File(s) under permanent embargo

Reason: Awaiting publication.

From publics to counter-publics: designing for autonomy

In this paper we examine the conceptualisation of publics by participatory design scholars and consider how the emphasis on publics to date supports or hinders the agenda to repoliticize participatory design. Our paper begins by setting out the alternative concept of counter-publics, which we argue is an overlooked yet salient critical lens that offers productive insights for this agenda. By foregrounding counter-publics we observe possibilities to unsettle institutionalised norms and assemble new ones, to rebalance towards community autonomy at the outset of any participatory design project, to approach designing counter-institutions in ways that respond to collectives that sustain oppositional practices in the face of their co-optation, and to conceive of participation in any collective on the basis of a pluriversal condition. Based on this argumentation, we set out strategies for designing counteractions, which we conceive as emergent strategies for collective autonomy and against issues of co-optation that surfaces in both theory and practice. 


Counter-framing design: Radical Design Practices for Sustainability and Social Change

Arts and Humanities Research Council

Find out more...



  • Loughborough University London


Participatory Design Conference 2022 (PDC 2022)


Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

© {Owner/Author | ACM} {Year}. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in {Source Publication},{number}.

Acceptance date





Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Event dates

19th August 2022 - 1st September 2022


Dr Sharon Prendeville. Deposit date: 9 May 2022