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Research

Daniela Rosner's Research Group Archive

The following research group descriptions are archived because they are no longer offered, the faculty member is on sabbatical, or the group is taking a break. Please contact the faculty member or an advisor to learn more about these groups.


Autumn 2023

Capstone Formations

Capstone is a culminating experience for MS HCDE students. It offers students the opportunity to synthesize learnings from their studies to address real-world issues using human-centered design and engineering. The projects are student-run, large-scale developments that encompass two quarters of student work. In this scope and complexity, capstone differs from most HCDE courses. Students learn to work across peers, instructors, staff, and very often external partners to conduct in-depth research, planning and design that encompass multiple focused cycles of inquiry and intervention. 

This new offering of Capstone Formations is designed to help HCDE master's students navigate these developments. We organize Capstone Formations as a four-part event series, with each event dedicated to a capstone-specific concern: 

1. Introduction to Capstone | 10/11/23  11:45 - 1:15 PM

  • What is capstone? How do I plan ahead? What kind of work has come out of capstone? 
  • Led by: Daniela Rosner, HCDE Associate Professor and MS Program Co-Director; Guest: Former Capstone Instructor, TBD

Bonus - Capstone Mixer | 10/13/23 4:30 - 7 PM, 4th floor hallway Sieg

2. Team Formation | 10/18/23  11:45 - 1:15 PM, ECE 003

  • How do teams get formed? Who should I aim to work with?
  • Led by: Daniela Rosner; Guest: Members of GSA

3. Project Focus | 11/08/23  11:45 - 1:15 PM

  • How do I decide on a project? What “sponsored projects” are available to work with? 
  • Led by: Daniela Rosner; Melissa Ewing, HCDE Outreach and Strategic Partnerships Manager

4. Applications + Milestones | 12/06/23  11:45 - 1:15 PM

  • What are the main applications and milestones I should know about? How (to work with external partners, to receive funds)
  • Led by: Daniela Rosner

This event series is exploratory in character; each week will be organized as a lecture and discussion, offering time for students to form teams, learn about and discuss sponsored projects, and anticipate upcoming milestones. 

We offer this opportunity in line with other HCDE lecture events such as dub—giving course credit to those who sign up for credit (as a DRG), but also giving students the option to attend without credit. Given gaps in the dub schedule this year, we have also aligned this opportunity with the dub lecture series so that capstone students signing up for dub can take this course during the “down” days of the quarter. 
If you have questions or seek course credit (1-2 units), contact Daniela Rosner at dkrosner@uw.edu.


Summer 2023

Elevating Black Corpus and UX in Speech & Language Systems (ASR/NLP)

Led by HCDE PhD candidate Jay Cunningham, with Professors Julie Kientz and Daniela Rosner, this DRG serves as a working-group for a new research agenda to develop equitable, community-collaborative design methods to mitigate racial disparities and performance in automated speech and language technologies for Black language communities (AAVE/AAL).

Overview:
Automated speech recognition (ASR) systems that rely on natural language processing (NLP) techniques are becoming increasingly prevalent in people’s everyday lives. From virtual assistants integrated into mobile devices, smart home assistants, and vehicles; to software tasks such as automatic translation, automatic captioning, automatic subtitling, and even hands-free computing, ASR systems are core components of new devices and applications. However, recent research has shown that with this broadening access comes new fairness-related harms and racial disparities that negatively impact Black speakers of African American Vernacular English (AAVE), leaving AAVE users’ speech less accurately represented, recognized, and processed. 

HCDE PhD candidate Jay Cunningham, with Professors Julie Kientz and Daniela Rosner, seeks to address this challenge by developing and validating collaborative methods for developing more inclusive and equitable automated speech and language technologies for Black speakers of AAVE that are culturally competent. 

Through this project, we hope to further inform how academic researchers and industry practitioners can democratically collaborate with communities to create artificial intelligence and machine learning systems, practices, and policies that enable fair, equitable, and sustainable solutions that ultimately liberate and empower historically marginalized groups.

Student Researcher Involvement:
This DRG is seeking 3-5 dedicated students to collaborate and execute on the research studies outlined for this agenda. 

