On 11 July 2022, itDf PhD student Christina Stimson (University of Sheffield) presented her PhD project ‘Exploring Human-Robot Futures through Participatory Design’ at the Joint International Conference on Digital Inclusion, Assistive Technology & Accessibility – ICCHP-AAATE 2022, Lecco, Italy.
“The overall aim of this PhD project is to develop new Participatory Design methodologies for assistive and companion robotics and to evaluate them with potential robot users and their carers. However, rather than developing an end product or prototype, the emphasis is on fostering the Scandinavian Participatory Design tradition’s democratic values and enduring social benefits (encouraging equitable relationships and healthy self-esteem; creating learning/development opportunities). The methods will facilitate the means to collaboratively creating a rich, nuanced picture of how (disabled and non-disabled) people currently imagine robots in their future and, more importantly, to develop this conception. It is hoped that all involved individuals will empower themselves to imagine fully the range of possibilities (hopes, fears, and realistic expectations) in their own personal futures in our increasingly technologised world. The aim will be achieved by synthesising a range of concepts and methods including Science Fiction Prototyping and other narrative-based approaches to understand how technology is embedded in the imagination, and thereby bring the historically rarefied fields of robotics and assistive technology closer to their potential stakeholders.”