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 La ciudad de las sombras: Etnografiar la habitabilidad urbana en tiempos de mutación climática

[Originalmente publicado en la web del Departamento de Umbrología]

Taller de co-creación comisariado por Tomás Criado (UOC) y Santiago Orrego (HU Berlin)

Organiza: CareNet-IN3, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. 

En colaboración con Bit Habitat y la Oficina de Canvi Climàtic i Sostenibilitat (Ajuntament de Barcelona).

Requiere inscripción previa | Máximo 20 participantes | Se emite certificado de participación (1 ECTS) | Se llevará a cabo en su mayoría en castellano (en el trabajo informal no habrá problema en comunicarse en catalán e inglés)

[ES] La ciudad de las sombras: Etnografiar la habitabilidad urbana en tiempos de mutación climática (17-21 de junio de 2024 | Barcelona)

Este taller es una invitación a co-crear y explorar cómo hacer existir un Departamento de Umbrología, entregado al estudio de y la intervención en la vida urbana de las sombras: una umbrología que atienda tanto a los aspectos físicos y materiales como a las relaciones sociales y culturales de las sombras. Para hacerlo existir, a través de distintas actividades queremos entrenarnos a apreciar esta relación ambiental: dedicándonos al estudio etnográfico de las complejas relaciones entre el sol y los edificios, la calle o los árboles, así como el papel que distintos tipos de sombras pueden tener para distintas personas o colectivos y sus modos de sobrevivir al calor abrasador.

Actividad de las Setmanes d’Arquitectura 2024

[CAT] La ciutat de les ombres: Etnografiar l’habitabilitat urbana en temps de mutació climàtica (17-21 de juny de 2024 | Barcelona)

El taller és una invitació a co-crear i explorar com fer existir un Departament d’Umbrologia, lliurat a l’estudi de i la intervenció en la vida urbana de les ombres: una umbrologia que atengui tant els aspectes físics i materials com les relacions socials i culturals de les ombres. Per fer-ho existir, a través de diferents activitats volem entrenar-nos a apreciar aquesta relació ambiental: dedicant-nos a l’estudi etnogràfic de les complexes relacions entre el sol i els edificis, el carrer o els arbres, així com el paper que diferents tipus d’ombres poden tenir per diferents persones o col·lectius i les seves maneres de sobreviure a la calor abrasadora.

Activitat de les Setmanes d’Arquitectura 2024

[EN] The city of shades: Ethnography of urban habitability in times of climate mutation (June 17-21, 2024 | Barcelona)

The workshop is an invitation to co-create and explore how to bring into existence a Department of Umbrology, namely, a space devoted to the study of and intervention in the urban life of shades: an umbrology that addresses both the physical and material aspects as well as the social and cultural relationships. of the shadows. To make it exist, we want to train ourselves – by means of different activities – to appreciate this environmental relationship: dedicating ourselves to the ethnographic study of the complex relationships between the sun and buildings, the street or trees, as well as the role that different types of shadows can have for different people or groups and their ways of surviving the scorching heat.

Activity part of Setmanes d’Arquitectura 2024

***

Presentación

Diferentes paneles intergubernamentales alertan desde hace tiempo que la respuesta al cambio climático debe partir de las ciudades: asentamientos cada vez más poblados e infraestructuras complejas de cambiar desde los que necesitamos repensar la habitabilidad del planeta. La mutación climática en curso nos sitúa ante el reto de configurar nuevas ideas urbanas de cuidado, protección o refugio, que permitan formas plurales de habitar y que protejan a quienes pudieran estar más expuestos o sufrir más sus efectos devastadores. En ese sentido, vivimos un tiempo de urgencia y de búsqueda frenética de soluciones. Pero en situaciones de gran incertidumbre, donde cómo responder es un asunto a veces complicado de imaginar, quizá necesitemos entrenarnos a prestar atención a lo aparentemente irrelevante, pero crucial. Ese es el objeto primordial de este taller, que quiere poner el foco en las sombras: entidades aparentemente ínfimas, pero que articulan nuestra vida urbana y nuestras relaciones cotidianas con el sol y el calor.

Sin duda, no hay nada más convencional que la sombra. En tanto seres terráqueos todos tenemos una. Pero pensar la sombra urbana puede ser algo mucho más profundo, puesto que nos obliga a prestar atención de otra manera a nuestros entornos cotidianos. De hecho, ¿qué es la sombra, sino una relación cambiante en que entramos con el sol a medida que atraviesa nuestros hábitats a lo largo del día? Solemos atribuir al sol la capacidad de dar vida, pero ¿qué hacer cuando nos daña o nos pone en riesgo, como ocurre en condiciones atmosféricas de calor extremo? Con esa clave, nuestra vida terrestre pudiera ser leída como una larga historia interespecífica de cómo los vivientes hemos aprendido a protegernos de su irradiación. La misma atmósfera, con su compleja circulación del aire, los mares y las riberas de los ríos o el tapiz irisado de las nubes y los bosques no son sino un gran sistema, con expresiones locales, de formas de captar, regular, disipar o bloquear los rayos del sol. Pero, también, de producir sombra.

Aunque la sombra es una vieja conocida, la creciente preocupación ambiental ha hecho que administraciones y profesionales de todo tipo hayan comenzado a recuperar esta relación ambiental cotidiana. Es más, a pesar de que suela ser considerada como un producto secundario del sol, su versión en negativo, ¿y si la sombra fuera condición misma de la habitabilidad en la tierra y, por ende, en nuestros entornos urbanos? Por esto mismo ha cobrado gran importancia en distintas soluciones técnicas para hacer frente al calor extremo del presente: planes municipales de sombras, itinerarios bioclimáticos o infraestructuras de sombreado. Esto está requiriendo revitalizar saberes y técnicas antiguos, así como especular y crear nuevas soluciones para mitigar y adaptarnos ante el calor creciente.

En un momento así, necesitamos también abordar la vida social y cultural de las sombras, sean estas ya existentes o diseñadas. En un presente acalorado, donde la capacidad de cobijarnos del sol abrasador es un bien mal repartido, revitalizar sus saberes y prácticas generativas quizá sea crucial para reaprender a vivir como seres terráqueos. Para ello, quizá necesitemos, como sugiere el escritor Tim Horvath en su cuento The discipline of shadows, crear un ‘Departamento de Umbrología‘ en cada uno de nuestros territorios. 

El taller es una invitación a co-crear y explorar cómo hacer existir ese espacio, entregado al estudio de y la intervención en la vida urbana de las sombras: una umbrología que atienda tanto a los aspectos físicos y materiales como a las relaciones sociales y culturales de las sombras. Para hacerlo existir, a través de distintas actividades queremos entrenarnos a apreciar esta relación ambiental: dedicándonos al estudio etnográfico de las complejas relaciones entre el sol y los edificios, la calle o los árboles, así como el papel que distintos tipos de sombras pueden tener para distintas personas o colectivos y sus modos de sobrevivir al calor abrasador.

Partiendo de una sensibilidad antropológica queremos: (i) trabajar en el diseño de pequeños materiales para realizar investigaciones de campo; y (ii) hacer un inventario de prácticas espaciales cotidianas, centrado en la relación que diferentes personas tienen con nuestras perpetuas compañeras como habitantes bajo el sol. Así, haremos aparecer otra ciudad, la ciudad de las sombras, normalmente pasada por alto. Y nos entregaremos a entender su complejidad social, así como la multiplicidad de actores y ensamblajes que la constituyen: las formas de generar sombra, por parte de y para quiénes, así como las formas de socialidad que permiten, sus tiempos, sus ritmos y sus espacios.