Participation in this research team will entail conducting and assisting with participant interviews and focus groups, thematic analysis of audio transcripts, analyzing co-design workshop artifacts, and conducting data science on AAVE speech data alongside the graduate student project lead. This also includes obtaining consent and assisting with performing all study procedures. Participants will have had coursework in research methods, complete an orientation to human subjects protections given by the UW, and will receive training from graduate student project lead on obtaining consent and debriefing subjects. 

This will be a 2-3 credit DRG. We will meet no more than 3 hours virtually or in-person each week (twice/week, 90-minute), and students should expect to spend no more than 2 hours working outside of that time per week.

Research will explore the following:

  • What are the strengths and pitfalls of existing ASR/NLP system design processes?
  • How might design decisions NLP/ML technologists make that shape experiences of fairness and bias among underrepresented language variety users?
  • How might researchers from academia and industry develop and employ collaborative-participatory approaches with African American community members — involving their voices and perspectives early and often in the product development process — to address many of the challenges African Americans (AAVE speakers) face when using voice technology?
  • How might community accountability boards serve as means for accountable action and transparency measures toward more culturally competent human centered technologies. 

Summer 2023

Exploring Technopolitical Imaginaries: An Epistemological Cartography Workshop

This Term-A DRG will focus on mapping out technopolitical imaginaries through an activity of epistemological cartography, based on Joseph Dumit’s Writing the Implosion exercise. Through a series of prompts, we will develop Knowledge and Ignorance Maps to make visible the contested and occupied zones of personal and collective imaginaries of technological systems.

This short DRG also aims at developing an upcoming workshop at the ACM conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS). The workshop,  “The Politics of Imaginaries: Probing Humanistic Inquiry in HCI” brings together scholars, practitioners, and makers working across human-computer interaction (HCI), the social sciences, and the humanities to explore the politics of imaginaries in computing development. It emphasizes the necessity of critical and imaginative encounters and recognizes the systemic inequities baked into the practices, policies, and governance structures associated with computing worlds. The workshop aims to develop a concern for technopolitical imaginaries: the images, affects, and sensory connections that shape technological development. The discussions and hands-on activities seek to lay the foundation for a broader conversation on the stakes of a humanistic imagination in HCI.

In this DRG, we have four primary goals for developing the upcoming DIS workshop:

  1. Workshop: In weeks 1 and 2, we will run a condensed pilot of the workshop (epistemological cartography activity).
  2. Iteration: In week 3, we will discuss the experiences and outcomes of the workshop. 
  3. Physicalization (no meeting): In week 4, DRG participants are encouraged to explore creative ways to engage with their maps, either through visualizations, sketches, design prototypes, speculative artifacts or performance pieces.
  4. Analysis: In week 5, we will conclude the DRG by presenting the outputs of week 4 in class, as well as the outputs from the DIS workshop, and identify key findings and opportunities for future work. 

We invite 2-4 dedicated undergraduate or graduate students to participate in this DRG. You should expect to read through materials before each week's meeting to fully engage in DRG activities. No prior experience in these areas is needed. Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 10am-12pm, with additional time allocated for readings, designs, analysis, and other aspects of the project. 

The DRG will be co-facilitated by PhD candidates Michael Beach and Gabrielle Benabdallah advised by Associate Professor Daniela Rosner. If you have any questions, reach out to Michael at mwb8@uw.edu or on the HCDE Slack.


Spring 2023

Designing with Polyamory

Led by: Brian Kinnee, PhD Candidate (HCDE), bkinnnee@uw.edu
Faculty Sponsors: Daniela Rosner, Associate Professor (HCDE) & Audrey Desjardins, Associate Professor (Design)

Overview and Call for Applicants
This DRG is seeking 2-3 people who have experience in, are currently practicing, or are thinking about polyamory. Polyamory is the practice of having multiple, consensual, emotional and/or sexual relationships. This DRG will research the intersections of polyamory, HCI, and design.

Students from undergraduate and master’s programs are invited to apply and participate in this design research project. We are interested in working with people who have experiences with polyamory, are currently polyamorous, or who have been thinking about polyamory. We will explore ways of designing with polyamory through conversation, calendaring, historical investigation, reflection with personal data, everyday speculation, and data-driven divination.

