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Participatory Design in an Era of Participation, Special Issue

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This special issue on participatory design in an era of participation presents emerging topics and discussions from the thirteenth Participatory Design conference (PDC), held at Aarhus University in August 2016. The PDC 2016 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Participatory Design conference series, which began in 1990 with the first biannual conference in Seattle. Since then, the PDC conferences have continued to bring together a multidisciplinary, international community of researchers and practitioners around issues of cooperative design. The theme for the 2016 PDC conference was ‘Participatory Design in an Era of Participation.’ Critical and constructive discussions were invited on the values, characteristics, politics and future practices of participatory design in an era in which participation has now become pervasive (Bossen, Smith, Kanstrup, McDonnell, et al. 2016, Bossen, Smith, Kanstrup, Huybrechts, et al. 2016).

The five papers in this special issue demonstrate how different perspectives on participation can be used and reconfigured in diverse contemporary contexts. The rich cases show how participatory design’s democratic and political values and ideals continue to be applied to shape and generate reflections and opportunities that matter in specific contexts. It is this constructive and creative attention to people’s aspirations and values, the political contexts, and the particularities of each setting that creates the depth and qualities of participatory design processes that are often forgotten in the overriding concern with innovation and technology for ‘the future’. In the contemporary era of participation, participatory design research shows how the unique translation and operationalisation of participation can be shaped—through critical, political, creative, ethical and empathic approaches—in such a way as to design sustainable technologies and alternative futures in everyday contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages78
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017
EventParticipatory Design Conference 2016 - Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 15 Aug 201619 Aug 2016
Conference number: 14
SeriesCoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts


ConferenceParticipatory Design Conference 2016
LocationAarhus University

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