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"Steen, M.G.D. (Marc)" <[log in to unmask]>
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Steen, M.G.D. (Marc)
Tue, 10 Jun 2008 20:03:25 +0200
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Workshop: "Politics and Ethics of Participatory Design"
To be held at 19 October, as part of NordiCHI 2008, Lund, Sweden, 20-22
October 2008

Workshop themes

In this workshop we will be concerned with the ethics* and politics*
that practitioners of Participatory Design* (PD) encounter.

* We use the term political to refer to questions concerning power,
agency and representation (and not to e.g. national politics), and we
use the term ethical to refer to questions concerning freedom,
responsibility and choice (and not to e.g. evaluations in terms of good
vs. bad).
* We use the term Participatory Design broadly, to include a wide range
of approaches, such as co-design, lead user approach, contextual design,
empathic design, applied ethnography, etc.

We use words like _politics_ and _ethics_ to talk about practices; we
are interested in PD practices and in reflection (and reflexivity) on PD

We think that PD practitioners often find themselves in situations with
political and ethical qualities: E.g. when they realize that they are
representing end-users: portraying them and acting as their
spokespersons; E.g. when they find themselves in a field of interacting
forces and realize that they are themselves agents or forces in this
field; E.g. when they realize that their ambition to let end-users
participate or their ambition to have empathy for end-users are
compromised and when they make themselves accountable for that; E.g.
when they are questioned about responsibility and freedom or when they
ask themselves such questions; Etc. 

A key idea behind this workshop is that politics and ethics are there in
PD and that we better talk about these and take these into account.
Furthermore, we chose to organize this workshop at NordiCHI because we
think that reflection on politics and ethics (and reflexivity) are part
of a PD tradition which is particularly strong in Northern-Europe. 

Workshop goals

* To share experiences and reflections on the political and ethical
qualities of PD, from our different practices. 
* To create a shared understanding of the politics and ethics that are
involved in PD practice. 
* To articulate recommendations for taking these politics and ethics
into account when organizing PD. 
* To articulate ideas for how PD practitioners can try to cope with
these politics and ethics, e.g. via reflexivity. 

Interested in participation?

We would like to invite practitioners and scholars who have hands-on
experience in PD and who wish to critically reflect on the politics and
ethics of PD to submit a positioning paper of 2-4 pages. Please email
your positioning paper before 1 August to: 

The organizers will review the papers and select participants based on
these papers. We will send notifications of acceptance or rejection
before 8 August. 

If you have any questions, suggestions or remarks, please contact Marc
Steen ( 

Workshop organizers

* Marc Steen, TNO Information and Communication Technology
(, Delft, The Netherlands 
* Jelle van Dijk / Remko van der Lugt, Hogeschool Utrecht (University of
Applied Sciences), The Netherlands 
* (To be announced) 

More information on the workshop: 
More information on NordiCHI 2008: 

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