Call for Papers/Contributions

We invite participants to submit their contributions for the workshop here. Contributions are open to all interested participants. This would be in the form of position papers (e.g., on theory or methods for with more-than-human design, from academics), case studies (e.g., from industry practitioners) or simple stories, traditions or experience of giving voice to nature and designing with more-than-humans. All written contributions should be 1000-1500 words. Pictorials and provocative designs/ideas are also welcome from anyone. This is to ensure meaningful participation of everyone interested in the workshop. All materials are expected to address at least one of the topical questions listed below with either a theoretical (frameworks, theory or concept), methodological (tool, technique or method) or empirical (case study, stories, traditions) contributions.

“The world we live in – the social, scientific, intellectual, and material ways we go about our everyday – is now colliding with the world we live from – the air, water, plants, animals, bacteria and other micro-organisms upon which we depend” – Todd rephrasing Latour 2017 [1, p. 161].

The main goal of this workshop is to collectively explore, discuss and debate about how to design with those more-than-human natural entities that we have so far taken for granted, and whose involvement in the design process is underexplored in relation to what is now needed in sustainable development. In line with the conference theme, we aim at building a network of Participatory Design scholars, practitioners and activists concerned with exploring ways to engage and connect beyond the traditional human stakeholders and design with animals, plants, micro-organisms, and their ecosystems.

1 IMPORTANCE AND RELEVANCE TO THE PDC THEME 

Participatory Design (PD) is a human activity, historically concerned with the involvement of the workers, or more generally ‘users’, in service and product design. Originating in the context of organisations for workplace democracy, PD gradually evolved into an empowering design process that is sensitive to the political aspects of everyday technology [2] and that is generally defined as a process of mutual learning in collective ‘reflection-in-action’ [3]. Key in this endeavour is the focus on developing tools, techniques and methods enabling users, designers and researchers to work together, reflect on current practices and envision future alternatives, which assumes humans as skillful and resourceful in the development of their future. 

Despite growing calls to broaden the scope of PD today toward new design partnership with more-than-humans [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], and although there is a manifested urgency for environmental and sustainable interventions, design that seeks to widen the participation to more-than-humans, PD with nature and natural entities, remains mostly underexplored and falls short theoretically, methodologically and empirically. The field of Sustainable HCI [16] is of interest here because it evolved from a view of design being predominantly about persuading the individual human to be kind to the environment (e.g., using informatics and eco-feedback technologies [17]) to a field exploring innovative and collaborative ways toward more holistic approaches encompassing social, cultural, environmental and technological factors [18]. Here questions are also being asked as to how we can involve non-humans for environmental sustainability [15]. In this direction, some encourage ingraining environmental activism and social justice  “in every interaction design project“ [19, p. 63]. Others propose that we decentre not just the individual but the entire humanity in our sustainability discourse and design practice [20], which suggests adopting a humbler “we are in it together” attitude that recognises not only other humans but also more-than-human entities and the earth itself as victims of the ecological crisis and genuine stakeholders in our design for sustainability [21].

Conceptually, this space is often rooted in philosophies such as Object-Oriented Ontology [22], [23], [24] and Actor Network Theory [25]. Despite their differences, these approaches acknowledge our entanglements with other beings in a pluriversal world [26] and the socio-technical complexities around the inevitable posthuman era of the Capitolocene [37]. Talking about the two colliding worlds in our opening line, Latour continues: “As soon as we wish to represent what it could mean for entities to be entangled with one another, we are at a loss” and stresses the need to “map what connect the ‘me’ to the necessary endless list of ‘others’ with whom life and our society is made possible” [36].  

In this workshop, we therefore acknowledge that we are all inextricably and persistently entangled, that our traditional ways of observing, describing, explaining and intervening are inadequate to deal with socio-ecological crises, and that we need to explore new ways to observe, listen, trace, connect, represent, interest, recruit, ask questions, and test ideas toward co-existence [1] or multispecies cohabitation [27]. In this direction, pioneering research works have included explorations of Animal Computer Interaction [28], [29], designing with insects [30], cohabiting and designing with plants [31] and interacting with the biosphere including non-human, non-living [32] and even invisible things such as sounds [33], [34]. We hope to expand this space with a focus on non-human natural stakeholders hoping to learn how to connect and relate with the non-human species as legitimate and respectable stakeholders who are given voices and accorded rights [35]. 

