1st Edition

Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Participatory Design

    322 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This handbook offers a comprehensive overview of key themes and agendas in contemporary Participatory Design across diverse disciplines, continents, communities, and practices. Building on Participatory Design’s core values of empowerment and democracy, the handbook explores how the field is developing and diversifying to address contemporary societal challenges in a global community.

    Participatory Design actively engages peoples, groups and other actors in collaborative design processes to explore and co-create their everyday technologies, practices, and environments. In doing so, Participatory Design aims to address social justice and agency by including diverse actors in the collective shaping of alternative futures. Participatory Design embraces a diverse collection of principles and practices aimed at making technologies, environments, organisations and institutions more responsive to human and planetary needs. In this volume, a multidisciplinary and international group of highly experienced and recognised experts present an authoritative review of the contemporary field and discuss the diverse opportunities and challenges that arise from pivotal issues in Participatory Design, including scaling, collectives, sustainability and more-than-human, decolonisation, emerging technologies and AI, new approaches, methods, and engagement beyond academia. 

    The handbook advances contemporary research, theory, and practice, and highlights case studies that demonstrate how Participatory Design can bring about game-changing shifts in diverse contexts. The volume is an invaluable resource for students, researchers, scholars, and professionals who seek to utilise Participatory Design research and practice to enrich, support and transform complex contemporary conditions towards inclusive, sustainable and transitional futures.

    1. Contemporary Participatory Design: An Introduction

    Rachel Charlotte Smith, Liesbeth Huybrechts, Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Daria Loi and Jesper Simonsen


    Section I: Contemporary Participatory Design


    2. Scaling Participatory Design

    Claus Bossen, Reem Talhouk and John Vines


    3. Collectives and Participatory Design

    Liesbeth Huybrechts, Maurizio Teli, Joanna Saad-Sulonen and Mariacristina Sciannamblo


    4. More-Than-Human Participatory Design

    Sara Heitlinger, Ann Light, Yoko Akama, Kristina Lindström and Åsa Ståhl


    5. Decolonisation and Participatory Design

    Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Rachel Charlotte Smith, Frederick M. C. van Amstel and Andrea Botero


    6. Emerging Technologies and Alternative Futures

    Christopher Frauenberger, Rachel Charlotte Smith, Daria Loi, Laura Forlano and Ole Sejer Iversen


    7. New Approaches, Methods and Techniques

    Jesper Simonsen, Christian Dindler and Chiara Del Gaudio


    8. Participatory Design Beyond Academia

    Daria Loi, Penny Hagen and Raphael Arar


    Section II: Exemplary Participatory Design


    9. CoDesigning Dementia Culture(s)

    Yanki Lee, Niels Hendriks and Andrea Wilkinson



    10. Collective Capabilities in Living Labs

    Liesbeth Huybrechts, Pablo Calderón Salazar, Katrien Dreessen and Mela Zuljevic


    11.  Reconciliation Through Digital Textiles


    12. Living Labs for Open-Ended Participatory Design


    13. Teaching Participatory Design

    Vincenzo D’Andrea, Betsy DiSalvo, Giacomo Poderi and Jesper Simonsen


    Afterthoughts for an Emergent Future

    Statements by Susanne Bødker and Pelle Ehn


    Rachel Charlotte Smith is Associate Professor of Human-Centred Design at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her research focuses on everyday digital transformations and sustainable technology futures through Participatory Design and Design Anthropology. She co-chaired PDC 2016 in Denmark and is Chair of the PDC Advisory Board 2020–2024.

    Daria Loi is Chief Experience Officer at Astral and Founder at Imperfecta, USA. Her work combines design strategy and participatory research with the goal of enriching people’s everyday lives. She was Conference Co-Chair for PDC 2010 in Australia, Co-Chair of the PDC Advisory Board 2020–2022, and Beyond Academia Chair for every PDC since 2014.

    Heike Winschiers-Theophilus is Professor in Software Engineering at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia, and UNESCO Chair in Digital Technology Design with Indigenous People. Collaborating with local communities, she conceptualised community-based co-design, grounded in principles of Participatory Design, Afrocentricity and Ubuntu. She co-chaired PDC 2014 in Namibia and PDC 2024 in Malaysia.

    Liesbeth Huybrechts is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Architecture and Arts at the University of Hasselt, Belgium. Based on Participatory Design, Design Anthropology and spatial transformation processes, her research applies design and politics for/with participatory exchanges between human and material/natural environments. She co-chaired PDC 2018 in Belgium and is Co-Chair of the PDC Advisory Board 2022–2024.

    Jesper Simonsen is Professor of Participatory Design at Roskilde University, Denmark. He has over thirty years of experience conducting participatory design projects and was Programme Chair of PDC 2008, General Chair of PDC 2012, and Chair of the PDC Advisory Board 2014–2019. His books include The Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Design (2013).

    Amidst growing awareness of the need for future making projects that decentre the role of top-down and profit-driven institutions, this Handbook offers an update on the premises and practices of participatory design. Designing here is not a goal or artifact-oriented task to be completed, but ongoing engagement in the resource-differentiated locations, contested politics, relations, knowledges, and collective practices through which transformative possibilities are materialized. As reflected in these writings, the field itself is opening to include sites of design innovation beyond the parochial boundaries of the hyper-developed world, including pluriversal social movements aimed at unsettling, reparation, transition, and regeneration. As a sign of the field’s maturity, and consistent with its commitment to learning in doing, these chapters offer more in the way of critical reflection on troubles encountered than on their neat resolution. It is precisely for this reason that the Handbook will be an invaluable resource for researchers, teachers, students, and practitioners interested in the history and present of the field, as well as those already engaged in projects of participatory design who are looking for renewed inspiration.

    Lucy Suchman, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Lancaster University, UK