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Many Makings: Entangling Publics, Participation and Things in a Complex Collaborative Context

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John Bowers, Dr Simon BowenORCiD, Timothy Shaw


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Empirical sociological and critical-reflective accounts of technology in action show how the design, development and use of interactive systems involves complex, changing configurations between participants, materials and the objects of design. Such observations make many rationalistic and normative accounts of design highly problematic (e.g. that design is essentially problem solving). Our work goes beyond such critical points and investigates practical strategies for managing complex projects that do justice to the entangled character of practice whilst enabling a high level of creative productivity. We report on a long-term collaboration between micro- businesses, artists, researchers, their institutions and their publics to create media, installations, performances, and participatory workshops. We document the range of design work that we were able to achieve and discuss a number of the challenges we encountered. We conclude by critically discussing several orientations to design research against our emerging image of design as ‘many makings’.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bowers J, Bowen S, Shaw T

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 16)

Year of Conference: 2016

Pages: 1246-1257

Online publication date: 04/06/2016

Acceptance date: 08/03/2016

Publisher: ACM


DOI: 10.1145/2901790.2901883

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Sponsor(s): Association of Computing Machinery

ISBN: 9781450340311