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Involving Syrian Refugees in Design Research: Lessons Learnt from the Field

Lookup NU author(s): Reem Talhouk, Dr Madeline Balaam, Dr Austin Toombs, Dr Andy Garbett, Dr Hala Ghattas, Professor Vera Araujo-SoaresORCiD, Dr Balsam Ahmad, Dr Kyle Montague



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by ACM, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


With the Syrian crisis entering its 8th year, refugees have become the focus of research across multiple disciplines, including design and HCI research. While some researchers have reflected upon designing with refugees, these accounts have been limited to conducting design workshops in formal spaces. Through reflecting on our experiences of conducting design research in informal refugee settlements in Lebanon we unpack lessons learnt, design practices and research approaches that facilitate design engagements with refugees. We highlight the value in participants configuring the design space, using a dialogical approach as well as creating a safe space for both participants and the researcher. We also reflect on the roles that researchers may take on when conducting similar research. By doing so we contribute specific design practices that may be transferrable to other similar contexts.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Talhouk R, Balaam M, Toombs AL, Garbett A, Akik C, Ghattas H, Araujo-Soares V, Ahmad B, Montague K

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '19)

Year of Conference: 2019

Pages: 1583-1594

Online publication date: 23/06/2019

Acceptance date: 25/03/2019

Date deposited: 08/04/2019

Publisher: ACM


DOI: 10.1145/3322276.3322335

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781450358507