Unfolding participation over time in the design of IT
Introductory text in journal, 2018
The aim of this special issue is to continue and contribute to the debate around the conceptualisations and understandings of participation in Participatory Design (PD) and related areas of human–computer interaction (HCI) research, recently invigorated by Vines et al. (2015 Vines, John, Rachel Clarke, Ann Light, and Peter Wright. 2015. “The Beginnings, Middles and Endings of Participatory Research in HCI: An Introduction to the Special Issue on ‘Perspectives on Participation’”, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 74: 77–80.10.1016/j.ijhcs.2014.11.002), Halskov and Hansen (2015 Halskov, Kim, and Nicolai B. Hansen. 2015. “The Diversity of Participatory Design Research Practice at PDC 2002–2012”. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 74: 81–92.10.1016/j.ijhcs.2014.09.003) and Saad-Sulonen et al. (2015 Saad-Sulonen, Joanna, Kim Halskov, Liesbeth Huybrechts, John Vines, Eva Eriksson, and Helena Karasti. 2015. “Unfolding Participation. What Do We Mean by Participation – Conceptually and in Practice”. In Proceedings of the 5th Decennial Aarhus Conference, Critical Alternatives – Vol. 2, 5–8. New York: ACM.). Ongoing transformations in IT-mediated participation in contemporary societies are challenging us to explore the changing nature of participation in IT design. Some of the questions that emerge relate to the need to rethink notions and practices of participation as they relate to temporality. We are now seeing a multitude of PD research and practice that range in temporal scale, from single projects taking place at one point in time to connected and hard to delineate projects that occur over years. Researchers are starting to acknowledge the significance of PD work that occurs in the background and in-between the typically reported on design activities conducted with participants. Furthermore, we’ve seen recent discussions emerge around the ways activities conducted both prior and after the typical project time of PD can impact and influence research and practice; from shaping eventual outcomes based on decisions made prior to involving participants in design, to considering the long-term sustainability, scalability and transferability of outcomes and learnings. As such, the temporal dimensions of PD are expanding greatly both conceptually and in practice. Our special issue aims to address these emerging areas of interest in PD.