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"Olav W. Bertelsen" <[log in to unmask]>
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Olav W. Bertelsen
Sat, 12 Jul 2008 04:56:14 +0200
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Call for Papers:

Workshop on Participatory Design in Therapeutic Contexts

Sunday, 19th October 2008, Lund, Sweden
In conjuntion with NordiCHI 2008

Deadline for submissions: 25th august 2008.

Therapeutic contexts is a growing IT application area and thus an area
that HCI should deal with from a design perspective. By therapeutic
contexts we refer to situations where the technological artefacts
mediate relations between therapists and clients/patients/citizens to
further a therapeutic intervention. Examples could be treatment of
phobic patients by means of a PDA application, EPR systems to be used in
general health care practice, or tools for cognitive training of
children with Downs syndrome in a swimming pool, just to mention a few.

In such design situations the user side is heterogeneous and the power
relations seem to be rather complex, because some of the users (the
clients/patients/) may be fundamentally unable to participate in a
dialog about what is the right environment for their recovery, e.g. if
they are cognitively handicapped.

Such design situations challenge the basic perspectives of traditional
participatory design because equal dialog and co-determination is not
possible. In the care relation equal power and dialog are odd concepts.
In most therapeutic situations a more triangular relation can be
identified, comprising the designer the patient and the therapist. The
patient is the person whose life is to be impacted by the new technology
but often he cannot participate in the design activities because he
cannot speak, or because he is too scared, or for some other reason.

The purpose of the workshop is to elicit and discuss possible new
perspectives that enable designers to ensure empowerment for all in such
situations. We expect participants from academia working with
participatory design, assistive technologies, healthcare computing, etc,
as well as more practice-based people.

We invite position papers about specific design cases, methodological or
theoretical reflections, and other relevant contributions to the
emerging debate.

Position papers should be 2 pages in the conference publication format,
and should be sent in pdf format to <olavb @> by 25th
august, 2008

The conference publication format can be found here:

More information about the workshop may be found here:

General information about NordiCHI 2008 can be found at:


Olav W. Bertelsen (olavb@ is an associate professor in HCI
and use oriented design at the Department of Computer Science,
University of Aarhus, Denmark. He has organized a number of successful
workshops at nordichi as well as other conferences.

Per-Olof Hedvall is a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Engineering and
Design at Certec, Department of Design Sciences, University of Lund. He
has worked within the fields of Augmentative and Alternative
Communication and Assistive Technology for 15 years.

Partizia Marti is a researcher at the Interaction Design Area of the
University of Siena, Italy. She has worked with information technology
in a variety of therapeutic settings ranging from neonatal care to
rehabilitation of citizens with dementia.

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