Furthermore, we will unpack coexisting definitions of polyamory and polyamorous systems to forge new directions for understanding polyamory as defined by ongoing and reflexive processes of communication, consent, and co-designing ethical norms and standards. Moreover, we will draw upon our lived experiences of polyamory and polyamorous living through a series of design research inquiries.

Background & Motivation
Currently, polyamorous communities are under-accounted for in the design of sociotechnical systems. At the same time, these communities have robust practices of iteratively developing their own terms of fairness, accountability, and transparency. While polyamorous communities continue to queer uses of technologies to fit their particular needs and sensitivities, they remain under-accounted for, stigmatized, and invisibilized in many ways. Therefore, this DRG will explore what we might learn from polyamorous communities in order to design more fair, accountable, and transparent systems using design research methodologies.

Summary
In this DRG, we will investigate designing with polyamory through a series of engagements with archival, historical, personal, and temporal data in the context of HCI and Design. This DRG will develop design research methods for designing with polyamory through defining protocols, methods, and techniques for conducting design research with polyamorous communities, systems, and technologies.
If you have any questions, please contact Brian Kinnee at bkinnee@uw.edu.


Spring 2023

A Critical Examination of Psychometrics in (Algorithmic) Hiring

This DRG will be led by Caitie Lustig and sponsored by Daniela Rosner.

Background
Recently there has been increased interest in the equity, policy, and design implications of algorithmic hiring systems. These platforms use AI/ML technology to automate stages of the hiring process (i.e., sourcing, screening, interviewing, and selection). They use a variety of techniques to rank candidates–including using psychometrics, which are most commonly used in the screening and interview stages of the hiring process when an applicant is compared to the traits of an “ideal employee”. This DRG will explore how psychometrics came to be used in algorithmic hiring despite their controversial history.

Objectives and outputs

During this DRG, we will:

  • find and discuss articles and other media that situate these platforms’ creation and deployment in their socio-historical contexts,
  • analyze marketing materials and documentation for these systems, and
  • collectively develop an artifact that represents our findings.

The outputs of this DRG are flexible and will be based on student interests. Potential outputs could include an annotated bibliography, visual mapping of the histories of these technologies, design fictions, a manifesto, and/or a study plan for an interview study or Asynchronous Remote Community (ARC) study.

By the end of the quarter, we will be able to:

  • articulate ways that current algorithmic hiring systems depart from and continue earlier technologies of hiring and psychometrics,
  • provide insights into how marketing materials and documentation about algorithmic hiring systems shape and are shaped by discourses about algorithmic bias, and
  • articulate strategies for locating sources for historical research.

Who we are looking for

  • 3-5 undergraduate or graduate students (folks outside of HCDE are welcome, as we hope to get a wide range of perspectives)
  • Interest in the topic matter; however, no technical expertise or skills are required
  • Interest in the possibility of future collaboration is not required but is encouraged

If you have any questions, you may email Caitie Lustig at celustig@uw.edu.


Spring 2023

Understanding the Black User Experience with using AI-Supported Text Technology

Led by: Jeffrey Basoah, PhD Student
Faculty Sponsors: Daniela Rosner, Katharina Reinecke

Overview:

This DRG is seeking 5-6 dedicated and enthusiastic students in supporting this proposed study. Students from all levels, undergrad to Ph.D., are invited to apply and participate in this project. In this study we will be investigating what aspects of digital technology Blacks users find takes into account their lived experiences and possibly highlight pitfalls of how current digital tech is designed that should be addressed. This study is concerned with the cultural assumptions embedded within the design of AI-supported text technology (such as chatGPT and autocomplete as seen on Google search and Gmail) and the perceptions, expectations, and experiences of Black users with this technology. 

Research Question: Do Black users of AI-supported text technology see their lived experiences reflected in products that permeate their day to day lives?

Involvement:

Your participation with this study will entail conducting and assisting with participant interviews and focus groups, thematic coding analysis of audio transcripts, conducting and analyzing design fiction workshop artifacts alongside the graduate student project lead. This also includes obtaining consent and assisting with performing all study procedures. Participants will have had coursework in research methods, complete an orientation to human subjects protections given by the UW, and will receive training from graduate student project lead on obtaining consent and debriefing subjects. 

