This panel invites inquiries into the situatedness of design practices and artefacts. We welcome theoretical and empirical studies into the mutual configuration of technical and design practices with their geographical, organisational and material worlds and their implicit value claims.
Design, at the heart of creating new technologies, has a predominant existence and influence outside the theoretical framework of research as a professional practice. A plethora of practices identify as design. These range from traditional product design over design engineering to more recent conversions in UX/UI or design thinking. Simultaneously, the boundaries of design have become porous; research in the social sciences discloses that design is also practiced by those avoiding the term. Newer approaches at the intersections of design and STS, such as craft (Rosner & Fox, 2016; Pérez Bustos, 2017), critical technical practice (Agre, 1997; Boehner et al., 2005), hacking (Söderberg and Delfanti, 2015), repair and fixing (Denis and Pontille, 2014; Jackson, 2014), offer unconventional reconfigurations of both technological expertise and socio-political worlds. This diversity of locations and approaches makes it difficult to provide a definition what design means—something even design research has been struggling with.
Rather than seeking a substantive definition, this panel makes an inquiry into the location, circulation, presences and absences of design practices. Part of this challenge to situate design, is articulating the geographical, organisational, discursive and material arrangements that converge at sites, where design is practiced and reflexively delineated. We welcome both theoretical contributions and practical case studies that follow along dialogues on what design means for design, STS, and beyond.