Theorizing Design of ‘Human Technologies’

What exactly are human technologies, and how can we theorize about designing them? These questions are big and fundamental ones – but important – and they will be raised by our DHT researcher and director of the University Strategic Research Initiative Designing Human Technologies Jesper Simonsen along with other DHT researchers on a number of events this year.

Most importantly, we will discuss this at our seminar at Roskilde University on June 4th, 14:00-16:00 (room 43-2.29).

The questions will also be raised and discussed among other places at the Mobilities & Design Workshop in April, CeMoRe Lancaster, at our phd-seminar in May, at this year’s conference of the Danish Association for Science and Technology Studies, DASTS, in June 2014, at the Information Systems Research Seminar in Scandinavia, IRIS, in August 2014 – which has the general topic of Designing Human Technologies as this year’s conference theme, and it is furthermore planned to be discussed at the Participatory Design Conference, PDC in October 2014.

As mentioned previously on this blog, Jesper Simonsen has together with Morten Hertzum, Jørgen Lerche Nielsen and Søren Riis written an abstract for the DASTS 2014 about the topic and with the same name of this blog post. The abstract can be seen here: Theorizing Design of ‘Human Technologies. The occasion for the revision of the fundamental theme behind this strategic research initiative is among others that all initial goals set for the research area almost have been met, and hence the research area might pursue new and even more ambitious goals and challenges.

In the abstract for DASTS 2014, it says things that “at Roskilde University, we have since 2008 strived to establish a new main subject area – Designing Human Technologies – alongside the three longstanding main subject areas: Natural Science, the Humanities, and Social Science”.

An important point from the abstract is that a range of topics not previously recognized as legitimate science – but finding its way into an increasing amount of university curricula none the less – should be recognized for this theory to be as accurate and purposeful as possible: “Reflections on aesthetics, ethics, values, connections to politics, and strategies for enabling a better future should be recognized as legitimate”.

46 researchers on 33 design projects
One of our key activities within the research initiative of Designing Human Technologies has been engaging in collective discussions and reflecting upon our different design project experiences. These discussions and shared reflections has led to the publishing of two recent anthologies – Situated Design Methods (MIT Press, 2014) and Design Research: Synergies from Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Routledge, 2010) – in which a total of 46 researchers reflect on 33 different design projects.

About this process, the DASTS 2014 abstract says that “in spite of diverse backgrounds, our reflections have uncovered a shared understanding of the design process depicted in a general process model that emphasizes the emergent properties of design and in a collection of 18 situated methods for design”.

One Comment to "Theorizing Design of ‘Human Technologies’"

  1. […] also: *Theorizing Design of ‘Human Technologies’ *DASTS: Course in postphenomenology *Dansk STS-konference på RUC *Nyt fælles mål for […]

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