IX Magazine: Feminisms in Design

Talk: Critical Perspectives on AI Ethics

Conference papers

I’ve been slow to share papers here, so post­ing about two recent­ly pub­lished papers. With both pub­li­ca­tions it was a absolute joy and priv­i­lege to work with my co-authors.

Cyn­thia L Ben­nett, Daniela K Ros­ner, Alex S Tay­lor (2020) The Care Work of Access, CHI ’20, p. 1–15, New York, NY: ACM Press, pdf, doi:10.1145/3313831.3376568

Cur­rent approach­es to AI and Assis­tive Tech­nol­o­gy (AT) often fore­ground task com­ple­tion over oth­er encoun­ters such as expres­sions of care. Our paper chal­lenges and com­ple­ments such task-com­ple­tion approach­es by attend­ing to the care work of access-the con­tin­u­al affec­tive and emo­tion­al adjust­ments that peo­ple make by notic­ing and attend­ing to one anoth­er. We explore how this work impacts encoun­ters among peo­ple with and with­out vision impair­ments who com­plete tasks togeth­er. We find that bound up in attempts to get things done are con­cerns for one anoth­er and how well peo­ple are doing togeth­er. Read­ing this work through emerg­ing dis­abil­i­ty stud­ies and fem­i­nist STS schol­ar­ship, we account for two impor­tant forms of work that give rise to access: (1) mun­dane attune­ments and (2) non-inno­cent autho­riza­tions. Togeth­er these process­es work as sen­si­tiz­ing con­cepts to help HCI schol­ars account for the ways that intel­li­gent ATs both pro­duce access while some­times sub­vert­ing peo­ple with disabilities.

Jes­si­ca L Feuston, Alex S Tay­lor, Anne Marie Piper (2020) Con­for­mi­ty of Eat­ing Dis­or­ders through Con­tent Mod­er­a­tion, Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Inter­act. 4(CSCW1), New York, NY, USA: Asso­ci­a­tion for Com­put­ing Machin­ery, pdf, doi:10.1145/3392845

For indi­vid­u­als with men­tal ill­ness, social media plat­forms are con­sid­ered spaces for shar­ing and con­nec­tion. How­ev­er, not all expres­sions of men­tal ill­ness are treat­ed equal­ly on these plat­forms. Dif­fer­ent aggre­gates of human and tech­ni­cal con­trol are used to report and ban con­tent, accounts, and com­mu­ni­ties. Through two years of dig­i­tal ethnog­ra­phy, includ­ing online obser­va­tion and inter­views, with peo­ple with eat­ing dis­or­ders, we exam­ine the expe­ri­ence of con­tent mod­er­a­tion. We use a con­struc­tivist ground­ed the­o­ry approach to analy­sis that shows how prac­tices of mod­er­a­tion across dif­fer­ent plat­forms have par­tic­u­lar con­se­quences for mem­bers of mar­gin­al­ized groups, who are pres­sured to con­form and com­pelled to resist. Above all, we argue that plat­form mod­er­a­tion is enmeshed with wider process­es of con­for­mi­ty to spe­cif­ic ver­sions of men­tal ill­ness. Prac­tices of mod­er­a­tion reassert cer­tain bod­ies and expe­ri­ences as ‘nor­mal’ and val­ued, while reject­ing oth­ers. At the same time, nav­i­gat­ing and resist­ing these nor­ma­tive pres­sures fur­ther inscribes the mar­gin­al sta­tus of cer­tain indi­vid­u­als. We dis­cuss changes to the ways that plat­forms han­dle con­tent relat­ed to eat­ing dis­or­ders by draw­ing on the con­cept of mul­ti­plic­i­ty to inform design.

PhD Scholarships at City

We’d love to have
appli­ca­tions from prospec­tive stu­dents want­i­ng to join the Cen­tre for Human-Com­put­er Inter­ac­tion Design (HCID).

The dead­line is 20th May 2020. For details and appli­ca­tion process, see here.

Top­i­cal­ly, I’m very open to sug­ges­tions. I’d love to see pro­pos­als tak­ing crit­i­cal and per­haps mate­ri­al­ist ori­en­ta­tions to techno­science. Fem­i­nist, inter­sec­tion­al think­ing would also be high on my wish list.

What­ev­er the per­sua­sion, if you have friends, stu­dents, col­leagues, etc. inter­est­ed in doing some­thing excit­ing, please put them in touch.

Halfway to the Future

Speak­ing at the Mixed Real­i­ty Lab’s Halfway to the Future, in Not­ting­ham. Very spoilt to have talked along­side a remote but still thor­ough­ly present and inspir­ing Lucy Such­man.

Data Bodies, Social Objects: S1 Art Space Sheffield

Short clip - Ilona Sagar's film Deep Structure
So grate­ful to Ilona Sagar for invit­ing me to join her at Park Hill’s S1 Art­space, in Sheffield. Lau­ra Vaugh­an and I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to respond to her thought pro­vok­ing film Deep Struc­ture, in a con­ver­sa­tion title “Data Bod­ies, Social Objects”.