Público

– El taller está especialmente dirigido a profesionales, investigadoras y estudiantes de grado, máster o doctorado de las artes, las ciencias sociales (antropología, geografía, estudios sociales de la ciencia y la tecnología, sociología), las humanidades, el diseño y la arquitectura, interesados por la etnografía y el estudio social de cuestiones urbanas o ambientales. 

– Mientras que un conocimiento de la práctica etnográfica es deseable, no se requiere conocimiento previo sobre diseño para el cambio climático o sobre la física de las sombras.

Objetivos

–   Abrir a reflexión colectiva los modos de respuesta urbana al cambio climático, colaborando con un proyecto de prototipado en curso, produciendo infraestructuras de sombra estacional (reto de sombreado efímero).

–   Generar un proceso de intercambio interdisciplinar sobre cómo indagar la ciudad en tiempos de cambio climático, prestando atención a las sombras como fenómeno social.

–   Inventar dispositivos de indagación urbana desde los que repensar las formas de relevancia de las artes, las humanidades y las ciencias en un momento donde priman las soluciones técnicas.

Programa

DÍA 1 | LUNES 17 DE JUNIO DE 2024 

Lugar: U0.3, Planta 0 Edifici U, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (C. Perú 52) y diversos lugares cercanos de interés

9:30-10:00 Presentación del taller: La necesidad de un departamento de umbrología

10:00-11:00 Presentaciones inaugurales

  • Prestar atención a las sombras urbanas: Zonas críticas de la habitabilidad contemporánea (Tomás Criado, UOC)
  • Etnografiar urbanidades ínfimas en tiempos de mutación climática(Santiago Orrego, HU Berlin)

11:00-11:15 Pausa-café

11:15-11:45 Propuesta de trabajo por grupos y dinamización

11:45-13:30 Documentar sombras en contexto, a cargo de Carla Boserman (UCM): un paseo guiado por distintas áreas del Poblenou –– (1) parque central del Poblenou e inmediaciones de Ca l’Alier, (2) parque del Poblenou y playa de Bogatell, (3) c. de Marià Aguiló y (4) la superilla del Poblenou –– documentando en grupos configuraciones de sombras 

13:30-14:00 Puesta en común

DÍA 2 | MARTES 18 DE JUNIO DE 2024

Lugar: U0.3, Planta 0 Edifici U, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (C. Perú 52)

9:30-12:30 Taller por grupos: Creación colaborativa de dispositivos para un departamento de umbrología.

Una sesión donde, recuperando las configuraciones estudiadas en el paseo guiado, entremos en el diseño de pequeños elementos de papel a partir de los que (1) analizar y tipificar configuraciones sociales de las sombras urbanas, (2) imaginar dispositivos de campo para futuras indagaciones, (3) testear sus posibilidades y (4) ponerlos en común para imaginar un departamento de umbrología.

12:30-14:00 Discusión del taller tras presentación de Isaac Marrero (UB), Etnografía multimodal y la política de la invención 

14:00-15:30 Pausa / comida

15:30-17:00 Presentación a cargo de Fernando Domínguez Rubio (UC San Diego), La ficción como método. Acompañan: Daniel López & Israel Rodríguez Giralt (UOC)

DÍA 3  | MIÉRCOLES 19 DE JUNIO DE 2024

Lugar: Pg. Marìtim de la Barceloneta, 32-34 y Pl. Leonardo da Vinci

9:30-14:00 El primer encargo del departamento de umbrología: La vida social de las infraestructuras de sombra efímera en el espacio público

  • Visita guiada a los sitios de testeo de los siguientes prototipos del reto de sombreado efímero en el espacio público (Oasi, ombra per a tothom + Mar d’ombres). 
  • Por grupos:
    • Puesta a prueba de los pequeños dispositivos etnográficos generados y discusión in situ de las adaptaciones necesarias para estudiar las configuraciones sociales que cada uno de estos prototipos implican: los usos y formas de socialidad que permiten, sus tiempos/ritmos y sus espacios. 
    •  Con los dispositivos generados se entrará en relación con los actores que transiten o habiten esos nuevos espacios de sombra, prestando atención a sus configuraciones de vulnerabilidad o exposición, así como a sus saberes y recursos. Tras cada visita se discutirán posibles cambios necesarios
DÍA 4 | JUEVES 20 DE JUNIO DE 2024

Lugar: Rambla de Badal, 113 + U0.3, Planta 0 Edifici U, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (C. Perú 52)

9:30-11:30 El primer encargo del departamento de umbrología: La vida social de las infraestructuras de sombra efímera en el espacio público

  • Visita guiada al sitio de testeo del tercer prototipo del reto de sombreado efímero en el espacio público (A l’ombra del trencadís). 
  • En grupos:
    • Puesta a prueba de los pequeños dispositivos etnográficos generados y discusión in situ de las adaptaciones necesarias para estudiar las configuraciones sociales que cada uno de estos prototipos implican: los usos y formas de socialidad que permiten, sus tiempos/ritmos y sus espacios. 
    •  Con los dispositivos generados se entrará en relación con los actores que transiten o habiten esos nuevos espacios de sombra, prestando atención a sus configuraciones de vulnerabilidad o exposición, así como a sus saberes y recursos. Tras cada visita se discutirán posibles cambios necesarios

11:30-12:30 Desplazamiento

12:30-14:00 Puesta en común

14:00-15:30 Comida

15:30-17:00 Tarde de trabajo por grupos en los prototipos

DÍA 5 | VIERNES 21 DE JUNIO DE 2024

Lugar: Bit Habitat, Ca l’Alier (c. Pere IV 362)

9:30-10:30 Presentación a cargo de Francisco Martínez (Tampere University), Por un observatorio de sombras. Cómo entre-ver lo que ocurre en la oscuridad

10:30-10:45 Pausa

10:45-12:45 Equipar futuros departamentos de umbrología: Sesión de documentación colaborativa de los dispositivos generados en pequeños formatos como el fanzine (en colaboración con el projecte de micro-edición y publicación abierta pliegOS.net), con la idea de inspirar la creación de departamentos de umbrología en otros contextos.

12:45-13:00 Pausa

13:00-14:00 Relatoría final y discusión a cargo de Adolfo Estalella (UCM), La experimentación etnográfica y su archivo

Documentación

La documentación generada en el taller por las distintas personas participantes será archivada en abierto tanto en el Departamento de Umbrología como en xcol y Tarde

Financiación

Este taller está co-financiado conjuntamente por el Programa Nacional de Investigación Científica, Técnica y de Innovación de España 2021-2023 (RYC2021-033410-I) y por las Setmanes d’Arquitectura 2024 (Ajuntament de Barcelona / Fundació Mies van der Rohe)

**

El Departamento de Umbrología es una producción conjunta de xcol. An Ethnographic Inventory y Tarde, a handbook of minimal and irrelevant urban entanglements 

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design intraventions ethnographic experimentation events experimental collaborations heat and shade intravention inventory more-than-human multimodal re-learning design

Anthropology and ethnographic experimentation > #EASA2024 PhD Summer School

17-22 July 2024 | Hall Hub, Open University of Catalonia (UOC),  Rambla del Poblenou 154, 08018 Barcelona

Photo: Interactive workshop at Medialab-Prado in Madrid (Medialab-Prado)

EASA is pleased to announce its first PhD summer school, supporting the development of early career scholars.

This will be held in Barcelona in the week before the 18th EASA Biennial Conference. The focus of the six-day school will be ethnographic experimentation.