We invite contributions addressing one or more of the following questions.

  1. How do we bring in more-than-human natural and biological entities in our Participatory Design? For instance, how to take natural and biological entities as users or participants, informants, testers, or design partners?
  2. How can we interest and recruit, give voice and listen to more-than-human natural entities in PD processes? What does ‘mutual learning’, ‘empowering’, ‘reflecting’, ‘democracy’, all key features of traditional PD, mean when designing with nature?
  3. How can we describe and make visible the invisible interdependencies and entanglements with natural entities we have ignored so far? How can we re-learn our moral duties as terrestrial as well as members of globally interconnected societies in a common world? How can we shift and multiply viewpoints to include nature in our effort to sustainable development? How do we create new sensitiveness to see life differently and explore alternative conditions of living with others?

With this workshop we wish to invite contributions not only from PD researchers but also from other stakeholders like industry practitioners, environmental activists, and local academics to partake and share experiences and ideas. Interested participants are invited to submit a theoretical, methodological, or empirical contribution to the workshop’s research questions.

Written contributions (1000 to 1500 words) can vary in format and range from position papers to discussions of concept, methods, applications, case studies, stories, provocations, or reflections. We also invite submissions in the form of interactive demos, pictorials/posters, design fictions, videos, performances, or recorded talks.

Submissions will be reviewed and assessed for relevance by the workshop organisers. Authors of accepted contributions will be invited to pre-workshop online activities (asynchronous) in preparation to the workshop as well as to present their work during the workshop at PDC on the 15th of August. The workshop is hybrid and will support remote participation.

We will accept max 30 contributions.

[1]     Todd, S. (2021) ‘“Landing on Earth:” an educational project for the present. A response to Vanessa Andreotti’, Ethics and Education, 16(2), 159–163, available: https://doi.org/10.1080/17449642.2021.1896636

[2]     S. Bodker, Through the Interface: A Human Activity Approach To User Interface Design. CRC Press, 2021. 

[3]     J. Simonsen and T. Robertson, Routledge & International Handbook of Participatory Design. Routledge, 2012. 

[4]     D. Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World, Vintage. New York: 1997. 

[5]     M. Bastian, “Towards a more-than-human participatory research,” in Participatory Research in More-than-Human Worlds, Routledge, 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315661698-9/towards-human-participatory-research-michelle-bastian 

[6]     S. Heitlinger, M. Foth, R. Clarke, C. Disalvo, A. Light, and L. Forlano, “Avoiding ecocidal smart cities: participatory design for more-than-human futures,” Aug. 2018, pp. 1–3. doi: 10.1145/3210604.3210619. 

[7]     R. Clarke, S. Heitlinger, M. Foth, C. Disalvo, A. Light, and L. Forlano, “More-than-human urban futures: speculative participatory design to avoid ecocidal smart cities,” Aug. 2018, pp. 1–4. doi: 10.1145/3210604.3210641. 

[8]     Y. Akama, A. Light, and T. Kamihira, “Expanding Participation to Design with More-Than-Human Concerns,” in Proceedings of the 16th Participatory Design Conference 2020 – Participation(s) Otherwise – Volume 1, Manizales Colombia: ACM, Jun. 2020, pp. 1–11. doi: 10.1145/3385010.3385016. 

[9]     M. Tironi, M. Chilet, C. U. Martín, and P. Hermansen, Eds., Design For More-Than-Human Futures: Towards Post-Anthropocentric Worlding. London: Routledge, 2023. doi: 10.4324/9781003319689. 

[10]     R. Wakkary, Things We Could Design: For More Than Human-Centered Worlds. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://books.google.ie/books?id=UiY6EAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false 

[16]     C. Disalvo, P. Sengers, and H. Brynjarsdóttir, “Mapping the Landscape of Sustainable HCI,” presented at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – Proceedings, Oct. 2010, pp. 1975–1984. doi: 10.1145/1753326.1753625. 

[17]     J. Froehlich, L. Findlater, and J. Landay, “The design of eco-feedback technology,” presented at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – Proceedings, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Apr. 2010, pp. 1999–2008. doi: 10.1145/1753326.1753629. 

[18]     M. Hazas, A. J. B. Brush, and J. Scott, “Sustainability does not begin with the individual,” Interactions, vol. 19, no. 5, pp. 14–17, Sep. 2012, doi: 10.1145/2334184.2334189. 

