Institutioning: Participatory Design, Co-Design and the Public Realm
Magazine article, 2017
In this introductory article to the special issue ‘Co-design and the public realm’, we discuss a common interest in how meso- and macro-political institutional contexts frame and are informed by Participatory Design (PD) and Co-Design processes. We argue that unilateral focus within PD and Co-Design on the micro-political scale of fieldwork obscures interactivity with institutional framing processes, undermining their potential as sites of critique and political change. Our argument is drawn from a study of literature on the role of institutions in relation to PD and the public realm and our experience as participants in an EU-funded research project. The case study descriptions unpack how various institutional frames inform PD processes and how, conversely, PD processes inform various institutional frames: metacultural frames, institutional action frames and policy frames. To highlight the move to engaging with and creating new institutions, we introduce the notion of institutioning.