Ethnographic experimentation is an anthropological response to the epistemic challenges of our contemporary world. Beyond traditional norms and forms of ethnography, there are all kinds of projects that experiment with forms of representation, fieldwork, and analysis. The ‘experiment’ emerges in all these ethnographies as a distinctive epistemic practice, different from observational activities that are the foundation for its empirical engagements. Experimentation is  an opportunity to reconceptualise and transform the empirical practices of anthropology.

This summer school, organised by Adolfo Estalella and Tomás Criado, brings together a programme exploring the analysis, characterisation, and design of ethnographic experiments, along with opportunities to try them in practice. The school combines conceptual sessions with group debates and hands-on practical activities. Field experiments will be designed to respond to a situated ethnographic challenge. The school will foster a convivial atmosphere of mutual learning between participants and an openness to local actors with whom relevant approaches could be discussed and explored. Participants will be equipped with an analytic repertoire as well as a series of practical skills to attempt their own ethnographic experiments.

Funded and promoted by EASA. Organized by xcol. An Ethnographic Inventory Curated by Adolfo Estalella (UCM) and Tomás Criado (UOC)

Partners: Open University of Catalonia (UOC); Social Anthropology and Social Psychology Dept., Complutense University of Madrid (UCM); Anthropology Department, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC); Spanish Association of Social Anthropology (ASAEE)

Who can apply?: PhD students who are paid-up members of EASA. Selection will be based on application fit and diversity criteria.

Registration fee: €150. Dinners during the summer school are included.

Travel Bursary: partial travel bursaries will be available from EASA based on need.

How to apply: applicants are asked to explain how they plan to use, or have used, experimentation in their own PhD research. Apply here.

The application deadline is May 17 with the aim of communicating results by May 31.

**

Pedagogical proposal and methodology

The school combines theoretical sessions, debates and practical activities. Students will work in small groups on two sites/problems.

Theory, case, and debate sessions. These sessions are structured in three slots: a brief theoretical introduction (30 min.), a case that will be presented by a group of students (30 min.), and a debate (30 min.).

Hands-on activities in the field. Students will have to develop an experimental project during the week-long school. Groups will engage in two sites proposed by the school with the goal of making a brief empirical investigation and developing an ethnographic experiment.

Mentoring. Each group will have an assigned tutor who will discuss with them their experimental projects in daily meetings.

Self-managed dinner. The school will pay particular attention to the informal moments of social interaction, in this sense dinners will be a special moment to socialize. Participants will be in charge of organising it.

**

PROGRAM

[Download programme here]

Wednesday 17 July, 2024

10.00 – 11.30. 1st session. Ethnographic experimentation: an introduction.

11.30 – 12.00. Coffee break.

12.00 – 13.30. 2nd session. Ethnography, more than a method: Field devices for anthropological inquiry.

13.30 – 15.00 Lunch break.

15.00 – 18.00 Hands-on session: organisation of groups.

18.00 – 20.00. Visiting the field sites for activities.

20.30. Dinner at the beach.

Thursday 18 July, 2024

10.00 – 11.30. 3rd session. The ethnographic invention.

11.30 – 12.00. Break

12.00 – 13.30. 4th session. Styles of ethnographic experimentation.

13.30 – 15.00 Lunch.

15.00 – 19.00. Hands-on session: Field site engagement.

19.00 – 20.00. Summary of the day and common thoughts (a collective session to share impressions from our first day of group activities).

20.30. Dinner. Cooking together (self-managed).

Friday, 19 July, 2024

10.00 – 11.30. 5th session. Beyond text: Experiments on ethnographic expression.

11.30 – 12.00. Coffee break.

12.00 – 13.30. 6th session. Beyond representation: Experiments on multimodal anthropology.

13.30 – 15.30. Lunch on site (each group on their own).

15.30 – 19.00. Activity in the field: devising devices.

19.00 – 20.00. Group debriefing meetings with tutors.

20.30. Dinner. Cooking together (self-managed).

Saturday, 20 July, 2024

10.00 – 13.30. Hands-on session: field site investigation.

13.30 – 15.30. Lunch on site (each group on their own).

15.30 – 19.00. Hands-on session: working on ethnographic accounts.

19.00 – 20.00. Group debriefing meetings with tutors.

20.30. Dinner. Cooking together (self-managed).Sunday

10.00 – 13.30. Hands-on session: field site investigation.

13.30 – 15.30. Lunch on site (each group on their own).

15.30 – 20.00. Hands-on session: working on ethnographic accounts.

20.30. Dinner. Cooking together (self-managed).

Monday, 21 July, 2024

10.00 – 13.30. Meeting with tutors: Hands-on session at UOC.

13.30 – 15.30. Lunch on site (each group on their own).

16.00 – 19.00. Public presentations of the group experiments.

20.00. Dinner and good-bye party.

Readings

1st session. Ethnographic experimentation: an introduction.

Tomás Sánchez Criado & Adolfo Estalella. 2018. Introduction. Experimental collaborations. In A. Estalella & T. S. Criado (Eds.), Experimental collaborations. Ethnography through fieldwork devices (pp. 1-30). New York, Oxford: Berghahn.

First case

Cantarella, L., Marcus, G. E., & Hegel, C. (2019). Ethnography by design: Scenographic experiments in fieldwork. Taylor & Francis. Introduction and Chapter 3.

2nd session. Ethnography, more than a method: Field devices for anthropological inquiry

Law, J. (2004). After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. Routledge. Introduction.

Law, J., & Ruppert, E. (2013). The Social Life of Methods: Devices. Journal of Cultural Economy, 6(3), 229-240.

Second case

Khandekar, A., Costelloe-Kuehn, B., Poirier, L., Morgan, A., Kenner, A., Fortun, K., & Fortun, M. (2021). Moving Ethnography: Infrastructuring Doubletakes and Switchbacks in Experimental Collaborative Methods. Science & Technology Studies, 34(3), 78-102.

3rd session. The ethnographic invention.

Estalella, A., & Criado, T.S. (2023). Introduction: The ethnographic invention. In T.S. Criado & A. Estalella (Eds.), An Ethnographic Inventory: Field Devices for Anthropological Inquiry (pp. 1-14). Routledge.

Third case.

Hartblay, C. (2020). I Was Never Alone or Oporniki: An Ethnographic Play on Disability. Toronto University Press. Introduction.

4th session. Styles of ethnographic experimentation.

Estalella, A. (n/d). The anthropological experiment (and the disappearing field of ethnography).

Fourth case.

Martínez, F. (2021). Ethnographic experiments with artists, designers and boundary objects: Exhibitions as a research method. UCL Press. Self-selected fragments.

5th session. Beyond text: Experiments on ethnographic expression.

Cox, R., Irving, A., & Wright, C. (Eds.) (2016). Beyond text?: Critical practices and sensory anthropology. Manchester University Press. Introduction.

Fifth case.

Flores, M., Suárez, M., & Nuñez, J. (2021, January 18). EthnoData: A collaborative project in cross-disciplinary experimentation – Society for Social Studies of Science. https://www.4sonline.org/ethnodata-a-collaborative-project-in-cross-disciplinary-experimentation/ 

6th session. Beyond representation: Experiments on multimodal anthropology.

Dattatreyan, E. G., & Marrero-Guillamón, I. (2019). Introduction: Multimodal Anthropology and the Politics of Invention. American Anthropologist, 121(1), 220-228.

Sixth case.

Farías, I., & Criado, T.S. (2023). How to game ethnography. En T. Sánchez Criado & A. Estalella (Eds.), An Ethnographic Inventory: Field Devices for Anthropological Inquiry (pp. 102-111). Routledge.

Categories
animals caring infrastructures experimental collaborations intravention more-than-human objects of care and care practices publications re-learning design

How would animals and architects co-design if we built the right contract? > Design For More-Than-Human Futures

Martin Tironi, Marcos Chilet, Carola Ureta and Pablo Hermansen have edited a gem of a compilation, opening a space to think about the design of worlds that are not only human.

