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W3: Thinking Outside the (Tool) Box: Exploring Empowerment Through the Design and Use of Toolkits

Nelsons, Karlsplatz 13, Hof 2, Ground Floor

Toolkits enable people to create and design their own technologies, and just as many other Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tools they are now widely available and approachable. This development aligns well with recent HCI research agendas, which have emerged around the call for empowerment. The availability of toolkits should present a unique opportunity for realising the potentials of end-user empowerment in the sense of giving people and communities access to tools and approaches for shaping their own lives with their own designs. However, the question remains how toolkits should be designed to serve the diverse needs of different user groups for their respective purposes and practices. Furthermore, there is also value in learning from how users appropriate toolkits for their own (maybe unanticipated) purposes. In this workshop, we aim to identify different ways in which toolkits can empower people in diverse life situations. The workshop brings together researchers, designers, and practitioners with an interest in designing and using toolkits for and with people from diverse backgrounds, for different purposes, and in a variety of contexts. We see a particular potential in discussing how research could unpack toolkits as tools for empowerment and for engaging people in technology design. For more information, please visit: https://thinkingoutsidethetoolbox.wordpress.com/

Saturday 1 June 2019

People

Organisers

  • Pradthana Jarusriboonchai - Faculty of Art and Design, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland
  • Nicolai Brodersen Hansen - Department of Industrial Design, TU Eindhoven, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Janis Lena Meissner - Open Lab, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Ben Schouten - Department of Industrial Design, TU Eindhoven, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Participants

  • Sunoj Das Shrestha
  • Geertje Slingerland
  • Robb Mitchell
  • Yong Shu Han
  • Florian Güldenpfennig
  • Michael Urbanek
  • Lizet Espinosa
  • Maria Murray
  • Angelika Strohmayer

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Activities

In this workshop, we will address the question of how toolkits can become tools for empowerment. In which ways can they enable innovation in diverse communities while serving both their specific needs and broader purposes?

The workshop consists of a show and tell session, some group work on different purposes of toolkits, and a round table discussion. Show and tell and the round table discussion will be in the morning. The round table discussion will continue in the afternoon.

  • Show and Tell. Participants will present and reflect on their own work through the lens of the four discussion themes. The presentation will be done in the form of poster/demo presentation, inviting them to bring examples of toolkits they have developed or used in their study.

  • Round Table Discussions. Participants are split into small groups based on toolkits types and target communities/people. In each group, participants discuss a set of questions for all four themes. Later, the same groups will ask "who else can use my toolkit" and reflect altogether on the outcomes from a more generic perspective, considering different contexts, communities and groups of people.

Organisers introducing the Thinking Outside the (Tool)Box workshop

Show and Tell

Show and Tell - participants brought along their toolkits to share with everyone

Show and Tell - participants brought along their toolkits to share with everyone

Maria Murray from University College Cork is talking about her work on toolkits for socially engaged art work in urban communities

Maria Murray from University College Cork is talking about her work on toolkits for socially engaged art work in urban communities

‘A tool is only a tool for what you want to do with it’

Pradthana Jarusriboonchai from the university of Lapland in Rovanemi, is presenting her work with Emmi Harjuniemi on exploring electronic diy toolkits with design students

Pradthana Jarusriboonchai from the University of Lapland in Rovanemi, is presenting her work with Emmi Harjuniemi on exploring electronic DIY toolkits with design students

‘Art cannot be automated’

Geertje Slingerland from TU Delft is now talking about toolkits to explore location-based information sharing with citizens in The Hague

Geertje Slingerland from TU Delft is now talking about toolkits to explore location-based information sharing with citizens in The Hague

Michael Urbanek from TU Wien is presenting work by him and his colleagues Florian Güldenpfennig (New Design University in St. Pölten) and Michael Habiger (TU Wien) titles ‘a toolkit for creating audio games: balancing ease of use and power of features’

Michael Urbanek from TU Wien is presenting work by him and his colleagues Florian Güldenpfennig (New Design University in St. Pölten) and Michael Habiger (TU Wien) titles ‘a toolkit for creating audio games: balancing ease of use and power of features’

Some really interesting and engaged discussions about accessibility, community work, and design processes

Some really interesting and engaged discussions about accessibility, community work, and design processes

Ben Shouten at the uni of Eindhoven presenting on some of the play & civic media work titled ‘game design - get that cheese’

Ben Shouten at the uni of Eindhoven presenting on some of the play & civic media work titled ‘game design - get that cheese’

Ben Shouten at the uni of Eindhoven presenting on some of the play & civic media work titled ‘game design - get that cheese’

Janis Meissner from Open Lab, Newcastle University talking about her work: ‘Schnittmuster: A context-sensitive approach to the design of maker toolkits’

Janis Meissner from Open Lab, Newcastle University talking about her work: ‘Schnittmuster: A context-sensitive approach to the design of maker toolkits’

Yong Shu Han from the housing and development board is talking about a couple of different projects related to community engagement

Yong Shu Han from the housing and development board is talking about a couple of different projects related to community engagement

Next up is a presentation on Karkhana and their toolkits for schools related to making and engineering

Next up is a presentation on Karkhana and their toolkits for schools related to making and engineering

Florian Güldenpfennig from the new design university in St. Pölten is now talking about how he created accessible computers with infobricks

Accessible computers using Infobricks

Florian Güldenpfennig from the new design university in St. Pölten is now talking about how he created accessible computers with infobricks

Rob Mitchell from Denmark is telling us about using marbles to represent barriers, opportunities, and challenges!

Rob Mitchell from Denmark is telling us about using marbles to represent barriers, opportunities, and challenges!

Just a some of the materials presented by participants and organisers to start thought processes and discussions

Making zine pages to talk about toolkits, their contexts and their purposes

Making zine pages to talk about toolkits, their contexts and their purposes

Making zine pages to talk about toolkits, their contexts and their purposes

Making zine pages to talk about toolkits, their contexts and their purposes

Making zine pages to talk about toolkits, their contexts and their purposes

Making zine pages to talk about toolkits, their contexts and their purposes

Making zine pages to talk about toolkits, their contexts and their purposes

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Outcomes

Reflections on the participants' own work by thinking about (i) our toolkits, (ii) the context we use them in, and (iii) the purpose we use them for.

Generating zine pages in pairs with new design ideas and scenarios combining our respective toolkits, contexts and purposes:

Finally, some wider reflective discussions on the 'broader' use of toolkits with communities:

Next steps:

  1. Gathering further reflections of the participants on the topic based on prompt questions
  2. Creating a summary blog post on the workshop website
  3. Authoring a thought piece based on these reflections in form of a magazine article (if there is interest)

Wednesday 5 June 2019