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Indigenous Worldviews to Inform Participatory Creativity

Ricardo Sosa

This focused reflection explores how Mesoamerican worldviews can inform participatory work. Purépecha accounts of creation are examined here to discover insights and entailments that sustain other ways of creating. With this, we wish to formulate deep questions about the core beliefs and views of what design(s) can be in a more inclusive world.


P for political: Participation Without Agency Is Not Enough

Aakash Gautam, Deborah Tatar

Participatory Design’s vision of democratic participation assumes participants’ feelings of agency in envisioning a collective future. But this assumption may be leaky when dealing with vulnerable populations. We reflect on the results of a series of activities aimed at supporting agentic-future-envisionment with a group of sex-trafficking survivors in Nepal. We observed a growing sense among the survivors that they could play a role in bringing about change in their families. They also became aware of how they could interact with available institutional resources. Reflecting on the observations, we argue that building participant agency on the small and personal interactions is necessary before demanding larger Political participation. In particular, a value of PD, especially for vulnerable populations, can lie in the process itself if it helps participants position themselves as actors in the larger world.


Service design and participatory design: time to join forces?

Joanna Saad-Sulonen, Amalia de Götzen, Nicola Morelli, Luca Simeone

We address the theme of “participation(s) otherwise” by bringing forward what we see as an opportunity to combine existing participatory and service design approaches to participation in the way they weave connections between design, IT, digitalization and democracy, focusing on the context of the public sector. This is a context where participatory design, despite interest and projects, has not been widely adopted. However, service design, the ‘new kid on the block’, is establishing itself by very pragmatically addressing the emerging need for people-centered design approaches in organizations, including in the public sector. Service design might at first be easily dismissed by participatory design because of what may seem a superficial take on people-centeredness and its links to business-centered interest in ‘design’. With this exploratory paper, we emphasize what both disciplines can learn from one another and propose that participatory design and service design join forces in expanding notions of participation and addressing the challenges of digitalization in the public sector.


Design research for participatory policies: Paradoxes, Themes, Futures

Ashni Devan Shah, Milene Gonçalves, Ingrid Mulder

In keeping with the participatory turn, the current work discusses how a double-layered design approach can bring participatory design principles to the policy domain, illustrated by our experiences in a design project for the municipality of Delft, the Netherlands. More precisely, the approach described is double layered in nature, comprising of the Double Diamond design process, which aims to provide structure to the process, while the inclusion of the Frame Innovation method, aims to provide inspiration. First, this elaborate method is motivated in the context of the municipality of Delft, supported by current streams of literature on participatory design. Next, we present findings highlighting three pivotal moments experienced as a result of using this approach. By engaging in a reflective practice, key learnings and insights gained from the implementation of the approach are presented, as well as conclusions and recommendations for the field of design research within participatory design.


A Participatory Design Case Study in Environmental Design Education

Yumeng Xie, G. Mauricio Mejía, Paul Coseo, Chingwen Cheng

This article provides an overview and insights of challenges, potentials, and recommendations of teaching and applying Participatory Design (PD) in design education including the students’ point of view through studying a case – a Master of Landscape Architecture studio course in Arizona State University, U.S. Students collaborated with Mo’ili’ili community members in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. for two semesters, to co-design the renovations of Old Stadium Park through three phases of PD process – field study & listening; community engagement workshop (50+ people); and pop-up design conversations (100+ people). This research illustrates the challenges of integrating PD in design education, which includes uncertainty and flexibility, funding, trust-building, time management, access to diverse knowledge centers, research ability, and communication hurdles. As well as implications and recommendations such as encouraging students to be flexible; embracing uncertainty; making explicit learning goals; leaving comfort zones; improving communication and organizational facilitation skills; and utilizing research ability for better trust-building with communities.

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