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Repertoires for designing with nonhumans

Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
HCI and design researchers are increasingly seeing limitations to human-centeredness in design. As a result, researchers are turning to new explorations that emphasize the need to see design and computing within a broader set of more-than-human relations and values. In this shift toward posthumanism, related theories and philosophies have long pointed out the need and challenge of decentering the human. In design, this challenge falls to the human designer. It requires design practitioners to critically and introspectively rethink their relations to methods, practices, and nonhumans such as tools and materials. The work in this dissertation investigates possible actions that the human designer can take to increase the participation of nonhumans, or what is referred to as repertoires. The work presented in this dissertation develops repertoires through three design cases: Videos of Things, which looks at how to better account for nonhumans through narrative strategies; Morse Things, which reconsiders design journeys as a way to pay attention to nonhumans in the design process, and; Woven Things, which draws from anthropological approaches to develop three repertoires to actively work with the nonhumans of design. The work takes a first-person approach to design with a commitment to thing perspectives. The contribution of this dissertation is as follows: firstly, it articulates and mobilizes three repertoires. It also offers the process of developing such repertoires, strengthens their position amongst existing methods and activities of design in HCI, and illustrates the nuances and attitudes necessary to engage in more-than-human design.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Wakkary, Ron
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