DIS 2012 Workshop: Slow Technology: Critical Reflection and Future Directions

| February 7, 2012

DIS 2012 Workshop: Slow Technology: Critical Reflection and Future Directions (June 12, 2012, Newcastle, UK)

Website: http://www.willodom.com/slowtechnology/

Deadline for workshop submissions: March 20, 2012

In their seminal article on Slow Technology, Hallnäs and Redström (2001) argue that the increasing availability of technology in environments outside of the workplace requires interaction design practice to be expanded from creating tools to make people’s lives more efficient to “creating technology that surrounds us and therefore is part of our activities for long periods of time.” These authors outline a design agenda aimed at inverting values of efficient performance and emphasizing creating technologies that support moments of reflection, mental rest, slowness and solitude. Over a decade later, these issues remain areas of inquiry in the HCI and design communities, and there has recently been a resurgence of work in this area. The core goal of this one-day workshop is to critically reflect on the work that has emerged since Slow Technology was originally proposed to forge understanding of the challenges, limitations and opportunities characterizing the contemporary design space.

March 20, 2012: submissions due
April 16, 2012: accepted submissions notified
June 12, 2012: workshop held in Newcastle, UK

WORKSHOP SUBMISSIONS
We invite participants to submit a short written position paper as well as a depiction of an artifact perceived to be constitutive of Slow Technology. The written portion consists of a short 1-2 page submission formatted using the ACM DIS 2012 template that responds to the statement “Slow Technology is…” This introductory statement is intended to provoke the author(s) to take a specific position on the Slow Technology agenda and offer their conceptualization of what Slow Technology is. This workshop paper could (but is not required to) use the author(s) own philosophical, theoretical, empirical, or design/craft-based work to support their position.

The artifact submission is intended to be something that the authors deem constitutive of Slow Technology. These could include a personal object (e.g., personal reflection on a family heirloom), experiential accounts of “slow practices” (e.g., use of cooking tools for elaborate meal preparation), analysis of design research artifacts that incorporate the theme of “slowness” (e.g., an artifact built by the author), or existing artistic works that can offer commentary and inspiration that explores slowness (e.g. a painting or documentation of a performance piece). The artifact may be depicted pictorially.
We encourage submissions from diverse backgrounds including (but not limited to): art and design, the humanities, the social sciences, the information sciences, and industrial engineering. Industry and non-profit organizations are similarly encouraged. Submissions will be selected based on originality, quality, and potential to generate discussion. Both completed and in-progress work is welcome.

ORGANIZERS
William Odom, Human Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, US

Richard Banks, Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK

Abigail Durrant, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK

David Kirk, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK

James Pierce, Human Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, US

THEMES
Some themes for submissions include:

**Consumption of objects and technologies**
There exist a range of work in the HCI and design communities exploring how emotional attachment to technologies might extend their longevity and increase their value. How are existing frameworks of emotional attachment used in designing for longer term interactions with technologies? What are the limitations to this approach? How does design promote reflection on or address current trends of planned obsolescence, both business models and social expectations? And, how might more systemic or service-oriented approaches complement a move towards designing for developing enduring attachment?

**Legacy and consideration of multiple generations**
As technologies and systems are interacted with over relatively long periods of time, questions of how they will be passed down to future generations are becoming increasingly important. In what ways can both digital data and interactive products be designed with notions of sentimentality and persistence across multiple generations in mind? To what extent should interaction designers take into account the responsibility of supporting the lives of future generations into their practice? What are the practical, ethical, and/or moral issues of doing so?

**Slowness and reflection**
Slow technologies can aim to invert values of efficiency in the service of supporting experiences of pause, contemplation, and reflection. Considered in contrast to efficiency and productivity, what role might “slowness” through design play in contexts including the home, the neighborhood, and the workplace? What kinds of interaction mechanisms and functionalities characterize Slow Technologies? In what ways do they compare or contrast to contemporary consumer technologies?

**Infrastructural, engineering and technical concerns**
Designing material technologies that can support slowness both raises questions and requires solutions regarding distinct technical challenges. What kinds of new hardware and software will be required for technologies to persist over longer periods of time? How is the durability of information and materials handled effectively and appropriately over time? To what extent can digital data and hardware be designed to endure over time?

**Theoretical & ethnographic accounts of slowness**
Case studies and theoretical accounts of existing people and practices can help inform the various strands of slow design. For example, how can rich accounts of durable / non-durable practices (e.g., passing down heirlooms; purging basements of unwanted clutter) inform slow technology design practice?