The 27th of January, Hanna Hasselqvist and Elina Eriksson were invited to speak at Valtechs lunch seminar on the topic of ICT and Sustainability. The event was fully booked with some 40 attendees. Besides some basics in ICT4S, Hanna and Elina also presented some findings from a couple of research projects.
But, the exchange did not stop there, because the 20th of February Anna Uleander, working with user experience design & sustainability, came to KTH, and gave a guest lecture in our course ”Sustainable ICT in Practice”. The presentation was well received by the students, and there were many questions and comments posed to Anna.
Hopefully this will not be the last exchange with Valtech, who have come a long way to integrate sustainability thinking in their business.
Daniel, Cristi and I (and many other KTH employees and some students) were at a lunch meeting yesterday on the topic of how KTH can contribute to global development and to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. More specifically, the plan is to launch a Global Development Hub, which as a first step will provide courses with a challenge-driven approach (read more about challenge driven education in this guide) in collaboration with a few partner universities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The idea is that there will be exchanges where students from KTH and the partner universities visit each other and work, preferably together, on projects related to global challenges in specific local contexts.
If you have experiences of working with developing countries or challenge-driven education or are interested in being involved in KTH Global Development Hub you can send a one-page description of who you are, what you do, and what you have done/want to do. Send the description to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today Ph.D. student Anders Lundström presented his thesis ”Designing Energy-Sensitive Interactions – Conceptualising Energy from the Perspective of Electric Cars” and we had various celebrities visiting us:
Opponent: Ron Wakkary, professor, School of Interactive Arts and Technology Simon Fraser University, Canada
Eli Blevis, professor, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, USA
Elisa Giaccardi, professor, TU Delft, Netherlands
Johan Redström, professor, Designhögskolan Umeå universitet
Substitute: Associate professor Cecilia Katzeff, Centre for Sustainable Communication, KTH, Stockholm
As part of coming to visit us, we ask our visitors to give short talks and Eli, Elisa and Ron gave three 30-minute talks earlier during the day:
Eli Blevis, ”Design in the Age of Climate Change”
Professor of Informatics | School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC), Indiana University Bloomington
Visiting Professor of Interaction Design | School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Eli Blevis is Professor of Informatics in the Human-Computer Interaction Design (HCI/d) program of the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic School of Design. His primary area of research, and the one for which he is best known, is sustainable interaction design. His research also engages visual thinking—especially photographic foundations of HCI, and design theory—especially transdisciplinary design.
Elisa Giaccardi, ”What It’s Like to be a Thing in Design”
Professor of Interactive Media Design , Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
Elisa Giaccardi is full professor of Interactive Media Design at the Department of Industrial Design Engineering, and one of the recipients of the TU Delft Technology Fellowship for top female scientists. Her background brings together humanities, digital media, and interaction design. She is the editor of Heritage and Social Media (Routledge, 2012), in which she uses heritage as a lens to understand how emerging information and communication technology and services are changing the way in which people participate in the assessment and passing on of the ‘things we value’. Her work on metadesign has been foundational, among other initiatives worldwide, to the Metadesigners Open Network. Her design work has been referenced in several publications including The Tuning of Place by Richard Coyne (MIT Press, 2010), and has been featured by Peter Wright and John McCarthy in Experience-Centered Design: Designers, Users and Communities in Dialogue (Morgan & Claypool, 2010) together with that of Jayne Wallace and Bill Gaver.
Ron Wakkary, ”Things of Practice”
Professor | School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser Universty
Ron Wakkary is a Professor in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) where he established the Everyday Design Studio, a design research studio that explores interaction design. Wakkary’s research investigates the changing nature of interaction design in response to everyday design practices like home life, DIY, amateur experts, hobbyists, and sustainability. In the spirit of design research, Wakkary aims to be reflective and generative, uncovering new and emergent practices of design that help to shape both design and its relations to technologies
All three talks concerned different aspects of design, but only Eli Blevis’ talk was also about sustainability. What I found most interesting was Blevis’ graphical representation of the relationship between design in relation to the past, the present and the future:
- past: design criticism, how design may be understood
- present: critical design, design that makes you think
- future: critical design, ”design that matters”. What matters for our future is what design ought to be about
Blevis also re-connected his talk to his ”original” 2007 paper and the following themes (that ”kicked off” Sustainable HCI):
- linking invention & disposal
- promoting renewal and reuse
- promoting quality and equality
- de-coupling ownership and identity
- using natural models and reflection
One thing I personally found interesting was that Blevis ended his talk by referred to his 2012 paper on ”Collapse informatics” and on ”collapse” as a key (likely) scenario for the future (that we should consider/design towards). He also briefly discussed the predominant strategy of ”mitigation” in relation to the elephant in the room, ”adaptation”.
