Online Conference, 25-26 March 2021 | SDN Symposium
SDN Symposium
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16:00 - 17:30


Agency, Action Research, Creative Facilitation, Co-Creation

Our session introduces three conference contributions through the format of an interactive podcast in which the papers of the three authors will be presented in parts that relate thematically rather than presenting three long papers individually. The conversation will follow a narrative of topics that are considered important in the three papers. Those include questions of agency and the different ways in which design can play a role in empowering processes of people who are stigmatized and marginalized due to different aspects, such as poverty, ethnicity or sexual orientation, and how as such it contributes to the common good. This conversation should take around 60 minutes, accompanied by visuals that support the understanding of the three conference contributions. Finally the audience will be invited to a discussion guided by questions posed by the panel, and have the opportunity to raise questions of their own.

Panel speakers

Presented papers

  • Self-Awareness: a Participatory Design Methodology for the Co-Creation of Empowerment Images

    by Sérgio Pires, Pedro Bessa

    Non-normative sexualities and gender expressions are still taboo subjects in Portugal, despite recent improvement in legislation. Due to associated stigma, many youths, whether or not going through a coming-out process of acknowledging their non-normative identity, avoid the subject, and may experience feelings of guilt and/or internalized homophobia. A research in progress at the University of Aveiro, started an advertising campaign in order to promote a message of self-confidence and celebration of individual difference among teenagers and youths. Using methodologies associated with participatory design and co-creation processes, it was possible to involve together designers and youths (coming from various Portuguese regions), from beginning to end. Despite adverse circumstances caused by the current COVID19 pandemic, this first phase was achieved with relative success, having been possible to organize a set of relevant themes, and to create and test a few prototypes.

  • Design as a Facilitator for Social Inclusion

    by Hina Shahid

    This paper explores the use of design-process, methods and pedagogy to promote social inclusion and pluralism among the youth. It makes the case that design’s opportunity-driven approach combined with abductive reasoning and thinking is better suited to tackle uncertain, ambiguous and ever evolving wicked problems such as exclusion-bias, discrimination and hate. It further discusses the work of a design-led social impact initiative based in the United States that uses design and creative facilitation to develop programs intended to cultivate a culture of inclusion in schools and classrooms. This paper outlines the use of systemic and individual behavior change strategies predominantly by; 1) developing learning modules, 2) cultivating pluralist competencies in students, and 3) capacity building for educators—providing facilitation tools and training for implementation at scale. Tested with more than 100 students and six educational institutes, the paper talks about the measurement and impact of the learning modules.

  • Conversational Spaces in the Craft for Empowerment System in Pakistan

    by Gwendolyn Kulick

    Craft projects are a vital part of Pakistan’s grassroots empowerment sector, involving large development aid projects as well as small private initiatives and social enterprises or higher education institutions that aim to include social responsibility and cultural heritage into their curricula. At the backdrop of a large exploitative craft sector that employs millions of people, they are usually embedded in overarching objectives of poverty alleviation, cultural heritage preservation and social justice. With aid, empowerment and philanthropy serving as point of departure, it is not surprising that power imbalances between stakeholders in craft projects – those who are vulnerable to exploitation and those who aim to help them – dominate structures, processes and mind-sets. While they keep driving initiatives they pose barriers, especially when depending on foreign grant schemes, to more context sensitive establishment of ethical value chains. This paper introduces an extensive empirical design research process into the entanglements of craft in grassroots empowerment. It unfolded the potential for conversational spaces as a framework for collective critical reflection and action, in which stakeholders learn and support each other mutually, with a special focus on encouraging marginalized craft producers to articulate their positions and ideas.