Selected article archive

Scott Townsend and Maria Patsarika   
Sapienza – Università di Roma ESA Qualitative Research Network Conference. Rome Italy 2021.
Expanding on the capabilities of “cultural probes” through interaction principles for long-term interventions in communities

How can methodologies, tools and methods support “data” and interpretation of how the world is experienced and understood by social actors, and how does their participation become part of their own interventions in their communities? We are interested in examining the space and precedent from participatory design of “cultural probes” (acknowledging their ambiguous position in design and research) along with other methods and methodologies that help to identify, unfold and build on the traces that researchers and community members “leave behind.” (download pdf)...

Scott Townsend and Maria Patsarika. Full Presentation— ESA Conference Manchester University, Manchester UK 2019.
Epistemological Synergy: Futuring As Sustainable Enactment Through A Public Sociology

Embedding design and visual tools as social or boundary objects at different moments of PAR can support iterative cycles of action and reflection in a dialogical fashion. Importantly, it can help to make critical transitions from participants’ personal experiences and emotional responses to collective social analyses and development of proposals for action. ... (download pdf)...

Pre-publication: Scott Townsend and Maria Patsarika

Urban Documentation as Dialogue in “Loose Spaces:” Creating Design Tools and Experiences to Engage Communities. Centre de design, Montréal. 

How do we design tangible design interventions in "design and social innovation"? How do we frame interdisciplinary work with communities in a way that is not instrumentalist? The subject of this paper attempts to build a working framework...(download pdf)

Pre-publication: Scott Townsend and Maria Patsarika
Strategies for an Interdisciplinary Critical Service Learning Engaging Social Sciences and Design

Critical approaches to community engagement and social change reposition the public university in a more dialogic and reciprocal relationship with its publics against instrumentalist, expert-oriented knowledge economy paradigms. With a pluralistic outlook to ‘futuring’ societies in the face of ‘wicked problems’ (Fry 2010) we present an interdisciplinary framework for service learning as a public pedagogy within the disciplines of design and sociology. ...(download pdf)

Introductory lecture Melbourne AUS-Swinburne Uni
Social Pleasure and Design and Social Innovation: Work in Greece 2015-2017

How do we frame ‘design and social innovation’ in ways that are not dominating or objectifying the people we work with? Social pleasure in the community is one factor. I will describe how daily social pleasure was and continues to be a key to ‘design and social innovation,’ referencing the Greek term ‘oikos.’ Oikos means not only household or hearth, but also the pleasure of doing work or sharing communality together ‘in the household / community.’ These daily connections changed the perception of myself (and now my students) in the community, in ways that were unexpected for us (as visual communication practitioners and researchers). ...

intro and overview with images
Workshop: Ionion University Corfu

Today “mapping” is a way of thinking about virtually any subject as a way to see and understand complexity, at virtually any scale, from genetic to social and environmental systems. Mapping is now about sensing and then collecting large data sets with the intention of changing the “systems” observed, which we used to think of as people and their behavior, communities, nature, etc. Mapping is therefore a “transgressive act.” Mapping competes with other ways of how we understand things, and modifies how we live, through things like smart cities, marketing and consumption, surveillance and warfare, resource exploitation, genetic information, etc. These changes place us in a transition where we do not understand how this “new environment” works and how we fit into it. ...

revised final draft
Reopening Paul Dourish’s “toolbox,” and the “implications for design” argument (Revised- October 22, 2015- Design and Culture 2016)

In 2006 Paul Dourish gave a paper that discussed the positioning of (specifically) ethnography and the motives for extracting out “implications for design” i.e. design interventions and form. This is part of the basis of this paper, which develops in essay form a “case-study” that helps illustrate the need to develop and pursue critical interrogations of what Dourish called a “toolbox of methods, ” (download pdf)...

Editing: introduction to 60 page section in Design and Culture 7.2 and 7.3
Introducing “Design and Academe:” Design Education and Social Innovation

With this issue, Design and Culture begins a recurring section on design education and practice. Our first theme is “design education and social innovation,” and comes at a time when local needs and global challenges converge with design discourse, academia, and design practices in topical and important new ways (Irwin/Vodeb/Guaralda/Penin/Fry/Lo/Yang) (download pdf)...

Design Philosophy Papers
Complexity and Control; the New Design Paradigm

Issues of research and methods seriously impact the way we think about other cultures, and may create and further instrumentalist practices (download pdf)...

Florence and Belgrade
Social Capital

Overview text in Italian...

Design and Culture 3-2 Main Article
Situated Design: A Space for Interaction and “Reading"

Reading is becoming a more diverse activity. While the act of reading engages a reader through intense interiorization and reflection, reading is also placed within more exteriorized social contexts through ubiquitous computing, networking, and densely designed public spaces (download pdf)...

Brujula- Hemispheric institute of the americas
The Borderline Projects: art-making as a mirror in global redistribution

What is the nature of politically engaged art-practice in light of the shifting contexts of highly mobile global audiences? How does the issue of translation become a strategy in building awareness across languages? What is the position of being between cultures, of communities on a border, or of crossing a border and living within a larger culture which projects its own stereotypes and assumptions about the minority community? Migration based on economic and political pressure is a huge and pervasive trend that is shaping global culture. These questions are the broad basis for the development of a series of linked projects called the Borderline Series, which focuses on contemporary migrations between Latin and North America.

Design Issues Volume 14, Number 3
Unfolding the surface of information

Electronic interactive information raises many new questions regarding the nature of design. Can the speed and ubiquity of 'new' information, broadly construed, be understood through older theories of communication- or is there a threshold that we begin to cross where immediate distribution through electronic networks and user interaction contradicts many older definitions of information design?

There is a crisis in our understanding. The older models and applied theories of maker and audience seem insufficient within this environment, yet, what new theories are provided seem to be placed within a hypothetical future that seems disconnected to the present. To examine the present is extremely difficult.

Zed 5: Beyond the object: the implications issue
Towards a surface of information

Interactivity combines time-based media with traditional literacy. Cognitive psychologists have suggested that memory is encoded very differently based on "episodic or semantic" categories. These categories appear oppositional especially regarding the vulnerability and authenticity of information based on personal perception versus authoritative source. Defining and expanding overlaps may help in determining function on the most basic level of interactive design. This paper defines and expands terms to include how perceptual information may integrate more meaningfully in our use of traditional writing, through alternative structures or "schema" of "new" information especially regarding navigation, and interface metaphor.

Visual communication: review
One place after another

One Place After Another: Site Specific Art and Locational Identity charts the development of site-specific art making from the 60's to the present. The task that Miwon Kwon has taken on is not a survey or complete history for site-specific art. Rather, she has selected practitioners that let her illustrate a kind of evolving critical viewpoint for herself. Kwon connects this recent history to a larger context for, and a yearning to discover, site-specificity now. She develops a historical perspective in which she feels free to move back and forth for the sake of instructive comparisons, and we benefit from her approach. The final "site" or frame for art reception and dissemination in this appraisal is no less than the artist-producer and the sometimes

Schools of thought III: pasadena
Is there a question here?...

Many theorists vie for the supposed key to understanding "new media,” and most are to be found outside of graphic design. Not surprisingly, each author speaks from his or her own disciplinary bias. Critical writing either becomes reductive and ideologically trapped within that bias, or so personalized that the ideas are hard to interrogate. Writers run the gamut, from generalized theories (Bolter and “remediation”), to historical precedent (Manovich) to politics of identity (Haraway).