Catwalk technologiesand researching in the wildElizabeth FitzGerald and Anne AdamsInstitute of Educational Technology, OUelizabeth.fitzgerald, email@example.com
Our talk today• Introduction• Some jargon/concepts:– Catwalk technologies– Boundary creatures• In the wild projects– OTIH– Mobile GIS (Geographic Information Systems)– Hidden Histories• Modelling researcher design roles: from catwalktechnologies (CT) to prêt-à-porter designs• Summary
IntroductionOur talk today is about several things:• Catwalk technologies (and prêt-à-porter)• The role of the researcher (especially when working withdifferent user groups / “in the wild”)• Case studies of research “in the wild” (wild both in termsof physical environment and also context/settings)• Technical innovation vs scalable innovation• Responsible innovation and ethical research: what legacydo we leave behind?
What does “in the wild” mean?Photo: mpaskevi (Flickr)Photo: Kaplan International College(Flickr)Photo: Fotos Gov/Ba (Flickr)Rogers, Y. (2011) Interactiondesign gone wild: striving forwild theory. interactions 18(4),58-62.
What are catwalk technologies?• Fashion design metaphor: technological innovationsthat represent the most high-tech state-of-the-art andare not easily scalable to mass production or mass usage• May require special expertise or additional equipment orinfrastructure for them to function• May involve high costs (although not always)• Seeks to change our concepts of an object and also howwe interact with it• Also seeks to change, rather than maintain, practice
Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit.Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothings... You know, its just that both those belts look exactly the sameto me. You know, Im still learning about all this stuff and, uh...Miranda Priestly: This... stuff? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go toyour closet and you select... I dont know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because youretrying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back.But what you dont know is that that sweater is not just blue, its not turquoise. Its not lapis. Itsactually cerulean. And youre also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did acollection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasnt it who showedcerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in thecollections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department storesand then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of someclearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and its sort ofcomical how you think that youve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, infact, youre wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile ofstuff.“Devil Wears Prada” / “Ugly Betty”
Catwalk designVivien WestwoodFerrero-Regis (2010): catwalk is wearable artNOT ready to wear (prêt-à-porter)• Previously department store copies werescorned• NOW „creative inspiration‟ for high street fashion
… and prêt-à-porter?• i.e. ready-to-wear, off-the-shelf solutions• The iphone is a good example• These technologies are sustainable, scalable and can bemass-produced or deployed to a mass market• Easy to use, accessible, intuitive• Shouldn’t need much technical support in setting up andusing it• May also change practice (but not through technologicalinnovation) and not radically, but incrementally
From catwalk to prêt-à-porterTop ShopVivien WestwoodCATWALKPRÊT-À-PORTER
From catwalk technology to prêt-à-porterVivien WestwoodCATWALK(thinkgeek.com: $29.99)PRÊT-À-PORTER(CHI2013 conference)
Growerbot (Arduino-based watering system):kit with wifi $120, or fully assembled $195(http://www.growerbot.com)Plant Link:$69 for one base stationand one link (extra links$25 each)(http://www.myplantlink.com)CATWALKPRÊT-À-PORTER
prêt-à-porterChanging currentpracticesInnovation ledInteraction practicesDesignC.T.Enabling/maintainingcurrent practicesResearcher design roles (RDR) model: mapping expectationsfrom catwalk technologies (CT) to prêt-à-porter designsLed by scalability and sustainability
Revolutionary and evolutionary design• The iPhone: prêt-à-porter, evolutionary changes throughinnovation of our current use of phone technology andpractices• Facebook, Twitter and iPad: could be argued wererevolutionary changes to our practice (Adams et al, 2005)• OUR research innovates, how does this engage or impact?• Few innovations are TOTALLY scaled to transform practice• Incrementally developing change to current practices
Researchers as boundary creatures:managing expectations• McGinnis (1999) presents a simple definition which isthat a ‘boundary creature inhabits more than one world’(p.61)• Donna Haraway (1991) ‘boundary creature’ = deviant fromthe norm, a ‘monster’ (from demonstrate).• Jones et al (2004) notion of passions back into study oforganizations remove idea of knowledge as an ‘objectiverepresentation’ or ‘social construction’.• The researcher moves between practice domains andbetween/within different communities: what is their role inthese transitions?
