The Technologies of Participation

Q: How can we understand and build information technology to support participation?

The technologies of participation is a cross-cutting theme, that takes outset in understanding what makes a technology participatory and what makes it not.

The focus of this theme is on the (IT) artifacts, and what assumptions and power relationships that are crystallized into them.

Concretely this for example concerns issues as the privacy model of social media, or the ownership model of software and data when it comes to cloud-based applications such as Google Docs.

The questions of the theme are both addressed critically and constructively. As an example of the latter, the research project Local Area Artworks generated a technical platform, ProxiMagic [1] (, for enabling easy participation in activities in a local space mediated through personal devices. ProxiMagic include technological innovations allowing a system local to a particular space, to deliver content to personal devices in the space based on their proximity to points of interests, and achieving this without having to install an app on the personal devices.

The outcomes of the theme are both concrete technologies or prototypes of technologies that can serve as critical alternatives, but also conceptual outcomes such as taxonomies for participatory IT that can be used both critically and generatively in relation to technology. 

Selected references

1. Klokmose, C.N., Korn, M., and Blunck, H. WiFi proximity detection in mobile web applications. Proc. EICS 2014, ACM Press (2014), 123-128.