Love in E-waste is a workshop at the upcoming Participatory Design Conference in Windhoek, Namibia this October. Participatory design is a practice where ordinary users are part of the design process to help ensure the results meets their needs and values. Thus, both the process and the products tend to be different than a top-down approach to creating (and wasting) objects. Love in E-waste adds another twist, in that rather than designing something from scratch, it starts with a waste product. More information about participation is below. We’re looking forward to seeing what comes out of the workshop.

This workshop focuses on how the notion of love can help explore and define participatory strategies targeted at dealing with issues surrounding e-waste. In particular, we are interested in discovering how Participatory Design practice can offer ways of transforming people’s relationships with e-waste from negative affective relationships into positive ones through engagement, co- creation, and group envisioning. The workshop focuses particularly on existent e-waste, accepting it as an (unfortunate) outcome of current production strategies in need of change.

If you are interested, find out how to participate. Submissions are due by July 22 2014. To find out more about the conference, please visit the official PDC 2014 website.

The overall goal of the workshop is to document multiple perspectives, methods, and examples of value-centered and participatory approaches that focus on looking at and utilizing e-waste as key ingredient to create positive transformation and/or outcomes. Some possible questions to consider in the context of this workshop include:

  • Can participatory practice transform e-waste into a conduit for community reconciliation?
  • Can reflection on the materiality and aesthetics of e- waste trigger practices to ultimately benefit those directly impacted by e-waste?
  • Can e-waste become something positive if looked at differently thanks to a participatory lens?
  • Can notions of love and participation help us engage e-waste differently, making beauty out of it despite its negative impact on landscapes and society?
  • What is the role of PD practitioners when e-waste is a direct by-product of design engagements?

Participation will include for select submissions a stipend (amount TBD) for travel and other conference expenses.

Related posts:

Detritivore’ Design: How to Use Trash to Create Scalable Tech Solutions,” by Mathew Lippincott. 05/13/2013.

Myopic spatial politics in dominant narratives of e-waste” by Max Liboiron on Josh Lepawsky’s work. 03/06/2014.

Speculative Historiographies of Techno-Trash” by Max Liboiron. 06/18/2014.