Workshop at PDC

This workshop discusses power, participation and the politics of PD. It invites participants to use their own experiences with and material from PD projects for exploring the political dimension of PD. This exploration will be supported by a set of concepts that have proved helpful in understanding the politics of PD: power, decision-making, and participation. The conceptual framework we propose has been inspired by Schön’s notion of ‘design moves’ and by Alfred Schütz’ concept of choice. In design – as in certain situations in everyday life – we make choices and select among them, with every design move closing some choices whilst opening others. Understanding this dynamic is important for recognizing what users actually participate in: creating choices, selecting a choice, materializing a choice,  ‘seeing’/evaluating the result of a choice. Analyzing how choices are opened and closed and who participates in decision-making as an element of participatory design practice leads to a more precise understanding of power issues. In the workshop participants’ PD experiences will be explored collaboratively with the aim of arriving at a deeper and more specific understanding of what the users participate in and how they can recognize their influence in the design result.