Distilling the core values underpinning my conceptualization of Nordic social design, as introduced yesterday, and adding links to previous writing on each selected word. To review briefly, I introduced the concept of Nordic social design by combining Koskinen’s (2016) definition where the object of design is the social for ex. social structures, processes, practices, forms of actions, etc., with Markussen’s (2017) framework to set the purpose : to effect decisive qualitative change in circumstances of participants through the skills and capacities of design and design artefacts. I rely on the legacy of the Scandinavian tradition of participatory design research (Gregory, 2003) for the 6 guiding principles (Luck, 2018; Greenbaum & Loi (2012) given below to which I have added some elaboration:
- Equalising power relations – Centering the agency, expertise, and lived experience of participants
- Situation based actions – Place-based and community-centric (see Vanderlinden et al., 2020) , intervention design concepts and implementation informed by design ethnography and exploratory user research
- Mutual learning – Cognitive justice (Visvanathan, 2005; Santos, 2007) and Recognition (Coolsaet, 2016)
- Tools and techniques – Tools for thinking, planning, and for creative expression (physical, not digital)
- Alternative visions – About one’s own practices and ways of making, doing, being, and creating, whether occupational or lifestyle based. Transformative research, as hypothesized by Mertens (2017), argues that personal transformation is a necessary component of research that is designed to support change at the societal level. Or, in Gandhi’s words, we must embody the change we wish to see in the world.
- Democratic practices – Agency, recognition, respect, and cognitive justice can only come together when we consider the full diversity of thinking, knowledges, life experiences, worldviews, etc as all having contribution to the outcome. For the Nordic social design process, attributes of diversity and variation are considered design factors, criteria, and constraints.
References not in yesterday’s post
Ehn, P., (1993) Scandinavian design: On participation and skill, in D.Schuler and A.Namioka,(eds), Participatory Design : Principles and Practices, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ
Mertens, D. M. (2017). Transformative research: Personal and societal. International Journal for Transformative Research, 4(1), 18-24.