The Ability to Make a Difference in Participatory Design Projects

Aditya Pawar


The case study presented here is an intensive nineday community participation project in a Swiss town, aimed at fostering community food production. The approach to participatory design presented here seeks to emphasize the in-situ improvisatory ‘doing' of collaborative activities. Using notions such as diffusing, reifying and catalyzing the study describes the iterative movement of the project that is bound up in material arrangements and social relations. Through a reflection in action approach, the author unpacks how the designer's agency is understood through social interactions and acts of summarizing, materialization and translation.

The paper concludes by discussing power and agency, both as an outcome and central to the design process. This reflective exploration through the lens of agency seeks to encourage the reflexivity of designers in collaborative practice.

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