Our identity as a researcher• As Boud and Solomon (2001) argue, professional and vocationalpractice is often multidisciplinary: Academics working in such programmes can find that thetraditional disciplinary and academy-practice boundaries becomeblurred, challenging their own academic identity or even careerprogression…however… Burt (2005), working within a social capital perspective, arguesthat brokers accrue benefits from this position – they appearcreative, insightful and possessing a genius born out of the import-export of ideas• Researchers working ‘in the wild’ run the risk of becoming ‘pedlers’selling a ‘Magic Bullet’• How can we conceptualise this?
Boundary objects• Technology as boundary objects: cross knowledgedomains and social structures• Support collaboration and communication by acting as ashared interface• May act as barriers too: embedded in specific jargon orunfamiliar practices• Technology probes can help explore user-friendly andpotentially scalabletechnical innovations• Need to take into accountcultural social andpolitical issuesVideo probes (see Hutchinson et al 2003)
Case studies: in the wild research• Out There, In Here (OTIH)• Mobile GIS (Geographic Information Systems)• Hidden Histories
Out There & In Here“this time I felt you lookedat the whole picture.”“and you heard what was beingsaid by the people in here and youthought, Ah, nice little point,nice bit of direction and let’s goand have a look atthat particular aspect.”• Technology enabling current practices and(BETWEEN locations) changing practices
Mobile GIS"I don’t want to carry somuch electronic deviceswith me."“But, I mean, all these thingsjust take more time and likemore knowledge ofhow to use the thing.”• Technology changing or supporting current practice incontext“the acetate was actually so effective, because … [ ] … it was very easy to sortof place yourself in the right position and then it’s just there in front of you”
Hidden Histories• Technology as boundary objects – context“It was interesting and high-tech.Looked nice. Wouldnt have beengood to be mugged.”“The tech was too high-tech”“English Heritage have avery simple system - justpress buttons.
HHprêt-à-porterChanging currentpracticesMobile GISOTIHInnovation ledLed by scalability and sustainabilityInteraction practicesDesignC.T.Enabling/maintainingcurrent practicesExpectationinfluencesChange inexpectationsExpectation cycleKEY:Researcher design roles (RDR) model:mapping expectations from catwalktechnologies (CT) to prêt-à-porter designs
Why does all this matter?• IMPACT: do catwalk technologies have greater impact thanprêt-à-porter solutions? How can you tell?• Gives us a language to frame discussions:“I’ve often had to deal with these tensions but never had the appropriate languageto articulate it or legitimise it; this gives me a starting point for managingexpectations within the research process.”• Makes the ‘in the wild’ researcher more aware of their role inresearch projects and across user groups…… and how this can change dynamically (depending oncontext, stakeholders, socio-political/cultural factors etc.)• RDR model articulates researchers’ narratives with the designteam, stakeholders and users around what is innovated(e.g. technology, activities) and how the intervention changesor sustains current practices
Summary• What ‘in the wild’ research really means• Concepts of catwalk technologies and boundary creatures• How these combine to inform the role of the researcher• Case studies of research ‘in the wild’• RDR model enables us to consider design processes, usergroups and both technology and/or practice-basedinnovations
Thanks for listening:any questions?Thanks and acknowledgements to:Gary Priestnall, Yvonne Rogers, Sarah Davies, Trevor Collins, Tim Coughlan,Claire Taylor, Mike Craven, Gemma Polmear, Andy Burton and Sam Meek,also to all the participants who took part in user trials.Projects were funded by EPSRC and HEFCE.
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