“‘…it’s your project, but it’s not necessarily your work…’: Infrastructuring, Situatedness, and Designing Relational Practice,” Participatory Design Conference 2016
This paper builds on trajectories in PD that attend to designers’ situatedness within the broader systemic contexts in which they work. It proposes (re)considering infrastructuring, understood as a range of approaches to designing socio-material systems, through attention to designers’ locations, as one way to imagine what is at stake when designing with people. The paper draws upon a reflective analysis of long-term design research with a social justice organization. The local context of the group and the larger socio-political-historical context of systems of policing with which the group contends shaped our understandings of what was necessary, possible and strategic. Working at the intersections of these infrastructures, in turn, shaped how we designed together. I propose “relational practice” as a framework for critically engaging designers’ dynamic positions in infrastructuring and argue that how we design relational practices, and how we understand them, is critical for how we approach infrastructuring as on-going work toward shared, if complex and difficult to imagine, social and political possibilities.
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PDC ’16 Proceedings of the 14th Participatory Design Conference: Full papers – Volume 1, 2016