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06/21/2019 | Gender/diversity in informatics systems

Audio Recording of Sandra Buchmüller's Talk on Gender-Aware and Power-Critical Technology Design

On April 29, 2019, Sandra Buchmüller (TU Braunschweig) presented a talk on gender-aware and power-critical design methodology that she developed during her doctoral research, and reflected on connections between design research, technofeminism, critical computing and new materialism. The talk took place during the Lab Meeting of the project "Reconfiguring Computing Through Cyberfeminism and New Materialism" (CF+).

We invite you to listen to the audio recording of the talk "Design Research in the Light of Techno-/Cyberfeminism, Critical Computing and New Materialism" on Soundcloud.

The slides of the talk are available as PDF.

Abstract of the talk:

I believe in the tremendous power of design, the power of (socio-material) matter and (physical, digital) artefacts to change the world, people’s minds and behaviour more than politics can do. Thinking about (gendered) power relations, their socio-material manifestations and searching for opportunities to change them during design research and development processes and after in use and everyday life contexts, belong to my core concerns as a feminist design researcher. I will take the 4th CF+ LabMeeting as an opportunity to make a kind of personal survey of my expertise in gender and design and reflect it with regard to Techno-/Cyberfeminism, Critical Computing and New Materialism, considering the aspects and insights I gathered from the previous CF+ workshops so far. The focus of my talk will be my power-critical and gender-aware design methodology that I developed during my PhD-Thesis. Unrestrictedly acknowledging the benefits of feminist science & technology as well as gender studies for design, I particularly want to draw attention to the way I made their abstract thoughts, concepts and theories applicable for design research and practice with regard to their contribution to concretely challenge power structures, to deconstruct or shift boundaries or finally question or overcome hierarchical dualisms like men/women, nature/culture, human/machine, the natural/ the artificial, but also theory/practice. I also ask myself what will change when design research models like "research-through-design” or “project-grounded research" that consider artefacts as materialized pieces of knowledge will be confronted with concepts of feminist new materialisms that may transfer "artefacts as epistemic things" into "onto-epistemological" or even "ethico-onto-epistemological things". Finally, I want to problematize and discuss my design framework that tries to establish design research & practice as a boundary-making and -shifting activity, denoting it as intra-face and intra-action design referring to Barad’s terminology while also still noting entities like designers, users, artefacts.

Sandra Buchmüller also published a book on her design research approach called "Geschlecht macht Gestaltung - Gestaltung macht Geschlecht".