Today team member and ph.d. student Hanna Hasselqvist presented her ongoing work at her 50% seminar. The title of the seminar and the preliminary title of her thesis is ”Designing for (hidden) energy responsibilities” (abstract below).
Hanna held a very good presentation that was based on the two projects she has worked in; 1) a car-free year and 2) energy management for housing cooperatives.
There was a very interesting discussion about the connection between Social Practice Theory (SPT) and change. Cecilia’s question was if SPT (which mostly is an analytical tool) also helped them think about (how to make people) change (their behaviours). Hanna’s brutal answer was ”no, not directly”. The intervention (”stealing” people’s cars and replacing them with electric (box) bikes for a year) forced the families in question to develop new practices and SPT helped the researches understand and analyse these changes.
A crazy idea for the next project (in the intersection of research, design, art and activism) would be to find people with lapsed car insurance and steal (crash?) their cars to see what happens. A more forceful way to alter other peoples’ habits.
Hanna did well and passed her 50%, so congratulations Hanna!!
Hanna’s discussant was Maria Håkansson from Chalmers who followed-up the seminar by giving a talk of her own.
In the field of Sustainable Human-Computer Interaction, there are many examples of research exploring how ICT can be used to influence people’s energy use. Typically, this research focuses on domestic electricity use and on how to persuade individuals to reduce or change their use of electricity. However, the effectiveness of such approaches has been questioned and it has been proposed to look beyond the individual to the communities, corporations and governments that affect people’s energy practices. In my PhD work, which is now halfway through, I have studied roles and responsibilities that could influence energy related practices for the cases of personal transportation needs and energy use in apartment buildings. For each of the cases I have identified: key roles and responsibilities that could influence energy practices, examples of situations where ICT (together with other interventions) could support a more sustainable use of energy, and design aspects that are important to consider in such situations. These preliminary findings are presented and discussed together with suggestions for directions of future work.
On Friday the 20th of November, Elina and Daniel were invited to speak about IT and sustainability at a student event organized by Spotify. The theme of the weekend long event was “Make IT matter” and during the weekend you can follow the event on social media through the hashtag #MITM15.
All in all, there were some 40 students, who had just arrived at the Spotify headquarters in Stockholm on Friday evening, and who had been handpicked from a large group of applicants. During the following weekend they will through workshops with Spotify staff develop ideas that could help alleviating sustainability issues. We were honoured to kick the event off with what we hope was an inspiring and energizing talk, albeit on a partly difficult topic.
Daniel also wrote a blog post about the event on his personal blog.
Today we have the great delight to announce that our team has gotten a newly made doctor, since Malin Picha Edwardsson has just these last hours successfully defended her thesis ”Towards a Sustainable Media System – Explorative studies of emerging media consumption trends and media processes for content production”.
Today our team-member Hanna had her 30% seminar (30% of a full doctoral education). We warmly congratulate her on a well presented seminar! And whoop her on to the next level! Go Hanna!
Social interactions and norms play a key role in shaping how we use energy. Nevertheless, research on technologies for sustainable energy use, as well as products on the market, has a strong focus on individual behaviours. In my projects I study social aspects of energy use for buildings and transportation. More specifically, I’m interested in collective energy actions in housing cooperatives (bostadsrättsföreningar) and norms and practicalities that support or hinder families in managing everyday life without owning a car. I will explore the role of design in maintaining and breaking norms related to energy practices in these contexts, as well as in facilitating social interactions as part of collective energy actions.