As the editors state, the book Design For More-Than-Human Futures: Towards Post-Anthropocentric Worlding, explores a “search for a transition towards more ethical design focused on more-than-human coexistence”, being “an invitation to travel new paths for design framed by ethics of more-than-human coexistence”. For this “Questioning the notion of human-centered design is central to this discussion. It is not only a theoretical and methodological concern, but an ethical need to critically rethink the modern, colonialist, and anthropocentric inheritance that resonates in design culture. The authors in this book explore the ideas oriented to form new relations with the more-than-human and with the planet, using design as a form of political enquiry”.

It was a luxury to be able to participate with a collective proposal that is as fun as it is challenging, together with long-time collaborators and mates Ignacio Farías and Felix Remter.

Our contribution describes a pedagogic experiment – part of the Design in Crisis: Sensing like an animal design studio at the TU Munich’s MA in Architecture in 2017 – where beavers were treated as epistemic partners for rethinking architectural practice, thus engaging their capacities in attempts at designing with them.

How would animals and architects co-design if we built the right contract?

In the face of multifaceted environmental crises of anthropogenic origins, recent developments in architecture and urbanism aim to explore other materials, technologies, resources, and modes of collaboration. Yet, what if what was at stake was not the redesign of architectural forms and urban landscapes, but the very redesign of urban design and architectural practice themselves? This chapter offers a collective speculation of this, where the “more-than-human” is treated as more than the content of a design brief; demanding instead an opening to other-than-human capacities in co-design processes and to the unpredictabilities resulting from terrestrial and multispecies interdependencies. How to care, then, in architectural practice for terrestrial and multispecies entanglements? Rather than providing guidelines or general principles to do so, this chapter describes an experimental approach to relearn architecture practice from animals. Following STS and environmental humanities multispecies concerns, it describes a pedagogic experiment where urban animals were treated as epistemic partners for rethinking architectural practice, thus engaging their capacities in attempts at designing with them.

Recommended citation: Farías, I.; Criado, T.S. & Remter, F. (2023) How would animals and architects co-design if we built the right contract?. In M. Tironi, M. Chilet, C. Ureta & P. Hermansen (Eds.) Design For More-Than-Human Futures: Towards Post-Anthropocentric Worlding (pp. 92-102). Routledge | PDF

Categories
caring infrastructures experimental collaborations intravention materials more-than-human multimodal publications re-learning design techniques & ways of doing urban and personal devices

Anthropology as a Careful Design Practice?

As part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie (Journal of the DGSKA – German Association for Social and Cultural Anthropology) Kristina Mashimi, Thomas Stodulka, Hansjörg Dilger, Anita vonPoser, Dominik Mattes and Birgitt Röttger-Rössler curated a plenary in the DGSKA 2019 in Konstanz titled ‘Envisioning Anthropological Futures‘ in which I had the honour to join a conversation with inspiring colleagues Janina Kehr, Sandra Calkins, and Michaela Haug.

Later, our contributions compiled into a manuscript for a special section of the ZfE that has recently appeared as part of the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie/Journal of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 145 – 2020, 1.


As the editors argue in their introduction:

“The contributions in this special section discuss the challenges, tensions, and prospects of doing anthropology today: How do we position ourselves as anthropologists in a time that is marked by the rise of populist and fascist movements, climate crisis, and related environmental disasters? How do we respond to highly unequal processes of social inclusion and exclusion? How can we not only describe but also contribute to an imagination of the horizons of possibility amidst capitalist ruins (Tsing 2015)? Or in other words: What is the role of anthropology in not only representing but maybe also envisioning and shaping alternative futures? Although anthropology has been entangled with geopolitical issues ever since its inception, our current “troubled times” (Stoller 2017) have brought the political back to center stage within the discipline (Postero and Elinoff 2019). They have also provoked many anthropologists to rethink the conventional descriptive or critical practices of our field and to reflect on new ways of engaged and activist anthropology (Low and Merry 2010; Huschke 2015) – or in other words, on the role of anthropology in carving out and shaping spaces that offer alternatives to dominant socio-economic arrangements, characterized by growing inequalities” (p.15)


Kristina Mashimi, Thomas Stodulka, Hansjörg Dilger, and Anita von Poser (2020) Introduction: Envisioning Anthropological Futures (and Provincializing their Origins)

In my contribution, I speculate on the possible futures for anthropological practice that might open up when, rather than studying or collaborating in corporate or professional design activities, we undertake anthropology as a careful design practice: to envision a future – for anthropology and beyond – there is perhaps no other way than to pry open the un- certain, but also deeply asymmetric and expertocratic conditions of the present. For this, we may need to place at the very core of our anthropological endeavours a critical desire to design conditions for opening up to a plurality of knowledge platforms, so as to heighten our joint arts of learning how to know and live with one another. A careful practice to undo the conditions of those whose actions have the potential to be harmful. Drawing from this, and if anthropology wants to contribute to more careful modes of togetherness, so that diverging and plural worlds can thrive, perhaps we need to envision ways of engaging with design, not just through superbly written stories with a critical or conceptual twist, but also learning to affect it ‘from within’ its own practices.

My appreciation goes to the editors for their kind invitation, and for pushing me to clarify my arguments. Many thanks to Ignacio Farías and Ester Gisbert for the mutual inspiration in envisioning pedagogic avenues for anthropology to be relevant in architectural worlds. Also, thanks to Francisco Martínez, Daniela Rosner and Janina Kehr, who commented on versions of the manuscript at various stages.

Anthropology as a Careful Design Practice?

How can we envision the future of anthropology in the present times of crisis, when the social as we knew it, and the conventional descriptive and critical practices of our discipline may no longer be adequate? Here I tentatively draw on work at the crossroads of design, where the future can be reclaimed as a disciplinary concern for anthropology. Design has recently become a significant source of methodological and political inspiration for our discipline to take part in the materialisation of alternative forms of world-making. Yet, as design is not a unitary field, I will particularly dwell on how I have re-learnt and experimented with what being an anthropologist might mean in encounters with urban accessibility design activism. In these careful explorations I have found not only an inspiring field of inquiry within knowledge politics, but also a relevant domain for interventions seeking to create technical democracy. Describing a particular case of how I became ‘activated’ by this design activism – drawing inspiration from their practices for teaching future architects – I speculate on the possible futures for anthropological practice that might open up when, rather than studying or collaborating in corporate or professional design activities, we undertake anthropology as a careful design practice.

Recommended citation: Criado, T.S. (2021). Anthropology as a Careful Design Practice? Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 145 (2020): 47–70 | PDF

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accessibility caring infrastructures design intraventions events experimental collaborations functional diversity & disability rights independent-living intravention open sourcing participatory & collaborative design of care infrastructures re-learning design technical aids urban and personal devices

Aprender a afectarse: la accesibilidad como reto pedagógico e institucional del diseño urbano

El próximo 25 de noviembre de 6 a 7:30 pm 30 de noviembre de 4 a 5:30pm [pospuesto por enfermedad] (CET) estaré impartiendo una sesión en el curso online de ANTIARQ (plataforma que busca crear espacios de complementariedad universitaria orientados a la producción de conocimiento interdisciplinar entre la Antropología y la Arquitectura) titulado EL URBANISMO COMO DISCURSO. ENFOQUES ALTERNATIVOS PARA RESIGNIFICAR LA PRAXIS

Del 16 al 26 de noviembre 2020

El curso consta de seis sesiones en donde analizaremos varias categorías empleadas de manera recurrente por los discursos promotores de las trasformaciones urbanísticas en la actualidad -tales como participación ciudadana, innovación tecnológica, sostenibilidad, accesibilidad universal, escala humana, etc.-, con la intención de analizarlas desde enfoques alternativos para evidenciar sus contradicciones, pero también como oportunidad para repensar los fundamentos de la práctica urbanística.  Además, el contenido del curso rema a contra corriente de la proliferación de fórmulas urbanísticas que han surgido a raíz de la pandemia generada por la COVID-19, y que se difunden especulativamente como “mano de santo” para resolver problemáticas ligadas a la afectación entre el entorno urbano y las formas de sociabilidad que alberga, obviando e rol instrumental del urbanismo para el fortalecimiento de las políticas neoliberales, que son en última instancia, las que han dado innumerables pruebas de atentar sin reparos contra la reproducción de la vida –urbana-.

