Mette Agger Eriksen

Mette Agger Eriksens bild
Titel på avhandling: 
Material Matters in Co-designing
Beskrivning av avhandling: 


Link for pdf and info on where the disseratation can be bought.

More info on Mette Agger Eriksen's research here and here.

The project is within the fields of Interaction Design and Participatory Design, but also relating to the growing design-oriented perspectives of Co-creation and Service Design.

Design projects are becoming more and more complex and involving many people with different experiences and professions – not least with the increasing involvement of ‘users’ as active participants. Some call such collaborative work ‘interdisciplinary’, some ‘cross-disciplinary’, some ‘multidisciplinary’ – whatever the term, for example inspired by the newer design journal of the same name, I use the term Co-designing.

My primary research interests concerns understanding practical, hands-on methodological issues of how people of various professions – including so called “users” - collaboratively can be engaged in design work during different parts of a co-design process.

Complex projects often also mean distributed teams, where people only physically meet now and then. Therefore meetings and workshops and the collaborative work done during such ‘face-to-face’ events, can get a special meaning during ongoing co-design processes. However, increasingly it is also a design task to make this happen. To overcome only talking and writing, even in the digital age, working with (mainly) tangible things and “materials” can play an important role in establishing engaging dialogues during such co-design events.

“Materials” in my view, are for example agendas, guidelines, sketches, post-it notes, printed images, (access to) video-clips, foam & paper mock-ups, prototypes, as well as disposable cups, pipe cleaners, play mobil-characters, game-pieces and boards, hats, etc etc. – All kinds of things and materials which are engaged actors playing various roles in a workshop, and which collaboratively are applied meaning during a specific co-design situation framed around an agreed focus.

The approach has been programmatic, interventionistic and experimental and this has both been applied during my teaching and during my engagement in different design research projects. The many workshops I have been engaged in (typically both as a co-organizer, a participant and an observer) have for example been central events in projects like:
Three larger European “disappearing-computer” participatory research projects called workspace (2001-2003), Atelier (2002-2004) and Palcom (2004-2007); a Danish Centre of Design Research meta-project exploring how to talk about experimental design research called X:Lab and lastly a Danish methodological user-driven innovation project with a case in waste handling and recycling called DAIM (2008-2010).

The aim has not been to dig into one type of material and become an expert on that, but rather – in collaboration with others - to explore various characters and roles of different materials during different kinds of co-design situations.

In the thesis, I explore, map and discuss a large collection of such concrete examples of specific co-design situations from these projects. Theoretically this is inspired by and relates to various fields and authors like Donald Schön, Material Culture, Bruno Latour /ANT, Etienne Wenger, Performance Studies, Eva Brandt, Lis Sanders, John Chris Jones /Design Methods, Lars Hallnäs & Johan Redström, and many others.

The aim is not to suggest one new way of doing co-design, but rather through integrating and discussing these many different examples of specific co-design situations, to encourage an acknowledgement of the need to appropriate and situate methods – or ways of co-designing - for every specific co-design situation. All together, the aim is to contribute to a broader acknowledgment of what could be called explicit material-methodological considerations and competences when practically co-designing...

With my programmatic and experimental approach, I have not based my work on a strong research question. However, a question is starting to crystallize – it is;

What are various roles of materials in different kinds of co-design situations?!

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Designfakulteten grundades i december 2007 med finansiering från Vetenskapsrådet och KTH. Dess främsta verksamhet är att driva en nationell forskarskola i design i samarbete med ett 20-tal institutioner runt om i Sverige.

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