UCLIC Research Seminar Series

UCLIC Research Seminar 15th June: Ron Wakkary, Simon Fraser University, Canada - Material Speculations
Ron Wakkary, Simon Fraser University


UCLIC Research Seminar 15th June: Ron Wakkary, Simon Fraser University, Canada - Material Speculations


In our design research we aim to expand the notion of interaction design beyond purposed manipulations, explicit interactions, and experiential engagements to also include the implicit, incremental, and at times, unknowing encounters and relations that emerge among people, artifacts, and environments over time. These efforts are to give a fuller account of the role technological artifacts play in the mutual shaping of things and us in our everyday lives. Among the questions we ask ourselves as interaction design researchers are: how do we live with things that were not designed for us or with us in mind? How do we constantly construct and reconstruct the complexities of our everyday lives with things in ways we don't even seem to notice? And how do we live with and even rely on technological artifacts that we do not know nor will we ever fully understand? These lines of questioning have translated into a series of investigations into designing for unselfconscious interaction, in which interaction is better understood as incremental and indirect; unawareness, in which interaction design artifacts and systems live with people but are not designed for people directly; and thing-centeredness, in which interaction design artifacts are designed to engage each other rather than people. I will discuss these emerging concepts more in depth and report on our design exemplars or what we refer to as counterfactual artifacts including our table-non-table, tilting bowl, and Morse Things. In addition, I will discuss our commitments of inquiry through artifacts and lived-with experiences that have led to new methodological ideas of material speculation and research products.


Ron Wakkary is Professor in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada, where he established the Everyday Design Studio, an interaction design research studio. He is also Part-time Professor and Chair of the Impact of Interaction Design on Everyday Life in Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands. Wakkary's research aims to be reflective and generative, creating new interaction design exemplars, concepts, and emergent practices of design that help to shape both design and its relations to technologies. He is a member of International Journal of Design (IJD), Tangible Embedded/Embodied Interaction (TEI), and Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) editorial boards and steering committees. He was co-Editor-in-Chief of ACM interactions from 2010 to 2016.


Ron Wakkary is being hosted by Enrico Costanza. Please contact Enrico if you would like to set up a meeting with Ron.