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Recent HCI research agendas have placed emphasis on designing technology for user empowerment and technology democratisation. In the last decade, different tools and toolkits have become available that enabled people to create their own technologies. This has made it is easier for an individual to become a maker. There is also a hype around the Maker Movement, which is a strong community and culture around DIY/maker and heavy users of different toolkits. While the movement seems to well align with the research agenda, it has been criticised for lacking diversity and practicality in the broader world. The question remains how toolkits can afford and sustain wider participation of different communities in technology design. We also see a potential in discussing how HCI research could contribute to unpacking toolkits as tools for empowerment and thinking about the role of making in broader practice.

In this one-day workshop at C&T’19, we aim to bring together researchers, designers, and practitioners with an interest in DIY/making toolkits for people from diverse backgrounds, for different purposes, and in a variety of contexts. We encourage sharing insights, discuss experiences, and identify key challenges and strategies for designing and using toolkits to engage people in technology design. The goal is to identify different ways in which toolkits can empower people and establish new connections with those developing toolkits or using toolkits as research tools.

Call for Participants

Toolkits enable people to create their own technologies. This aligns well with recent calls within the CSCW, HCI and design community arguing for designing digital technologies that empower users. Toolkits present unique opportunities for realising the potentials of end-user empowerment and give people access to tools and approaches for shaping their own lives with their own designs. However, the question remains how these toolkits should be designed to serve the diverse needs of different user groups for their respective purposes and practices.

This one-day workshop offers a space for researchers, designers, and practitioners to share their experiences from designing and using toolkits with different communities. How can toolkits become tools for empowerment? In which ways do they enable grassroots innovation, serving both specific needs of different people and broader community agendas? The overarching goal of the workshop is to learn from the many different ways toolkits are designed to empower different people and actually used by diverse communities (that may alter from the original design intentions).

We invite interested candidates to submit a 500-word abstract and a complementing poster design. The submission should highlight the toolkits, target communities, and specific application contexts, and share some reflections on success and failure of using the toolkits. Submissions (in PDF only) should be submitted to p.jarusriboonchai [at] gmail.com. The submissions will be reviewed based on their relevance to the workshop theme and potential for contributing to discussions.

Deadline: 3 May 2019

Notification: 6 May 2019

Workshop day:  4 June 2019

Please note that we require at least one author of each accepted position paper to attend the workshop.

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