Stretching participation opportunities in PD by considering novel technologies as something more than just potential design outcomes
As the technology advances, we need to mature our methods to incorporate technology not only as a potential outcome but also as tools for thinking and communicating. As we use PD to tackle more advance technical scenarios, e.g., enabling technology to support independence among vulnerable users, the technical competence of the designer will become of increasing importance. Working with novel technologies in PD activities involving non-technical users demands an even stronger understanding of the technology in order to simplify it enough to serve as a thinking tool while still preserving the important characteristics of the technology during design activities.
There are opportunities to combine the theory of embodiment and novel design practice to explore new ways of strengthening PD processes. Can incorporating technology and related design practice in the PD process itself result in stronger mutual learning, larger spaces for co-creation? And does this offer us an actual opportunity to generate research products as outcomes? As some examples, the overarching research interest can be translated into the following research questions:
- How can we use theories of embodiment and material understanding to understand the role of physical artifacts and technologies as thinking and design tools?
- How can we incorporate basic technological components and concepts as a means to strengthen the mutual learning between non-technical users and designers?
- How can we utilize novel design practice such as 3D printing and laser cutting to open up new spaces for co-creation?
- How can the use of research products influence the participants’ ability to imagine and critically reflect on future use situations?
One of the goals of this thesis is to continue our strong collaboration with relevant stakeholders and policy-makers. Outcomes from PD processes are not only directed at designers and users, but they can also influence policymakers. We have already established collaboration with various care and competence centers in Oslo who have expressed a desire to participate in such a study.
The exact nature and scope of the problem area can be further discussed with the supervisor. There are already 3 master students writing a thesis on a related topic and we aim to continue our small supervision and discussion groups across 4th and 5th year students. This master thesis can be written by 1-3 students. Students can write their whole thesis together, selected chapters together, or just collaborate with activities and write separate theses. More information can be presented upon request.