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From publics to counterpublics: designing for autonomy

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conference contribution
posted on 2022-08-22, 09:16 authored by Sharon PrendevilleSharon Prendeville, Anais Carlton - ParadaAnais Carlton - Parada, Vicky Gerrard, Pandora SyperekPandora Syperek

In this paper we examine the conceptualization of publics by participatory design scholars and consider how the emphasis on communities as publics supports or hinders the agenda to repoliticize participatory design research. Our paper begins by setting out the alternative concept of counter-publics, which we argue is an overlooked yet salient critical lens that can offer productive insights for the field. Focusing on “new economy” counter-publics, we consider how we might unsettle institutionalized norms and assemble new ones, rebalance towards autonomy at the outset of any participatory design project, and approach designing counter-institutions in ways that aim to sustain oppositional practices in the face of co-optation. Based on this argumentation, we reflect on counter-designing as a tactical practice to employ against pervasive issues of norming and co-optation and towards collective autonomy.


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

Arts and Humanities Research Council

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  • Loughborough University London

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PDC 2022 Vol. 1: Participatory Design Conference 2022: Volume 1


218 - 229


Participatory Design Conference 2022 (PDC 2022)


Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)


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This is an Open Access Article. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for third-party components of this work must be honored. For all other uses, contact the owner/author(s). Sharon Prendeville, Anais Carlton-Parada, Victoria Gerrard, and Pandora Syperek. 2022. From Publics to Counterpublics: Designing for Autonomy. In Participatory Design Conference 2022: Volume 1 (PDC 2022 Vol. 1), August 19–September 01, 2022, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 12 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3536169.3537795

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Vasilis Vlachokyriakos; Joyce Yee; Erik Grönvall; Raquel Noronha; Andrea Botero; Chiara Del Gaudio; Yoko Akama; Rachel Clarke; John Vines


Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Event dates

19th August 2022 - 1st September 2022


Dr Sharon Prendeville. Deposit date: 9 May 2022

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