Critical Design and the creation of alternative visions: literally and metaphorically Critical

Katarina L Gidlund, Associate professor in Informatics at Mid Sweden University
Annelie Ekelin,  Associate professor in Human Science and Work Practice, and Media and Communication Science
Karin Danielsson Öberg,  PhD and senior lecturer in Informatics at Umeå University, Sweden
Johanna Sefyrin,  PhD and senior lecturer in Informatics at Mid Sweden University

Critical design methods and thinking is gaining increasing interest during design of artefacts, applied mainly by interaction designers in order to create designs that cause reflections (on roles, norms, values, practices, cultures). It forces reflection among the users of the artefacts, since the artefact is aimed to provoke, and to support visions of alternative realities, other ways of being and living. However, ways to create such provocations, reflections and visions among the professionals (designers, researchers and practitioners) is not explored as much. If considering critical design rather as a position than an approach for design, how can we support reflection among us as professionals? Thereby, enable usage of critical design in our profession? These, and related questions, will be reflected upon and discussed during the workshop.

This one-day workshop aims to explore ways to enable designers, researchers and practitioners to discover, apply and increase the usage of critical design, by exploring, questioning and provoking ourselves in our own profession. One way of doing this is by using digital storytelling as a pre-workshop activity. Digital storytelling support a creation of materials in both literal and metaphorical ways. Through digital storytelling, we can identify, express and share conscious and unconscious assumptions of critical design as such, as well of us as professionals.

During the workshop, the pre-workshop materials (such as images, movies, illustrations, photos and texts) will be explored and transformed in order to communicate, envision and understand critical design. After the workshop, a bank of experiences is visualised on the workshop website.

People interested to participate in this workshop are required to submit an up to 300 word summary presenting their present/future interest and/or usage of critical design in their profession. In addition to this, an up to 200 word presentation on ideas of how they plan to create and/or document their digital stories is submitted.

Please note that the workshop participant brings the individual digital stories to the workshop. Digital stories can preferable be available using social media. Any necessary program for presenting the story is made available by the workshop participant him/herself.

Selection process will be based on the submitted proposals, in order to create a mixed group of participants. Submissions are made through the workshop website.

Workshop website