Lau­ra Vaugh­an’s blog post sets the scene for our conversation.

Bauhaus Futures Book Chapter

Bauhaus Futures Book Cover Photo of Anni Albers from chapter

This chap­ter exam­ines the process­es of scal­ing made vis­i­ble with­in the words and work of the Weimer Bauhaus and, par­tic­u­lar­ly, Anni Albers’ care­ful accounts of weav­ing. We explore whether thread­ing a fem­i­nist pre­car­i­ty into her writ­ing helps illu­mi­nate new ways of exam­in­ing ten­sions between what we scale up and what we scale down.

Read­ing with Anni Albers:
The weave as a live­ly invo­lu­tion of scale, affect, and fem­i­nist precarity

Mov­ing first over and across, we exam­ine Alber’s dis­cus­sions of dif­fer­ent scales of weav­ing, from the hand loom to indus­tri­al machin­ery. Tra­vers­ing then down­ward and below, we con­sid­er Alber’s atten­tion to the body, those fin­gers and hands inter­lac­ing threads along a pli­able plane. Shift­ing around and through, we con­sid­er how an affect is present in Alber’s reflec­tions, and espe­cial­ly in how it pulls against the stur­dy mech­a­nis­tic log­ics vis­i­bly orga­niz­ing her process. Across this writ­ing, we hope to think with Albers, read­ing her prose some­what against the grain of con­ven­tion­al Bauhaus accounts by inter­weav­ing a fem­i­nist positioning.

Matt Rat­to, Daniela K Ros­ner, Yana Boe­va, Alex Tay­lor (2019) Spe­cial issue on hybrid ped­a­go­gies edi­to­r­i­al, Dig­i­tal Cre­ativ­i­ty 30(4), p. 13–217, url, doi:10.1080/14626268.2019.1699576

Daniela K Ros­ner, Alex S Tay­lor (2019) Read­ing with Anni Albers: The Weave as a Live­ly Invo­lu­tion of Scale, Affect, and Fem­i­nist Pre­car­i­ty, Bauhaus Futures, Lau­ra For­lano, Mol­ly Wright Steen­son, Mike Anan­ny (ed.), p. 201–212, Cam­bridge, MA: MIT Press, pdf

Seminar talk at Edinburgh Design Informatics

Real­ly delight­ed to have pre­sent­ed at Design infor­mat­ics this week.

A changing academic life

So grate­ful to Geral­dine Fitz­patrick for spend­ing the time talk­ing to me and giv­ing me the chance to put words to my still ill-formed thoughts on liv­ing an aca­d­e­m­ic life. Such a priv­i­lege to be part of her pod­cast series, Chang­ing Aca­d­e­m­ic Life.

In talk­ing to Geral­dine, I’ve tried to be hon­est, find­ing space between my naivety and the intel­lec­tu­al envi­ron­ment I’d love to help build with the many amaz­ing aca­d­e­mics I work with. Find the pod­cast and abbre­vi­at­ed tran­script here (along with some oth­er great inter­views: I high­ly rec­om­mend Ali Black­’s).

HCID Open Day 2019

Great to be part of this year’s live­ly HCID Open Day, and present a short paper: 

Liv­ing a larg­er life together. 

ABSTRACT: I want to use this talk to think in broad­er terms about design­ing for good — to ask the ques­tion: “are we think­ing and doing well with design?” 

Step­ping through a num­ber of exam­ples, I’ll invite us to reflect on some of the core tenets in UX design and HCI, ideas like human cen­tred­ness, medi­a­tion and aug­men­ta­tion. Though valu­able in mov­ing us on from a prob­lem-dri­ven and high­ly instru­men­tal ver­sion of design to some­thing much more invest­ed in people’s rich expe­ri­ences, I’m going to pro­pose such ten­ants are now lim­it­ing our imag­i­na­tions. They have us nar­row­ing our atten­tion, plac­ing the empha­sis on the human’s capac­i­ties to act in and on the world. In oth­er words they cre­ate the con­di­tions for a util­i­tar­i­an indi­vid­u­al­ism, and leave lit­tle space for a design open to the always entan­gled inter­play between a full-range of human and non­hu­man actors. 

I’ll argue that there is an alter­na­tive, much more gen­er­a­tive way of think­ing about and mak­ing with design, one that is com­mit­ted to a rela­tion­al becom­ing. This is an idea of rela­tions that does­n’t reduce design to a prac­tice that is good for the cen­tred human, the human sur­round­ed by tools that medi­ate or aug­ment inter­ac­tion. Instead, it is to recog­nise the cor­re­spon­dences, inter­de­pen­den­cies, con­tin­u­al attune­ments and co-mak­ings between diverse enti­ties. It is to ask: what it might be to cre­ate the con­di­tions for more to hap­pen, what a design would look like that holds open the space for rela­tions to pro­lif­er­ate and much more var­ied forms of life to come into being. This I want to pro­pose is a design for good, a design that is full with the hope of liv­ing a larg­er life together.