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Steve Harrison <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Julian E. Orr
Wed, 3 May 2006 09:57:55 -0400
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**** Call for Participation ****
Locating Boundaries:  A Workshop on Place, Space, and Design

Join us (organizers: Julian E. Orr, Thomas Binder,  Dvora Yanow,  
Erling Björgvinsson,  Steven Harrison, Gunnar Sandin, Genevieve Bell)  
for a stimulating all-day workshop in Trento, in the foothills of the  
Italian Alps, on Wednesday, August 2, 2006.  This workshop is in  
conjunction with the 2006 Participatory Design Conference, August  

While we are "Expanding Boundaries in Design", perhaps we should  
think for a moment on the significance of boundaries, which are  
essentially the separation of "this place" from everything "not this  
place".  And what constitutes "this place"?

The cultural meanings of place and space have been the subject of  
three decades and more of study in disciplines such as social  
geography, sociology, political science, and anthropology. The social  
meanings of space comprise subfields in the study of architecture and  
urban and regional planning, and they are increasingly present in  
organizational studies.  In recent years, design in fields other than  
architecture and planning and research in support of such design have  
been paying more attention to matters of place and space (extensive  
bibliography available on request).

Place and space are social constructs, ways for humans to consider  
the physical world in which they exist, and as social constructs,  
both reflect and shape the culture in which they arise.  Edward  
Casey, phenomenological philosopher, argues for the primacy of  
place.  Not only are we always already embodied, he claims, but we  
are always already emplaced.   We are always some place and never  
nowhere.   Despite this experiential reality, our scientistic society  
privileges space.  Casey writes, ³Once it is assumed (after Newton  
and Kant) that space is absolute and infinite as well as empty and a  
priori in status, places become the mere apportionings of space, its  
compartmentalizations.² (Casey, 1996, p. 14)

Nor are place and space unitary constructions; they will be  
constructed differently by different people, different social groups,  
and these differential constructions are inflected by differences in  
interest and power as well as culture.  This layering of construction  
creates what may be thought of as place as palimpsest, a layered text  
with different readings at different levels.  These readings do not  
simply coincide, either; they may be and often are contested.

The intent of this workshop is to bring together researchers and  
practitioners who have studied place and space and are engaged in  
exploring the ways in which place and space affect design and the use  
of technology and the ways in which technology changes the places  
where it is used.  Those interested in learning about place and space  
and exploring their relationship to design and technology are also  
urged to attend.  Participants are strongly encouraged to prepare one  
to two page reports on their studies of place and space, similarly- 
sized position statements on place, space, and design, or both.   
These may be sent in advance, in which case we will try to post them  
on a website for participants, or brought to the workshop.  Those  
wishing to suggest games or exercises in addition to those already  
planned to explore aspects of the natures of place and space are  
asked to contact the organizers in advance.

The day of the workshop will be divided between exercises and  
discussions.  It will begin with a brief round of introductions,  
followed by an exercise on location.  This is intended to explore  
differences in awareness of location and the differential meanings  
carried by the respective terminologies of place and space.  The next  
segment will be the presentation and discussion of participants'  
reports on their own studies of place and space, either sent in  
advance or brought to the workshop.  The morning will conclude with a  
game on place, space, and design.

During lunch, participants will encounter places and boundaries in  
Trento.  There will be a directed exercise to do during lunch of  
attempting to recognize and identify places and boundaries and  
observing actual or potential transgressions.  When we reassemble,  
the first part of the afternoon session will be a discussion of this  
exercise and our observations.  The next exercise will be on  
transgressions of place and space, drawing on our observations and  
discussions from the lunch-time exercise and including the uses and  
misuses of technology for such purposes.  The final segment will be  
the presentation and discussion of participants' position statements,  
which is expected to evolve into a general discussion of place,  
space, and design.

This workshop is limited to ten participants in addition to the  
organizers.  Registration for the workshop is accomplished during  
registration for the conference.  However, those intending to  
participate are also asked to e-mail Julian Orr  
<[log in to unmask]>, so we may know who is coming.  Position  
statements and reports on previous studies of place and space should  
be sent to the same address.  Those with digital cameras should bring  
them for the lunch-time exercise, or participants may consider how  
else to register and record places.

1.  Casey, Edward. How to Get from Space to Place in a Fairly Short  
Stretch of Time:  Phenomenological prolegomena. In Feld and Basso,  
Senses of Place.  Santa Fe, NM:  School of American Research Press,  

Julian E. Orr, Black Sheep Farm, P.O. Box 577, Pescadero, CA, 94060,  
USA.  [log in to unmask] tel. +1 650-879-0066.

Thomas Binder, Center for Design Research, Royal Academy of Fine  
Arts, School of Architecture, Philip de Langes Allé 10, DK-1435  
Copenhagen K, Denmark, [log in to unmask], tel:+45 3268 6365,  
mobile: +45 5091 4326.

Prof. dr. Dvora Yanow, Department/Afdeling Culture, Organization &  
Management, Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen, Vrije Universiteit, De  
Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS,  
[log in to unmask], tel. +31 (0)20 598 2653 (direct line), +31 (0)6  
4674 1479 (cell).

Erling Björgvinsson, Arts and Communication, Malmö University,  
Beijerskajen 8, 205 06 Malmö, Sweden. [log in to unmask]

Steven Harrison, Dept of Computer Science, 510 McBryde Hall - 0106,  
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, [log in to unmask], http://, tel. +1 540-231 - 7783

Gunnar Sandin, Lund University, School of Architecture, Box 118, 221  
00 Lund, Sweden. [log in to unmask]

Genevieve Bell, Domestic Designs and Technologies Research, Digital  
Home Group, 2111 NE 25th Ave, MS JF1-251, Hillsboro, OR 97124,  
[log in to unmask], tel. +1 503-264-7510

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