[19]     O. Bates et al., “Championing environmental and social justice: embracing, embedding, and promoting broader notions of sustainability in HCI,” Interactions, vol. 25, pp. 60–67, Aug. 2018, doi: 10.1145/3236677. 

[20]     J. Pierce, Y. Strengers, P. Sengers, and S. Bødker, “Introduction to the special issue on practice-oriented approaches to sustainable HCI,” ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact., vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 1–8, Sep. 2013, doi: 10.1145/2494260. 

[21]     A. Light, A. Powell, and I. Shklovski, “Design for Existential Crisis in the Anthropocene Age,” in Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, in C&T ’17. Troyes, France: Association for Computing Machinery, Jun. 2017, pp. 270–279. doi: 10.1145/3083671.3083688. 

[22]     G. Harman, Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything. New Orleans, LA: Pelican Books, 2018. Accessed: Nov. 17, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34640994-object-oriented-ontology 

[23]     J. Lindley, H. Akmal, and P. Coulton, “Design Research and Object-Oriented Ontology,” Open Philos., vol. 3, pp. 11–41, Jan. 2020, doi: 10.1515/opphil-2020-0002. 

[24]     A. Gurpinar, “Towards an Object-Oriented Design Ontology,” presented at the DRS2022: Bilbao, Jun. 2022. doi: 10.21606/drs.2022.728. 

[25]     B. Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. in Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. 

[26]     A. Escobar, Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds. Durham, London: Duke University Press, 2018. Accessed: Jun. 07, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.academia.edu/38094580/Designs_for_the_Pluriverse_Radical_Interdependence_Autonomy_and_the_Making_of_Worlds_Arturo_Escobar 

[27]     S. Roudavski, “Multispecies Cohabitation and Future Design,” presented at the Design Research Society Conference 2020, Sep. 2020. doi: 10.21606/drs.2020.402. 

[28]     F. French, C. Mancini, and H. Sharp, “Exploring Research through Design in Animal Computer Interaction,” in Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, in ACI ’17. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery, Nov. 2017, pp. 1–12. doi: 10.1145/3152130.3152147. 

[29]     C. Mancini and J. Lehtonen, “The Emerging Nature of Participation in Multispecies Interaction Design,” in Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference, Hong Kong China: ACM, Jun. 2018, pp. 907–918. doi: 10.1145/3196709.3196785. 

[30]     M. Bastian, J. Owain, N. Moore, and E. Roe, Eds., Participatory Research in More-than-Human Worlds. Oxon: Routledge, 2017. Accessed: Jan. 25, 2024. [Online]. Available: https://www.routledge.com/Participatory-Research-in-More-than-Human-Worlds/Bastian-Jones-Moore-Roe/p/book/9780367138745 

[31]     O. Tomico, R. Wakkary, and K. Andersen, “Living-with and Designing-with Plants,” Interactions, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 30–34, Jan. 2023, doi: 10.1145/3571589. 

[32]     C. Frauenberger, “Entanglement HCI The Next Wave?,” ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact., vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 1–27, Feb. 2020, doi: 10.1145/3364998. 

[33]     H. H. Kobayashi and J. Matsushima, “Basic Research in Human–Computer–Biosphere Interaction,” Buildings, vol. 4, no. 4, Art. no. 4, Dec. 2014, doi: 10.3390/buildings4040635. 

[34]     H. H. Kobayashi, “Human–Computer–Biosphere Interaction: Toward a Sustainable Society,” in More Playful User Interfaces: Interfaces that Invite Social and Physical Interaction, A. Nijholt, Ed., in Gaming Media and Social Effects. , Singapore: Springer, 2015, pp. 97–119. doi: 10.1007/978-981-287-546-4_5. 

[35]     R. Pierotti and D. Wildcat, “Traditional Ecological Knowledge: The Third Alternative (commentary),” Ecol. Appl., vol. 10, no. 5, pp. 1333–1340, 2000, doi: 10.1890/1051-0761(2000)010[1333:TEKTTA]2.0.CO;2.

[36]     B. Latour and P. Weibel, “Seven Objections against Landing on Earth.” In Critical Zones:The Science and Politics of Landing on Earth, B. Latour and P. Weibel, Eds., Boston: MIT Press, 2020.

[37]    J. W. Moore, “Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism,” in Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism, J. W. Moore, Ed., Oakland, California: PM Press, 2016, pp. 1–11.