Hi everyone. In this video, we are going to cover some big picture concepts around really unpacking the notion of co-design and thinking critically about co-design,
what are some of the issues that are raised by co-design that we really need to attend to and be thoughtful about?
So I wanted to pull out a couple of points from the Unpacking the Notion of Participation in Participatory Design article,
which is really geared directly at that topic and I think raised a lot of great points for us to consider.
The article gets into the nuance of of the approach of participatory design,
and that’s maybe a phrase that we haven’t used as much, but has a lot of resonance with co-design.
And the article particularly talks through or raises really questions of power and privilege around participatory or co-design processes.
They also highlight some of the practical limitations of the approach. As they write,
“It often remains unclear what it is that the users participate in what and how they
contribute to the design result and how they can see that they’ve contributed.”
And we’ve already talked about how important those aspects are to a process that really is collaborative and not extractive,
and yet it’s not easy to accomplish and that’s some of the some of what this article is talking about.
I think that also the paper for those of us who like frameworks and I know I’ve I’ve said this before,
this paper presents a framework for analyzing participation and design.
And so I think that can be a useful tool to think with as you’re thinking about co-design for your projects to approach some of these questions.
One other quote that stood out for me from that article was the idea of and this is a quote “moving away from idealizing notions of participation,
showing that there may be different degrees of participation in a participatory design project” end quote.
So that felt important to me because I at least personally tend to have the sense that participation if we’re going to invite participation,
there’s some kind of ideal or full participation, whatever that might mean or whatever that might look like,
and that everyone needs to be participating in the same way to the same extent.
And I think that, you know, it’d it’d be really interesting for you as you’re reading the article to think through that a little bit
related to what we’ve been talking about around inclusive design and especially design justice approaches.
If the end goal of that of the approaches are to are of a co-design approach is to help shape the practices we engage in.
And if the end goal of design justice is true co-ownership with code designers and having a real stake in the process and then the product,
does that require a particular type of participation? So I think that raises some interesting questions when we think about, you know,
we’ve talked about who sits at your table of collaboration, who needs to be involved in the co-design process.
So that’s sort of one step. But then there’s a question around how how do people engage?
What are the expectations for engagement? What is participation actually look like?
And so those are some interesting questions, I think raised in this piece.
Yeah, I think that’s incredibly important, and one of the readings that we’re not having you do,
but we’re going to use this week in a couple of our discussions and class is Chicago Beyond Guidebook,
and it’s titled Why am I always being researched?
And it’s focusing on the ways in which power dynamics might impact the outcome of a co-design process or in particular,
for this, this particular publication of research of a kind of community based research project.
And what I appreciate about it is that. It not only highlights the fact that power and privilege can get in the way of full participation,
it actually names the kinds of power that can get in the way of full participation and and the
kind of participation that we would hope to see in these kinds of research or co-design efforts.
So they actually named seven kinds of power dynamics.
So access, who has access, who might be missing out. Information, who has access to the information that’s needed,
the options that are available. Validity, who has the power to decide what’s valid and what’s not?
We’re going to come to that a little bit this week when we talk about evidence. Ownership, who gets to own what comes out of it.
And you highlighted that in in the previous reading as well.
Value, who gets to that to gain value from a from a project. Accountability who is held accountable for that project. And authorship,
who actually gets to kind of be named. And in Design
Sasha Costanza Chock also talks a bit about who gets to be kind of named as and recognized as a contributor or full participant in a process
in the ways in which that that question of itself generates some challenges and some opportunities for how we talk about our co-designers.
So what I really appreciate about this, you know,
the naming of these seven power dynamics that might influence a co-design or a co- research project is that by naming it,
you can then start to think about how to address it. So throughout the rest of the Chicago Beyond guidebook,
they go through each area of power and talk about the ways in which researchers or co-
designers, designers, could really try to address those issues of power in their project.
So by naming it, you can then start to work against it or work work to counter it.
So that is something that as you think about the ways in which full participation, you know,
as LW said, there are many ways that people might participate in a co-design process.
But as you aim towards more full participation and more involvement of folks in
marginalized communities and communities that are not typically at the table,
you’ll want to really think about naming some of those power dynamics that might
shape their ability to fully participate and how to address those by naming them.
As we talk this week, we’re going to we’re going to get into not only kind of who gets to be at the table and what how expertise is valued,
how lived experience is valued. We’ll get into some of that. We’re also going to get into what is evidence, right?
As you start to consider what information either comes up through your discover
process or what information is pulled from previous inspirations or ideas or noticing.
You’ll want to think about what counts as evidence towards how we think about the design.
And I’ll leave you with a quote from the Chicago Beyond guidebook that says “if evidence matters, we must care how it gets made.”
And I think when we talk about participatory approaches, if we care about evidence we have to,
we have to care about how it gets made, whether that’s bringing something in from the outside.
We need to understand how it’s made and maybe some of the things that shaped it and
understand that so that it doesn’t shape our approaches in ways that don’t make sense.
But also, if we’re creating evidence within the context of our co-design process, we have to care about how that gets made as well.
So we look forward to having those conversations with you this week and we will see you soon.