Theory and Its Obligations

Time and location: 4:00-5:00 pm, Thursday, June 27, Bayview 1

Organizers: Jeffrey Bardzell and Paul Dourish

Panelists: Margot Brereton, Lilly Irani, and Vera Khovanskaya

Abstract: The DIS community has a long tradition of using the works of philosophers and critical theorists in research, including such thinkers as Heidegger, Foucault, Butler, Shusterman, Verbeek, and Tsing. When we think about theory in design, a number of questions arise. First, is theory only ever imported, or can we think about DIS research as a site at which theory is produced? Second, what are our obligations to get theory right in its own terms while also making it accessible and useful to the DIS community? Third, what are our responsibilities for contributing back to the theoretical traditions from which we are drawing? This panel will explore the range of obligations and responsibilities that characterize the DIS community’s engagement with theory.

Designing Change and Changing Design

Time and location: 11:00-12:30 pm, Friday, June 28, Mission 2/ 3

Organizers: Josh Tonenbaum

Panelists: Jon Back, Stacy Branham, Sarah Fox, Cindy Lin, and Norman Su

Abstract: Herbert Simon defined design as “courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” We ask: “better for whom?” Design implicitly privileges certain points-of-view, bodies, and communities. The Change through Design paper subcommittee invited the DIS community to consider design’s potential to enact positive change, and tackle complex societal, environmental, and political challenges. We asked what are the ethical and moral dimensions of design? Who is allowed to participate in design?Our community has long discussed questions of ethical design. Currently, stakes for design are especially high as we reckon with the detrimental impact of technology on interpersonal relationships, governance, and environmental health. In this panel we reflect upon how we can balance the tension between our stated values, and the pathologies of capitalism.