Critical Alternatives conference Aarhus 2015

We were delighted to be invited to take part in two workshops as part of the critical alternatives conference in Aarhus, Denmark. Both workshops provided an opportunity to share experiences of research with others and establish new connections and future collaborative opportunities.


workshop one Monday 17th August: Embodying embodied design research techniques 

This workshop provided researchers interested in embodied design research to share methods and approaches used to capture embodied experiences. Each participant took turns in discussing their techniques via research probes which was previously requested by the facilitators to bring in as a means of communicating your method. This provided an interesting challenge for many of us that took part as some embodied methods involved large scale props. Alternatives needed to be considered and brought instead for each participant to experience. Discussions took place after every demonstration and similarities in approaches and thinking were gathered to identify possible collaborative opportunities. As a result the participants were team up in a mash up session with those who shared similar approaches or could benefit from each other. This session continued with the pairings exploring each other’s processes in an effort to combine and develop a new method. Each pair later presented to the rest of the group about how they considered combining their approaches and demonstrated this by re-enacting what they had done. By the afternoon a further mash up was encouraged with other members and the process was repeated again, this time with others with slightly different approaches which was interesting to experience how to now a number of approaches into a effective method. The workshop enabled the participants to consider how to engage others in their methods. Some of these methods had to be experience by those taking part. In addition to this, by adding in other methods this created a further challenge as to how to communicate this to the group with so many aspects to consider. The workshop enabled those involved to experience those challenges and consider ways in which to overcome them. As a result this has demonstrated the potential for a further workshop to reflect on those experiences and consider new approaches to communicating embodied design research.

For the full publication please follow the link below

Evidencing embodied participatory design

workshop two Tuesday 18th August: ‘Ive had it’ Group therapy for inter-disciplinary researchers

This workshop involved researchers sharing their experiences and challenges found within inter-disciplinary research. Each participant began with an ice-breaker where in pairs they had to describe each other’s backgrounds. Each of us found very quickly that this is no easy task and that not being able to fully understand each other’s research fields led to miscommunication. the facilitators set us with another task to consider what are the enjoyable aspects of inter-disciplinary research, what challenges do we face and what we consider inter-disciplinary research is. Each participant wrote their views on post-its some varying from sentences to single words to express their views. These were gathered on a white board randomly where an affinity diagram was then introduced by the facilitators to consider what were the main themes. Everyone was involved in this task, which led to often again misunderstandings of what people meant in their views and a discussion over what seemed appropriate to have as a theme. What was surprising in the views shown was the honesty given and how it was openly shared with the rest of the group. Each view was given thought and discussed amongst the group. Once the themes had been agreed in partial by the participants, the group were asked to develop a solution to a particular pressing issue within inter-disciplinary research. We were separated into groups and encouraged to be ambitious with our ideas. Within the groups it was often found that communication was key to addressing issues within inter-disciplinary research. Each group had the opportunity to present to each other their idea, which was in done in various formats in a comfortable and safe environment where our ideas were encouraged. The ideas presented by the groups demonstrated potential systems to be developed despite them being ambitious. The creativity found within the ideas led to consider how to actually make it into a feasible solution and that they were possible to implement. This workshop ended in considering how to take the reflections of the workshop forward into future workshops into designing solutions for issues found within inter-disciplinary research.

Three of our researchers submitted a brief abstract to the workshop about the experiences they have had within the research project. To view this brief abstract please follow the link below.

Bringing the Person-Centred Approach to Design Research; reflections on experience in the ‘An Internet of Soft Things’ project



We were delighted to be invited to take part in two workshops as part of the critical alternatives conference in […]