and
interpretations of the world.

4. Submissions
To participate in this workshop, please submit a 2-4 pages position paper
on the above issues, describing your experience and interests in
disciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to design and  mail you
paper to  [log in to unmask]

Please specify you background and interests. The selection criteria
include achieving a balance of disciplinary representatives.

5. Important dates
Position papers due: August 8
Notification: August 11
NordiCHI: October 15 (full day)

6. Organizers
Tone Bratteteig is Associate Professor in Department of Informatics at The
University of Oslo. She coordinates an interdisciplinary initiative in
design research at the University of Oslo, and also leads a research group
on design. Her research includes Participatory Design and studies of
design. She has been active in multidisciplinary research and teaching for
many years.

Anders Mørch is Associate Professor at InterMedia at The University of
Oslo. He has been interested in user interface design for many years,
including usability, design rationale and end-user development. His
current interest includes design and evaluation of web-based collaborative
learning environments.

Dagny Stuedahl is Post doc research fellow at The Department of Media and
Communication at The University of Oslo. Her background is from cultural
history. Her research has focused on multidisciplinary negotiations in
design. She is currently working with design of learning environments in

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