En la primera sesión se analiza la retórica proyectual del espacio público, ofertado como símbolo ligado a la democratización de la ciudad para ocultar la privatización de la gestión urbana y las políticas de control social.   En la segunda sesión, se analiza el sentido de la participación ciudadana en el urbanismo neoliberal, evidenciando lo que opera tras su fachada de fácil consenso y sus efectos en la vida de los ciudadanos.  En la tercera sesión, se presenta una mirada crítica de las ciudades inteligentes, poniendo de relieve la crucial implicación de las empresas de tecnología en las operaciones privatizadoras del espacio urbano, mostrando cómo los algoritmos suelen normalizar sus efectos de exclusión social para rehusar las contradicciones o conflictos, justificándolos como errores del sistema.  En la cuarta sesión, se profundiza en el tema de la sostenibilidad y su conversión en un discurso vacío, al ser uno de los eslóganes necesarios para dar valor al producto ciudad como mercancía en el mercado global y nos invita a preguntarnos si urbanismo sostenible no es un oxímoron.  La quinta sesión está enfocada en los retos pedagógicos e institucionales del diseño urbano en materia de accesibilidad universal, lo que supone no solo la democratización técnica de los procesos de diseño urbano, sino también la desestigmatización cultural de unos cuerpos considerados impropios.  Finalmente, la sexta sesión pon en el centro del debate, la noción de ´escala humana´ empleada como coartada para el montaje de ciudades humanizadas, en donde ciertos usuarios o usuarias serán excluidos sistemáticamente del usufructo de las zonas reformadas por actuaciones urbanísticas.

Mi sesión: “Aprender a afectarse: la accesibilidad como reto pedagógico e institucional del Diseño Urbano”

Desde su eclosión en los ciclos de protestas civiles de los años 1970 en adelante, los activistas por los derechos de las ‘personas con discapacidad’ – actualmente ‘diversas funcionales’ – llevan luchando para que nuestras ciudades sean hospitalarias con la diversidad corporal. Esto no sólo ha supuesto articular procesos de desestigmatización cultural, buscando sostener la autonomía de unos cuerpos hasta ese momento considerados impropios. También, ha promovido el debate de la democratización técnica de los procesos de diseño urbano e infraestructural. En consecuencia, varias ciudades del Norte Global han desarrollado acciones para sensibilizar a arquitectos, ingenieros y funcionarios públicos, para que tales entornos pudieran existir, creando condiciones favorables para un diseño inclusivo de las infraestructuras urbanas. En no pocas ocasiones, este proceso de sensibilización requiere una profunda transformación pedagógica de las personas implicadas en el diseño y en el rediseño urbanístico. Este reto institucional y pedagógico que se analiza en esta sesión, implica un ‘aprender a afectarse’ por la diversidad corporal y visibilizar lo que ello supone desde la implementación de políticas de ‘supresión de barreras’ y estándares arquitectónicos, hasta problematizaciones en torno a enfoques ‘culturales’ y ‘multisensoriales’.  Se expondrán ejemplos recabados desde un trabajo antropológico acerca de la transformación accesible de la ciudad de Barcelona, mostrando su constructo institucional en un intento de sensibilización de los técnicos municipales.  Pero, también, se compartirá el impacto de este trabajo antropológico aplicado desde la docencia, como pedagogía experimental orientada a impartir otras metodologías de diseño desde la formación de arquitectos en la Universidad Politécnica de Múnich.

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Este es un argumento en corto de un proyecto de libro en que ando trabajando, titulado “An uncommon city: Bodily diversity and the activation of possible urbanisms” (Una ciudad poco común: La diversidad corporal y la activación de urbanismos posibles).

Lo aprendido en En torno a la silla, así como siguiendo a técnicos del Instituto Municipal de Personas con Discapacidad y formando arquitectos en Múnich me lleva a sugerir que esto supone una democratización técnica de los procesos de diseño urbano, así como la desestigmatización cultural de cuerpos considerados impropios.

Una democratización del diseño que antes que proveer soluciones para otros implica “aprender a afectarse” por los derechos, necesidades y aspiraciones de cuerpos diversos, experimentando con otras formas de hacer ciudades más hospitalarias.

Lo que contaré, por tanto, son tres modos de activar urbanismos posibles: prototipos, infraestructura pública y cursos de proyectos. En todos ellos late esa aspiración por fabricar, sensibilizar o convocar una ciudad poco común (la de los cuerpos impropios y los encuentros extraordinarios con la posibilidad de una otra manera de hacer ciudad)

Mi sueño sería que esto sirviera para poder trabajar en paralelo en una copia en castellano del libro en inglés, para poder abrirlo a discusión densa y profunda, pero las fuerzas son las que son y por eso me hace especial ilusión poder contar el argumento en forma seminario.

Referencias bibliográficas

Blok, A., & Farías, I. (Eds.). (2016). Urban Cosmopolitics: Agencements,
Assemblies, Atmospheres. London: Routledge.
Callon, M., & Rabeharisoa, V. (2008). The growing engagement of emergent
concerned groups in political and economic life: lessons from the French association of neuromuscular disease patients. Science, Technology & Human Values, 33(2), 230–261.
Callon, M., Lascoumes, P., & Barthe, Y. (2011). Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hamraie, A. (2017). Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability.Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota University Press.
Latour, B. (2004a). Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Latour, B. (2004b). How to talk about the body? The normative dimension of Science Studies. Body & Society, 10(2–3), 205–229.
Marres, N., & Lezaun, J. (2011). Materials and devices of the public: an introduction. Economy and Society, 40(4), 489–509.
Puig de la Bellacasa, M. (2017). Matters of care: Speculative Ethics for a More Than Human World. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
Stengers, I. (2019). Civiliser la modernité ? Whitehead et les ruminations du sens commun. Paris: Les presses du réel.
Vilà, A. (Ed.). (1994). Crónica de una lucha por la igualdad: apuntes para la historia del movimiento asociativo de las personas con discapacidad física y sensorial en Catalunya. Barcelona: Fundació Institut Guttmann.

Lecturas para la sesión

2021. Anthropology as a careful design practice?Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 145 (2020): 47–70
2019. Technologies of Friendship: Accessibility politics in the ‘how to’ modeSociological Review, 67(2): 408–427 (‘Intimate Entanglements’ monograph, edited by Joanna Latimer & Daniel López).
2016. Urban accessibility issues: Technoscientific democratizations at the documentation interfaceCITY, 20(4)pp. 619-636 (article co-written with Marcos Cereceda for the special issue on ‘Technical democracy as a challenge for urban studies‘, edited by I. Farías & A. Blok)

Vídeo de la presentación

Aquí

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caring infrastructures design intraventions events experimental collaborations functional diversity & disability rights intravention objects of care and care practices re-learning design techniques & ways of doing urban and personal devices

Caring for intervention: Anthropology in multimodal design experiments > EE Forschungskolloquium Würzburg

Prof. Dr. Michaela Fenske and Isabella Kölz M.A. have invited me to join their interesting Forschungskolloquium WS 20/21 of the Lehrstuhl für Europäische Ethnologie/Volkskunde, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, titled: “Lebenswelten gestalten. Neue Forschungszugänge einer Anthropologie des Designs

On November 19 at 6pm, I’ll be joining them to talk about a series of experiments in multimodal anthropology from my own ethnographic engagements in a wide variety of exploratory and speculative design milieus where care, openness and playfulness are vindicated as part of their attempts at articulating alternative modes of togetherness: what kind of anthropological practice can we learn from them, how do they teach us other ways of caring for intervention?

