Project 3: Representations and translations in design practice

The translation of knowledge on users and practices into organised design processes is known to be difficult. Knowledge on users in the making is vulnerable and is filtered throughout the process of transfer resulting in representations providing the basis for creating new object worlds and scripts, but also presupposing a stability that may not exist when design is perceived as co-creation. Representations of use translated through intermediary organisations or via spokespersons may even deepen this potential gap.

Performed representations and translations are the object of this research focusing on a variety of sites and processes. Approx. 20 cases demonstrating different ways of user involvement and representation in contemporary practices will be identified for detailed study. These cases will in the first place be mapped through interviews and where possible ethnographic observation studies will be initiated following the identification of critical elements of representation, translation, framing, and entity assignment to objects in the making. The interviews and observations will be tagged and analysed in detail using standard protocols and methods. In relevant cases we will trace or follow leads to examine user investigations and the role of intermediaries. Mapping the development of design scripts throughout these cases is assumed to form the basis for integrating the observed critical elements and to establish a basis for describing variations giving way for comparative analyses. The outcome will demonstrate which competences and organisational structures as well as representations (prototypes, information, and other types of boundary objects) that might be useful for a design process and how user perspectives may be kept alive in a co-construction process. This will lead to the next phase of intervention studies which is to engage the external partners in experiments with organising design as a co-construction process.

The project holds the responsibility for the contacts to Oticon, Hjælpemiddelinstituttet, Velux, and Københavns Teknik- og Miljøforvaltning. The main faculty responsible for project 3 will be U Jørgensen (DTU).