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.

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.

Completed thesis: Pınar Şimşek Çağlar on New Generation Offices

Pitstop and Lodge for Nurus, design by Ece Yalım, 2011 (image borrowed from subzect blog)

Pınar Şimşek Çağlar has successfully completed her Masters thesis, titled “Designing for the New Generation Workspaces: Considerations of Designers” in December 2018 (Supervision: Harun Kaygan). Through interviews with office furniture designers, her work presents amazing insights regarding the way new work is conceptualized in design discourse and materialized in office settings. Good job!

Completed thesis: Utku Ay on Amateur Design Practices of Football Fandom Groups

Utku Ay has successfully completed his Masters thesis, titled “Design, making and consumption of football fandom products by a university-based football fandom group” in September 2017, supervision: Harun Kaygan. (Photo above: Utku Ay, 2017)

Football fandom products (jerseys, scarves, banners etc.) have a great importance but different roles for football and fans. The meanings and roles of those products have generally been examined under the topics of marketing, consumer behavior or sociology and such research has mainly focused on official products. However, there are also products that fans design, make and use. This thesis examines this gap by looking at a university-based football fandom group, ODTÜlü Kartallar. The aim of this study is to understand what the roles and meanings of football fandom products are for a university-based fandom group, including the products that they design, make, use and purchase. The thesis also examines how design processes can be conducted in a group in which there is no professional designer. In order to understand these, both products and design processes are investigated via an ethnographic study done with ODTÜlü Kartallar and semi-structured interviews with members of the group. Based on the data collected from the field and interviews, the thesis offers five conclusions. First, designing and making of one’s own products can be a way to differentiate a fandom group from the others. Second, the environment that the group is involved in can have important effects on its identity and its products. Third, designing and making can be a part of the group culture as it reflects its visibility, independence, learning processes and roles. Fourth, designing and making of products can be seen as social activities that increase group cohesion and sense of ownership. Lastly, thanks to the cultivation and conveyance of knowledge and skills, non-designers can get involved in design processes in collaborative environments.

Completed thesis: Burak Taşdizen on Knitting Communities and Knitting Patterns

Burak Taşdizen has successfully completed his Masters thesis, titled “Politics of the Knitting Pattern: Ethnography of Knitting Practice and a Women’s Knitting Community” in September 2017, supervision: Harun Kaygan. (Image above by Burak Taşdizen, 2017)

This thesis aims to understand how knitting practitioners organize around knitting know-how and knitting patterns, which exchanges they have with regard to knitting know-how and knitting patterns and what meanings they associate to these exchanges. The fieldwork of this thesis is an ethnography of a community of knitting practice, the knitting course, through participant observations with the aim of first developing insights into practitioner’s production process by practicing knitting, and second into the dynamics of the knitting course. Based on the literature review and findings of the fieldwork, this thesis offers five main conclusions regarding knitting practice and the knitting course. Firstly, knitting practice is a skilled practice. Secondly, knitting practice is a creative practice, for it is based on the creative modification of existing patterns. Thirdly, for skill acquisition is based on observation and imitation, knitting practice helps build communities of practice and helps create third places for the practitioner, informal gathering places in urban environments other than home and work. Fourthly, because of the emancipatory and hierarchical practices it embodies in the way it is organized, knitting course is part of a wider fabriculture, which harbors both the very traditional and the very radical practices in textile. Fifthly, as knitting patterns are adjusted through creative modifications and new patterns make their way into the knitting course and knitting know-how is cultivated and spread, knitting course emerges as an unfolding archive of knitting patterns and knitting know-how. The findings and conclusions of this thesis have implications for design practice. Design practice, as in making practices, could focus more on archives of patterns and instructions to which access is offline and collective, helping to build communities of practice and third places for the practitioner.

Completed thesis: Ahu Yolaç on Gamer Subcultural Interactions with Gaming Soft- & Hardware

Ahu Yolaç has successfully completed her Masters thesis titled “Multiplayer online gamers’ subcultural interactions: Body as a bridge in between real and virtual lives” in August 2017, supervision: Harun Kaygan. (Photos above by Ahu Yolaç, 2017)

This research discusses the gamer community as a subculture and the experience of gamers through computer gaming hardware and software. This includes their experiences in and around gameplay, online and offline relationships. The aim of this thesis is to understand both realities and highlight the connections between the two with the help of real gamers. The fieldwork of this thesis formed of two sections. First is an autoethnographic study with the aim of understanding practitioners’ (a gamer’s) bodily practices. Second is a series of interviews followed by participant observations with multiplayer online game players (gamers). Through observations and literature search, it is argued that gaming tools and gaming community is closely linked in the gamer’s experience. Based on fieldwork and literature search, this thesis offers five main conclusions regarding this relationship. First, gamer is a compact concept formed of three elements; in real life identity, virtual identity and body. Second, metaculture and gaming culture have an existence that is not limited with in-game moments. Third, there is a perception in gaming subculture that being a true gamer depends on skill and practice. Fourth, embodiment in gaming context should not be considered as limited to only one of the worlds it might take place in; virtual or real. Lastly, this thesis’ conclusions and findings have implications on design practice that designers should work with respect to the cultural value of their design productions. The results of the study suggest a new perspective towards gaming culture and its elements as a wholesome, multidisciplinary issue.