Gastvorträge

19.11.20 „Caring for intervention: Anthropology in multimodal design experiments” Tomás Sánchez Criado, Berlin | Zoom:  https://uni-wuerzburg.zoom.us/j/97756213954?pwd=SmtDd2JkK2JNUVNsVWZIQ1d2WGliUT09

03.12.20 „Aussortieren. Design Anthropologie des Alltags” Heike Derwanz, Oldenburg | Zoom: https://uni-wuerzburg.zoom.us/j/92100176369?pwd=aDBodS9OZnE1MW00V3JaTUl0azRXdz09


10.12.20 „Design – von der Idee zur Umsetzung. Beispiele aus der Praxis der Ausstellungsgestaltung“   Claudia Frey, Würzburg |                     Zoom: https://uni-wuerzburg.zoom.us/j/99973001306?pwd=ZGZTM2lURUx5VmFmNlJRZWVwT2J6QT09


17.12.20 „Dinge am Lebensende“ – eine designanthropologische Studie“ Francis Müller & Bitten Stetter, Zürich | Zoom: https://uni-wuerzburg.zoom.us/j/95172005633?pwd=dkdWNHdOUzhkRzR5emw5bEZxcCsyUT09


28.01.21 Gespräch auf der Grauen Couch Lioba Keller-Drescher & Gudrun König, Münster/Dortmund | Venue: Gebäude PH1, Hubland Süd, Hörsaal 1, Lehrstuhl für Europäische Ethnologie/Volkskunde, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg

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accessibility caring infrastructures design intraventions ethics, politics and economy of care events intravention objects of care and care practices open sourcing participatory & collaborative design of care infrastructures re-learning design technical aids urban and personal devices

Democratising Urban Infrastructures: The technical democracy of accessibility urbanism > Power to Co-Produce Webinar

I was kindly invited to take part in the webinar POWER TO CO-PRODUCE: Careful power distribution in collaborative city-making, hosted on September 14th 2020 by Burcu Ateş, Predrag Milić, Laura Sobral and Sabine Knierbein at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space (SKUOR), Technische Universität Wien. As part of a session on ‘co-production practices’, I shared 15′ of my research on Democratising Urban Infrastructures: The technical democracy of accessibility urbanism (see full text below).

Call | Programme

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The technical democracy of accessibility urbanism

I. Technical democracy and city-making

In this intervention I summarise my particular urban anthropological interest in accessibility urbanism as a peculiar form of a technical democratisation of city-making. ‘Technical democracy’ is a term used in STS to discuss different approaches participatory forms of technoscience, where an expansion of expertise to knowledges beyond hegemonic technical ones has been approached and experimented upon. It has many versions, but nearly all of them are concerned with the need to reverse the effects of technocracy and expertocracy. This has been done in a wide variety of ways: from searching to make science and technology amenable for public discussion and deliberation to expanding the who and the how of technoscientific practice (for an overview, see Callon, Lascoumes & Barthe, 2011).

This concern is particularly important in a context of planetary urbanisation with its concomitant development of urban infrastructures. A concern with technical democracy becomes crucial when these urban infrastructures are not only heavily managed by all kinds of experts, but are redefining in uncertain ways the scopes and practices of urban modes of togetherness. Following also in this an STS concern, rather than as large technical systems, infrastructures should be appreciated as sites for the controverted relational re-articulation of social and material worlds: that is, particular forms of bringing together and apart agents, material entities, knowledges… Or, to say it better, relational configurations that foreground some of these agents, material entities, knowledges neglecting or, even, excluding others (Farías & Blok, 2016).

Precisely because of this, urban infrastructures are also the sites where new forms of the demos are emerging: Indeed, multitude of concerned groups and affected publics mobilise and undertake research around these highly technical issues; sometimes they train themselves to become quasi-experts in order to challenge expert control, when not searching to manage those urban infrastructures themselves. Contemporary urban infrastructures are one of the most crucial sites where an experimentation and a reinvention of particular forms of technical democratisation are taking place: not just because of how urban infrastructural design might need to be democratized, but also because of how we might be engaging in and designing infrastructures of urban democratization (Harvey, Jensen & Morita, 2016).

In what follows I will show you a few instances from my work on the technical democracy of accessibility urbanism. Since 2012, I have been doing research on urban accessibility issues in Spain and Germany, with a comparative European gaze: in particular, I have been studying and engaging in a variety of emergent publics mobilised around accessible design and urbanism. As a pioneering field in the democratisation of urban infrastructures, urban accessibility teaches us that in order to democratize infrastructures, we might need to engage in the experimentation with and implementation of different infrastructures for urban democratisation. As I will show:
(a) To manage complex socio-technical issues like this one requires the creation of infrastructures for inclusive policy-making, engaging publics and concerned groups in different forms of participatory governance;
(b) The democratization of modes of designing and doing urban infrastructures also implies setting up infrastructures for epistemic collaboration with emergent publics;
(c) But as I will suggest, in closing, for any of this to make any sense, we also need to intervene expert education: experimenting with pedagogic infrastructures for the ‘sensitization of experts.’

II. Participatory Governance

Since the 1970s, and through different forms of contestation, disability rights advocates have been searching to create public concern on the discrimination they suffer, making their bodily experiences of exclusion palpable to articulate more inclusive urban infrastructures (Hamraie, 2017; Williamson, 2019).

Allow me to give you an example. In what was known at the time in Barcelona as the cripples’ revolt diverse small associations of people with disabilities united to hold public demonstrations demanding ‘a city without barriers.’ These protests paved the way for the creation of a newly democratic municipal institution governing these matters in a participatory fashion since the early 1980s (the Institut Municipal de Personas amb Discapacitat, or Municipal Institute of People with Disabilities, IMPD, in its last denomination): in whose ‘hybrid’ board politicians and technical staff are joind by elected representatives of people with disabilities (IMPD, 2019).

The IMPD was quintessential in re-designing Barcelona’s urban infrastructures in preparation for the 1992 Olympics: this hybrid institution engaged in a comparative search for urban accessibility and inclusive design policies around the world; it was also a fundamental site for the legal training of disabled representatives to address highly complex technicalities, as well as the experiential training of professionals. This combination of comparative policy analysis, together with experiential and technical forms of knowledge exchange was important to develop new urban standards, building and technical codes that became a model in the country; a lasting urban infrastructure developed thanks to the participatory engagement of disability rights advocates.

But what this case shows is that a public engagement in the field of urban accessibility cannot just be an issue of merely allowing people to take part in, or to give very vulnerable people the means to appropriate technical knowledge or to transform technologies through consumption and user-led innovation. In a context in which regulation tends to happen in the extrastatecraft form of market-based building standards, ISO or DIN (Easterling, 2014), public institutional infrastructures are crucial to bring together concerned publics and experts to regulate, and assemble together inclusive forms of policy-making. Not only to be able to deal with the legal technicalities that policy-making on these issues requires, but also to ensure their implementation and sustainability for neglected actors. This is far from being an easy task. And it has usually entailed shaking the grounds of the classic means by which experts produce knowledge about these bodies.

