ADA - an analog interactive installation / kinetic sculpture
at PDC Participatory Design Conference in Namibia

“Reflecting connectedness”
Participatory Design Conference
Safari Court Hotel

Corner of Auas and Aviation Streets
Windhoek, Namibia
7th – 10th October 2014

“Reflecting connectedness”
Although ‘Participatory Design’ as such has not been a prevalent term in Africa, ‘Participation’ however is a familiar concept in Africans’ every day activities and deeply anchored in the Southern African philosophy of UBUNTU, recognising principles of relationships between people. Besides, societies all over the world have acknowledged profound links between people and their environment for many centuries. Moreover we are currently experiencing a technologically pushed trend in ‘being always connected’. This is manifested in a number of designed artefacts, such as smart-phones, social networks, computer supported cooperative and distributed working tools.

By ‘reflecting connectedness’ in participatory design, we acknowledge influential relations across continents, societies, people, disciplines and time, beyond the direct involvement of stakeholders. We recognise the value of accumulated experiences elsewhere and over time to enrich the field of Participatory Design. We further engage in critical debates of what it means to design within and for a multilayered network, such as the on-line world versus off-line interactions, the blurring distinction of designers and users, researchers and artists, design and research ‘in the wild’, designing for social justice, inclusiveness, and sustainability.

The 2014 PDC will be a platform to connect ‘in person’ with designers, researchers, artists, practitioners and other related people, to engage in fruitful dialogues, to participate in numerous activities such as tutorials, workshops, doctorial consortiums, participatory art encounters, paper presentations as well as game viewing and exquisite dinning.

All in all you are looking forward to an unforgettable conference experience with many new insights and connections.

ADA - an analog interactive kinetic sculpture by Karina Smigla-Bobinski, similiar to Tinguely's «Méta-Matics», acts itself. At Tinguely's it is sufficient to be an unwearily struggling mechanical being. He took it wryly: the machine produces nothing but its industrial self-destruction. Whereas «ADA» is a post-industrial "creature", visitor animated, creatively acting artist-sculpture, self-forming artwork, resembling a molecular hybrid, such as a one from nano biotechnology. It developes the same rotating silicon-carbon-hybrids, midget tools, miniature machines able to generate simple structures. > more   > photos   > videos

PDC Participatory Design is a diverse collection of principles and practices aimed at making technologies, tools, environments, businesses, and social institutions more responsive to human needs. A central tenet of Participatory Design is the direct involvement of people in the co-design of things and technologies they use.

Participatory Design Conferences have been held every two years since 1990 and have formed an important venue for international discussion of the collaborative, social, and political dimensions of technology innovation and use. More recently, the conference agendas have broadened to address participatory approaches in a variety of other arenas, including communications, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), healthcare, new media, architecture, the arts, and others.

The conferences started as a dialogue about user involvement in IT systems development between, on the one hand, Scandinavian scholars and promoters and, on the other hand, European and Americans interested in how the Scandinavian experience could be adopted and extended. Since then, the conference agendas have broadened to address participatory approaches in a variety of other arenas, including communications, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), healthcare, new media, architecture, the arts, and others.

PDCs bring together a multidisciplinary and international group of software developers, researchers, social scientists, managers, designers, practitioners, users, cultural workers, activists and citizens who both advocate and adopt distinctively participatory approaches in the development of information and communication artifacts, systems, services and technology. A central concern has always been to understand how collaborative design processes can be driven by the participation of the people affected by the technology designed.

Participatory Design approaches have been used in traditional application domains (such as computer systems for business, CSCW, healthcare and government) and more recently in areas such as web-portal design, e-government services, community networks, enterprise resource planning, social administration and community development, university/community partnerships, telehealth, communities of practice and political deliberation/mobilization (e-democracy), digital arts and design, scholarship and teaching with mediated technologies (e-learning), the experience of a sense of place, Participatory Design in developing countries, cultural production and cultural institutions. > more

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