In Denmark

The week before I left the UK, I had a day with Michael Leitner from the Design School at Northumbria playing with lo-fi electronic 40 second sound recorders and stitching them into fabrics. I left one on my desk with a message and the mischievous John Vines recorded over it, so the next day there were these weird sounds that were like eery voices of the dead! Here’s a vid on how it works ….

Been almost two weeks since I arrived in Aarhus and have been getting my head into the PD literature some more and working with that. Just got back from Copenhagen after a couple of days looking at what people are up to at the Royal Danish Design School and IT-U. Attended the mid-term PhD presentation for Maria Foverskov. She is at the same point as me, having just completed the field work and now trying to make sense of the materials, interviews, actions and interventions she has been involved with over the past year. She has been working on the co-design of outdoor exercise services for seniors with a number of government and academic institutions and has come from a practice based design background. She has been trying to understand the practice of co-design through performance studies and actor network theory.

I could see and hear all the same struggles that I have been facing and I know others have been facing in aligning the practice with the theory and reality of academic expectations with the moral and ethical concerns and assumptions of working and representing people as part of research. She had two other researchers Ramia Maze from the Interactive Institute Sweden and Ellen Christiansen from Aalborg University helping to further frame and give advice on what she had done so far and how she might seek to bring this together for the thesis. I remember thinking why don’t we have something like this in the lab? The key thing was the fact that both Ellen and Ramia had prepared a 30-40 minute constructive, well considered and well articulated response to the prepared material, clearly positioning themselves in the field and where they see the contribution of the work. A lot of food for thought. Issues of being a practitioner and then coming into the field of research and some of the taken for granted ways in which research expects you to work and the negotiation of this into a practice. Tension between completion of objects and artefacts and the possibility of the unfinalizability of design if you’re working towards a future space that you as a designer might create something that is less well defined. Here are the notes – Royal Danish School of Design

On Tuesday night spent the evening with lovely Tali Padan after missing Jamie Allen who was off to Naples. We had a great chat about her work as a mediator between the Jewish community and other faith based organisations as part of an interfaith network project she has been working on with the Anne Frank trust. She has been trying to discuss ways of having more meaningful dialogue about what is happening in Palestine and Israel, because some people have expressed an interest in this. She has said this is all a bit difficult, but she takes it all with a pinch of salt.

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Yesterday had a trip to the design museum and then met Lone Malmborg at IT-U. They are making lots of exciting things with seniors and she has just set up a design studio that functions as a display space and testing space for ideas. Spoke to Irina Shklovski about her current work editing a journal on transnational HCI with Lucy Suchman, followed by some time in the sunshine before a train back to Aarhus. Off to see some kind of weird and wonderful interactive listening device at the library this afternoon that was built by some of the guys here.

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