III. Documentation interfaces

In the last decades, emergent publics and concerned groups with accessibility urbanism have been crucially developing particular infrastructures to mobilise and articulate their experiential knowledges, many times mobilising spatial registers going beyond expert-based Euclidean notions (Hall & Imrie, 1999; Imrie, 1999). I have been addressing them as ‘documentation interfaces’ (Criado & Cereceda, 2016): that is, not only as situations to frame, elicit and discuss diverse bodily experiences and the environmental and material affordances to host them; but also as situations that produce a trace in different kinds of media, forms of record whereby their experiential knowledge is mobilized to have an impact in design situations, such as in: (1) video-camera records to show what it means to move using a wheelchair; (2) urban explorations with blind people to discuss in situ whether different pavement textures, light settings or colours can be distinguished; (3) not to mention the increasing use of digital platforms for the audio-visual documentation of inaccessibility experiences by all kinds of disability experts, such as collaborative mapping apps.

These documentation interfaces are also interesting empirical sites to understand how particular alliances between concerned groups and experts or technicians are attempted, sometimes way beyond state-run institutional frameworks. One of the most interesting domains for this techno-political experimentation are the many do-it-yourself initiatives, makerspaces and hacklabs emerging throughout the world, and seeking to ‘democratize’ the access to technical knowledge and the users’ engagement in prototyping. I have collaborated in such endeavours as part of my long ethnographic engagement between 2012 and 2016 with the Barcelona-based open design collective En torno a la silla: part of a wider DIY network in the country including engaged professionals and technicians as crucial allies for people with disabilities.

Being able to work together in those settings entails implementing and managing infrastructures of documentation, requiring particular events and digital platforms. These infrastructures, in turn, have allowed intensive learning experiences of collaborative doing and making creating the conditions whereby alternative urban accessibility arrangements can be critically explored and tried out. Yet, despite the crucial importance of DIY forms of engagement for the democratisation of design they are far from being a ‘solution for all’. As we’ve also learnt, these engagements are extremely exhausting and time-consuming for people who also need many social and technical supports to take part in them. Also, without some degree of institutionalisation they prove fragile. Hence, they do not necessarily serve the purpose of bringing into existence safe, economically sustainable, and lasting urban infrastructures for personal autonomy and independence. Nevertheless, they are very relevant as documentation interfaces: that is, as infrastructures of epistemic collaboration where not just a redistribution of technical skills is being attempted, but where an exchange of knowledges becomes possible.

IV. Expert Education

But engaging in infrastructures of more inclusive policy-making or epistemic collaboration are not the only forms in which to create conditions of technical democracy. In closing, I would like to highlight another strategy that we could learn from accessibility issues: perhaps a more important one that we tend to overlook, even though it might open up fertile avenues to play a crucial role as scholars in technical universities like this one. What if democratizing technical decision-making did not just require citizens or lay people to become experts or hackers, but that professional experts in the private and public sector would be aware of the limits of their own expertise? What if technical democracy had to do with building pedagogic infrastructures to train these experts to open themselves to other forms of sensing, knowing and valuing?

Indeed, most urban designers do not usually receive proper accessibility training. This hinders the use of existing accessibility codes and policies. Beyond that, understanding the singular experiences and conditions of diverse bodies neglected by design disciplines is something that needs to be learnt by doing. When confronting with these issues many designers have to ‘retrain’ themselves, challenging their own expertise. For this they need to develop other skills as another kind of practitioners: not only inventing or adapting multi-sensorial gadgets to make possible co-design situations, but also creating collaborative devices to learn from disability advocates what it means to be different kinds of bodies. To make this process easier would require intervening early on in formal training and curricula, as in the ground-breaking experiments of Raymond Lifchez incorporating accessible concerns in design studio teaching (Lifchez, 1986): where disability rights advocates rather than being treated as end users in projects addressed at them were engaged throughout the duration of the course as design consultants of any kind of projects students were working on.

This became a key concern when having to teach at the Department of Architecture at the TU Munich between 2015 and 2018, together with my colleague Ignacio Farías (Farías & Criado, 2018). We realized that the space of the classroom and the training of future design professionals were largely unattended but critical aspects of the project of ‘technical democracy.’ In fact, training professionals to commit to other forms of producing knowledge and making things might be crucial to make more democratic forms of science and technology possible. But this requires inverting the so-called ‘deficit model’ of participation that aims to enhance the public engagement in science and technology: that is, we need to address the potential knowledge deficits of experts.

In the nearly three years we worked there, we plunged in the development of a series of teaching experiments called Design in crisis. In them we felt the need for STS to move from the ‘expertization of laypersons’–a classic public engagement trend, such as in citizen science–to the creation of pedagogic infrastructures for the ‘re-sensitization of experts.’ One example of what this might mean could be the ManualCAD:

“a portable game for architectural design in which both blind or visually impaired architects, and architects who have the sense of sight can participate and create together.”

Taken from https://designincrisis.wixsite.com/designincrisis2017

It was developed by students in the MA in Architecture in a studio project I taught in 2017. After a several weeks’ intensive training to raise awareness of the need to re-appreciate the multi-sensory features of the built environment they had to undertake a group assignment: to collectively prototype a new architectural toolkit for a blind architect. This led them to explore and do research about multi-sensory devices, methods, and skills. Rather than a solution for an almost impossible challenge, the device they came up with was an interesting object to ask good questions or, rather, to open up design as a problem: A tool, perhaps, to re-learn what it might mean to engage in non-visual forms of architecture?

After engaging in this and many other similar teaching experiments, I have come to believe that for technical democracy to take place in city-making, it has to be always reinvented in specific terms from within the technical practices of experts, sensitizing them through different pedagogical experiments and interventions to be another kind of professionals, more open to the wide diversity of actors they could be designing with.

References

Callon, M., Lascoumes, P., & Barthe, Y. (2011). Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Criado, T. S., & Cereceda, M. (2016). Urban accessibility issues: Techno-scientific democratizations at the documentation interface. City, 20(4), 619–636.

Easterling, K. (2014). Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space. London: Verso.

Farías, I., & Blok, A. (2016). Technical democracy as a challenge to urban studies. City, 20(4), 539–548.

Farías, I., & Criado, T.S. (2018). Co-laborations, Entrapments, Intraventions: Pedagogical Approaches to Technical Democracy in Architectural Design. DISEÑA, 12, 228–255.

Hall, P., & Imrie, R. (1999). Architectural practices and disabling design in the built environment. Environment and Planning B, 26, 409–426.

Hamraie, A. (2017). Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota University Press

Harvey, P., Jensen, C. B., & Morita, A. (Eds.) (2016). Infrastructures and Social Complexity: A Companion. London: Routledge.

IMPD. (2009). Barcelona, una ciutat per a tothom : 30 anys treballant amb les persones amb discapacitat. Barcelona: Ajuntament de Barcelona, Institut Municipal de Persones amb Discapacitat (IMPD).

Imrie, R. (1999). The body, disability and Le Corbusier’s conception of the radiant environment. In R. Butler & H. Parr (Eds.), Mind and Body Spaces: Geographies of Illness, Impairment and Disability (pp. 25–44). New York: Routledge.

Lifchez, R. (Ed.). (1986). Rethinking Architecture: Design Students and Physically Disabled People. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Williamson, B. (2019). Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design. New York: New York University Press.

