CHI 2017 Workshop on Design Research

  • Posted on 9th January 2017
CHI 2017 Workshop on Design Research

Along with an incredible group of progressive design researchers, I am co-organizing a workshop on Design Research at CHI 2017. You can find more here. Consider submitting something!

The Things of Design Research
Tom Jenkins, Georgia Tech
Kristina Andersen, STEIM
Bill Gaver, Goldsmiths
William Odom, Simon Fraser University
James Pierce, Carnegie Mellon University
Anna Vallgårda, IT University of Copenhagen

Design research is a growing mode of research within the HCI community. At the same time, the role of the artifact in generating knowledge outcomes from research through design (RtD) is ripe for examination. We hope to bring together researchers and practitioners who are interested in exploring how the things of design practice are able to contribute to academic dialogue within HCI and related design fields. By assembling various practitioners and the objects they have designed and produced together in a single room, we seek to be able to discuss the process and practices of research through design and link these closely with material outcomes—design things.

Design things enact multiple roles in the context of the process of design. They are messy, and support many different values and viewpoints along the way. The design thing “aligns humans and nonhuman resources into to move the object of design forward, to support the emergence, translation, and performance” of the design object through “participation, intervention, and performance in [a] sociotechnical thing,” and produce, constitute, or perform knowledge via their dissemination and use.

This one-day workshop will provide an opportunity to examine how artifacts can produce and support research outcomes in themselves, and as material bridges to the process through which they emerge. This workshop will combine hands-on examination of design objects, comparison of design experiences, and discussion about qualities of these that are usually necessarily excluded from published academic texts.

Workshop themes include:

  • Materiality – What are the material qualities of interactive and physical designed objects?
  • Process – What role do material objects during the design the process? In what ways can material outcomes offer insight into the design process from which they emerged?
  • Quality of outcomes – In what ways can we judge the quality of designed objects?
  • Material knowledge and physical rhetoric – What ways of understanding material outcomes as their own non-verbal or less verbal forms of knowledge or rhetoric are possible?
  • Insights into practice – What can a discussion of things teach us about the practice of designing, producing, and presenting them—as research or otherwise?
  • Things of design – how is the design thing constituted? What kinds of human and nonhuman perspectives is it assembling?

Interested participants are invited to submit an artifact to bring to this workshop. This should include:

  • A position paper in CHI archival format (maximum 2 pages) describing the research object under consideration
  • Other digital documentation of the artifact itself (e.g., image, video, website, software application)

In addition, participants are asked to submit a brief (200 word) personal biography.

Submissions will be accepted based on quality and interest, and will represent a spectrum of practices, materials, backgrounds, and concerns. Submissions may be sent via email to workshop organizers at

At least one author of each accepted position paper must register and attend the workshop. All workshop participants must register for both the workshop and for at least one day of the ACM CHI conference.