Postphenomenology, Technology, Design

How can we use new materialist theories of agency and engagement by postphenomenologists such as Don Ihde and Peter-Paul Verbeek, or anthropologists and archaeologists such as Lambros Malafouris and Tim Ingold to account for the practices of users, consumers and craftpersons? How can we view the relations between technology, design and society under the light of these theories?

We met for a one-day workshop on 10 February 2020 at Middle East Technical University to discuss these and more. Here’s the list of participants:

  • Fazıl Akın (HFG OF_MAIN/PAU), How Technological Developments affect Mediation in Products: A Sample Investigation of Historical Evolution of Writing Instruments
  • Bilge Merve Aktaş (Aalto University), Human-Material Interactions in Craft Making
  • Elif Büyükkeçeci (METU/IEU), The involvement of Design within the Boundaries of Self: A Preliminary Study
  • Özgün Dilek (ITU/EsTU), Rethinking Phenomenology with ANT: An Onto-Phenomenological Inquiry on the Experiences of Makers for Agency and Change in Istanbul
  • F. Betül Gürtekin (METU), Phenomenological Approach to Bodily Experiences: Camera Use as Skilled Practice
  • Harun Kaygan (METU)
  • Ayşegül Özçelik (METU), The Inner Face of Object: Amateur Computer Repair Practice
  • Tuğba Tok (METU/OzU), Rethinking Makeup Practice Through the Material Engagement Theory

Completed thesis: Sezgi Kaya on technology use in Type-I Diabetes

Sezgi Kaya has successfully completed her Master’s thesis, titled “Biosociality and product design: User practices in Type 1 diabetes management” in November 2019 (Supervisor: Harun Kaygan). Congratulations!

Her thesis involved netnography of a social media diabetes forum, followed by interviews with users of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems. She documented users’ biosocial practices around device use with special regard to how the devices contribute to the visibility of the illness and how the devices coordinate the patients’ care networks. She was also interested in the user-experiential implications of dynamic, real-time monitoring of glucose.

Sezgi and I will present the findings of her thesis at the Chronic Living conference in Copenhagen 23-25 April.

Completed PhD thesis: Selin Gürdere Akdur on social design in Turkey

My first ever PhD student to complete her studies, Selin Gürdere Akdur has successfully completed her PhD, titled “Socially oriented design practices in Turkey: A critical analysis of participation and collaboration” and presented her thesis on 16 September 2019. Her work involved the compilation and analysis of 93 social design practices at the first stage, and the analysis of participatory approaches via in-depth interviews with facilitators of a selection at the second stage. The findings of the first stage were published here, where we discuss the salient features of the social design field in Turkey, from which we start deriving a framework for the study of local social design practices.

ID707 Critique of Design I Syllabus for 2019-2020

This year we move our focus away from conventional “cultural” analysis toward “material” analysis. In the first module we’ll be interested in actor-network theory, including design researchers’ take on ANT. In the second module, we’ll be interested in “material engagements.” With readings from postphenomenology (Ihde etc.), material engagement theory of Malafouris and ecological anthropology of Ingold.

Here is the syllabus. (Updated 11 November 2019)

New elective! ID362 Film Culture and Design Thematics: Science Fiction and Design

Black and white detail from ‘By Ducks’, Simon Stålenhag, 2016

I am happy to announce my new undergraduate elective on Science Fiction and Design.

This semester I resuscitate the course ID362 Film Culture and Design Thematics, which was an elective designed and run once by Prof. Dr Mehmet Asatekin many years ago. In line with the learning outcomes of the original course, I’ll be interested in science fiction film and literature, and we’ll collectively try to translate the resources into design insights.

Here’s the syllabus.

Completed thesis: Duygu Vatan on the Smart Village as DSI

Duygu Vatan has successfully completed her Master’s thesis, titled “Design for Social Innovation for rural development in Turkey: Actor relationships in the Smart Village project” in August 2019 (supervision: Harun Kaygan). Her work investigated the social innovation strategies of the designers of the Smart Village toward integrating smart agricultural technological into village life. In ethnographic work at the village, she looked into five different strategies: (1) crop selection facilitating technologies, (2) the plant breeding plot, (3) the smart pasture, (4) entrepreneurial development program, and (5) miscellaneous trainings. Her conclusions regard the different ways in which the villagers and the designers were co-constituted in the five strategies, and their successes and failings.

Completed thesis: Azra Süngü on Transition Design for Syrian Refugees

Azra Süngü has successfully completed her Master’s thesis, titled “ Designing transitions towards integration: Entrepreneurial capacity development for Syrians in Turkey” in August 2019 (supervision: Harun Kaygan). Here’s her abstract:

The growing intersection of design with systems science and social innovation gave way to new directions to the design discipline today, making it an actor in guiding and leveraging transitions for more sustainable futures. One of the critical transitions today is migration, for which Turkey has been a major scene. This shift of populations required mobilization of actors and resources at a systemic level, for the integration of Syrians. This thesis investigates entrepreneurship as a strategic approach towards integration through the case of Build Your Future entrepreneurship program for Syrians, through field observations and interviews with actors of the program. This thesis draws four main conclusions: (1) capacity development towards social change can be approached from a Transition Design framework, (2) open-ended processes can be employed to accommodate changes in the social context and leverage existing practices, (3) shared visions and cooperation are needed among solution stakeholders for systemic impact and (4) entrepreneurial capacity development activities towards refugees can be approached as agents of integration of refugees to local entrepreneurial ecosystems.