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events experimental collaborations intravention objects of care and care practices re-learning design urban and personal devices

4.02.2020 – DIE ZUKUNFT DER STADT(FORSCHUNG) | HCU Kultur der Metropole

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Das Studienprogramm Kultur der Metropole an der HafenCity Universität Hamburg feiert zehnjähriges Bestehen auf Kampnagel

Das Wissen der Stadt in Bewegung halten – dazu diskutieren diverse Stadtforschende und -machende am 4. Februar 2020 auf Kampnagel.

Die Diskussion ist Teil eines abendfüllenden Programms anlässlich des zehnjährigen Bestehens des Studiengangs „Kultur der Metropole“ an der HafenCity Universität Hamburg. Den Auftakt macht die Schweizer Kulturwissenschaftlerin Monika Litscher, die einmal mehr anschaulich macht, dass die aktuellen gesellschaftlichen und vor allem in Städten zu verortenden Herausforderungen und Krisen nicht ohne die Geisteswissenschaften zu meistern sind.
Studierende präsentieren in Form von Werkstattberichten ihre Projektarbeit zum Deutschen Hafenmuseum, zu den Rändern des Urbanen und zu neuen Mensch-Tier-Verhältnissen in der Stadt.
Eingeladen sind Stadtinteressierte, städtische Akteur*innen, Projektpartner*innen, Studierende und Studieninteressierte. Der Eintritt ist frei.

Seit seiner Gründung 2009 ist das Studienprogramm „Kultur der Metropole“ mit seinem Profil einzigartig in der deutschsprachigen Hochschullandschaft und steht für kulturwissen-schaftliche Stadtforschung und kreativ-angewandte Kulturarbeit im urbanen Kontext. Im Mittelpunkt stehen die kulturellen Dimensionen von Stadt (und ihre Wirkung auf alle Handlungsfelder des Städtischen). Gelehrt werden Grundlagen in Kultur- und Raumtheorie, Stadtethnographie, historische Stadtforschung, Museologie sowie künstlerische Forschung – und der Transfer in verschiedene Anwendungsfelder wie städtische Kulturarbeit, aktuelle Stadtentwicklungsprogramme bzw. partizipative Stadtgestaltung, Quartiersmanagement u.v.m.
Absolvent*innen von Kultur der Metropole arbeiten heute erfolgreich auf vielen Feldern der Stadtkultur: in den Deichtorhallen, bei der Behörde für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt, bei der Kreativgesellschaft, sie promovieren, gründen Modelabels, werden Filmemacher*innen, und Journalist*innen u.v.a.

Wann: Dienstag, 04.02.2020, 19:00 Uhr

Wo: Kampnagel | Jarrestrasse 20 | 22303 Hamburg Veranstaltungsprogramm

DIE ZUKUNFT DER STADT(FORSCHUNG)

19:00 Uhr BEGRÜSSUNG UND VORTRAG
Monika Litscher (Kulturwissenschaftlerin, Zürich) über die »Values of Humanities« und kulturwissenschaftliche Stadtforschung

19:45 Uhr PODIUMSDISKUSSION
Es diskutieren u.a. Tomás Sánchez Criado (Anthropologe, HU Berlin), Amelie Deuflhard (Intendantin Kampnagel, Hamburg), Lisa Kosok (Historikerin, HCU Hamburg), Alexa Färber (Stadtanthropologin, Universität Wien); Moderation: Kathrin Wildner (Stadtethnologin, Berlin/HCU Hamburg) und Laurenz Gottstein (Student Kultur der Metropole /HCU Hamburg)

ab 21:00 UHR PROJEKTPRÄSENTATIONEN VON STUDIERENDEN UND GET TOGETHER

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Diseño y Diáspora #79: Diseñando para la diversidad funcional

Estando en Helsinki para el NORDES tuve el placer de charlar con Mariana Salgado en Diseño y Diáspora sobre el cuidado como una activación de otros diseños posibles: aquellos que aparecen pensando desde la diversidad funcional en En torno a la silla o desde el re-aprender a diseñar para todxs.

Diseño y Diáspora: El podcast de diseño social en español y portuñol. Conversaciones entre una diseñadora y Otros: a veces amigos, a veces investigadores en diseño, la mayoría de las veces diseñadores trabajando en innovación social o en practicas de diseño emergentes. Desde Helsinki, con ganas por Mariana Salgado.

#79: Diseñando para la diversidad funcional

En esta charla Tomás Criado nos cuenta sobre su trabajo en el ámbito del diseño desde la antropología. Él es antropólogo con especialización en STS (estudios de ciencia y tecnología). Trabaja en la Universidad de Humboldt en Berlín (Alemania). Nos explica conceptos como el cuidado, la diversidad funcional y las tecnologías de la amistad. A la vez describe algunos proyectos de diseño concreto en los que se comprometió luego del 15M, en España. Nos convoca a pensar el diseño desde la incertidumbre y entender los vínculos que se producen en procesos de diseño colaborativos. Al final de la entrevista también hablamos de la enseñanza de diseño a partir de un proyecto donde exploró con alumnos el diseño en situaciones de crisis. 

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DGSKA 2019 Konstanz – Plenary ‘Envisioning Anthropological Futures’

Under the theme ‘The End of Negotiations? / Das Ende der Aushandlungen?‘ the DGSKA (German Association of Social and Cultural Anthropology) celebrated it’s 2019 conference from September 29th till October 2nd at the Universität Konstanz.

Kristina Mashimi and Thomas Stodulka (on behalf of the DGSKA board) organised and moderated the following plenary session, to which they invited some of us “mid-career scholars” – Janina Kehr (Universität Bern), Sandra Calkins (FU Berlin), Michaela Haug (Universität zu Köln) and yours truly – to envision anthropological futures departing from our own experiences engaging in public, inter and transdisciplinary settings, their epistemic and methodological opportunities and limitations.

Below you could find further information on the session, as well as links to the videos / audio files of our interventions. Hope you enjoy it.

Plenary session IV: Envisioning anthropological futures

Tuesday, 1.10.2019, 9.00-11.00h, Audimax

In the wake of political, economic, and ecological transformations of the contemporary world, and the far-reaching impact of digitalization and mediatization, social and cultural anthropologists are challenged to continuously rethink their theoretical, methodological, and professional practices. Not only are they required to respond to the emerging topical challenges of globalizing, postcolonial research settings by engaging the expertise from other social science and humanities’ disciplines, the wider field of area studies, and the natural and health sciences. They also face growing expectations from their interlocutors, funding organizations, and their immediate professional environments in regard to shifting standards of research ethics and data management, the engagement in various modes of collaborative research, and meeting their responsibilities to society and the public.

This plenary assembles presentations from 4-5 early to mid-career scholars who discuss the challenges and tensions they face when doing anthropology today. They will outline their visions for future positionings of the discipline regarding its epistemological and methodological opportunities and limitations in inter- and transdisciplinary research settings. Furthermore, the panelists will discuss the discipline’s engagement in academic teaching and the move towards open access publishing, as well as its intervention in public debates. As a forum for innovation, the plenary session is less concerned with systematic reviews of previous disciplinary discussions than with the articulation of future visions for practice and collaboration in and beyond the context of anthropology (or, in the German-speaking context, Ethnologie or Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie). The contributions will be published in the upcoming 150th anniversary issue of the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie (ZfE, 2019) which will be edited collectively by the DGSKA board and is due to appear in time for the 2019 conference.

Videos / Audio files

Janina Kehr (Universität Bern): Crafting the Otherwise in Medicine and Anthropology

Tomás Criado (HU Berlin): Anthropology as a careful design practice?

Sandra Calkins (FU Berlin): Writing planetary futures: Plants, loss, and intersections of STS and anthropology in Germany

Michaela Haug (Universität zu Köln): Looking into the future through the lens of hope: environmental change, diverse hopes and the challenge of engagement