This post is a summary of a book by Zina Weygand, The Blind in French Society from the Middle Ages to the Century of Louis Braille, with notes from Mark Peterson’s book Seeing with the hands.
Why focus on this history? There are many laws for the inclusion of disabled (or more specifically, blind and Deaf people), but they have not achieved their aims. Pierre Henri and Pierre Villey, both XXth century scholars, explain it by prejudice against blindness. This book explores how individual and collective perceptions of blindness shaped state actions and the social organisations supporting and teaching blind people, to understand contemporary treatment of blind subjects (p.6). So the book covers shifts in these representations over a lengthy period of time, the XIIIth century to XIXth century, citing Le Goff as the inspiration for covering an extended period of time.
A few weeks ago, I published a few reflections on teaching disability design through design projects, as a teacher in both UX and product design degrees.
Folks from the disability design community took the time to discuss, comment and add to this discussion, for which I am very grateful. Cynthia Bennett (@clb5590) made further recommendations on Twitter. I thus invited her to write them up on this blog, so as to ease archiving and to dive a bit deeper in the issue.
There is a very simple answer to this question: in the night train before my first week of observations, I read a book recommended by Dr François Huguet, who was then about to finish his PhD: The tricks of the Trade, by Howard Becker. Though I probably have read about methods more than any other research topic during my PhD (to compensate for having no formal training in this area), this is the book that stuck. It also felt similar to design in the ways it described tagging along to understand what’s going on or being able to see a different pattern by talking to all actors separately. But the full answer is not as easy.
There are countless articles and mailing lists debates about what is design and what is design research out there. This will not summarize these debates, nor is it an attempt to reconcile these views. It is a couple of observations on how I turned to ethnography, preparing a design research course at University of Sussex, my experiences as a designer turned academic and as committee member of a support and networking group for French design PhD students. I have read and taken part to many epistemological, etymological, historical and methodological debates about design research, but I am simply hoping this can provide some insights on design research as people and practices, a world, in reference to Howard Becker, as I have experienced it.
There has been quite some interest in micro-ethics in (participatory) design in the recent years. By micro-ethics, I refer to research on ethics focusing on situated moral judgements and decisions – by contrast to, for instance, rights or moral principles, and procedural ethics approaches. In computer sciences and engineering, previous research on micro-ethics has focused « individuals and the internal relations of the engineering profession, » and the risks they embed in products. We are, in this article, outlining ethical challenges in participatory design with children and calling for this type of case studies to be used in the training of new researchers and outline research themes in this area that could be developed.
I helped organising two Special Interest Groups during the 2019 edition of the Human-computer Interaction conference called CHI (pronounced “Kay”), in Glasgow. Here are a few thoughts and tips about SIGs and their organisation.