This will be a 3 credit DRG. We will meet no more than 3 hours virtually each week, and students will be expected to spend about 2-3 hours working outside of that time per week.

Impact & Affordances:

This project will provide researchers with data and stories provided by participants that shed light on their experiences while using AI-supported text technology and its incorporation, or lack thereof, of their lived experience. Findings from this study will potentially provide a framework on how to conduct an evaluation study of technology groups for marginalized communities to essentially course correct the tech field towards design practices that are more inclusive of the studied groups.

This DRG will provide you with a great opportunity to build upon empirical research skills. Be sure to reach out to Jeffrey Basoah (jeffkb28@uw.edu) with any questions.


Spring 2022

Child Care Access in Seattle: Mapping and Visualization 

Led by: Rebecca Michelson, PhD Candidate, HCDE 
With guidance from faculty advisors Professor Julie Kientz and Professor Daniela Rosner
Wednesdays, 3 - 4:40 p.m. on Zoom

Project Overview
This DRG is a hands-on opportunity to deliver on information and advocacy needs expressed by the Greater Seattle Child Care Business Coalition. The goal of the DRG is to co-create with GSCCB an interactive map that features childcare and daycare centers as well as providers in each neighborhood. Activities include: collecting and reviewing data, learning about mapping platforms, and iteratively developing a beta map with opportunities for feedback from the community partnership. Students will get the chance to learn from guest speakers on topics of data viz, mapping for social change, and childcare policy. 

The project is driven by a partnership with the Greater Seattle Child Care Business Coalition who serves as a learning and workforce development arm among childcare providers, policymakers, and regulatory agencies. (Read more about some of their recent work here).

We are looking for:

  • 4-6 undergraduate or graduate students
  • Folks with experience or strong interest in data visualization, mapping, and usability studies
  • Nice to have:
    • Passion or domain expertise for childcare or caregiving access
  • You do not have to be a method or subject expert to participate!

DRG Format:

  • Meeting once a week for 1.5 hours on Zoom, with 2 hours of asynchronous design research in between sessions: Wednesdays 3-4:30pm PST. *There may be some flexibility in this course timing, if this time absolutely does not work for you!
  • 1-2 credits
  • This DRG will be entirely remote via Zoom
  • Composition: we will have 1-2 project working groups, based on the number of students who apply

Students Participating in the DRG will:

  • Participate in co-design and planning of a resource to launch by the end of Spring quarter with a local community partner
  • Brainstorm and research best approaches to share information about childcare access in Seattle
  • Conduct user research activities for audiences of this prototype
  • Move from concepts to prototype in a short period of time
  • Engage with design research long-term with possibility for a Fall 2022 DRG

Spring 2021

Speculating Beyond Data Capitalism

DRG topic:

In this DRG, we will take a critical look at the labor of data workers and its relationship to wider systems of oppression. Data are essential for the creation and functioning of the software we use every day, but how are data produced, managed, and cleaned? Who does that labor and under what conditions?

We will read about and discuss topics such as data capitalism, data colonialism, the labor that goes into producing and managing data, the materiality of data and the work needed to maintain and repair its physical infrastructures, and designing for alternatives. These readings will be contextualized in case studies on different kinds of data labor, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk workers who train machine learning models and content moderators on social media platforms.

This DRG has three objectives: (1) to discuss these topics through the lenses of anti-capitalism, post-colonial theory, feminist technoscience, and critical data studies, (2) to write design fictions to speculate about alternative futures, and (3) to learn about other methods that we can use in our future work.

Format and output of the DRG:

This DRG is 2-3 credits.

Over the course of the quarter, we will discuss readings, and some weeks we will have researchers and/or activists join us as discussants. In the latter half of the quarter, we will write and workshop short design fictions as tools for thinking about how to design more equitable alternatives and provide critiques of existing systems.

At the end of the DRG, we will share out our design fictions, potentially as a contribution to a conference or journal, or as its own website.


Spring 2021

The Cost of Culture: Diverse and Multicultural Community Interaction with Financial Technology Applications

Led by: Jay Cunningham, PhD Student | Faculty Sponsors:  Julie Kientz, Daniela Rosner 

Overview:
This DRG is seeking 3-4  dedicated and enthusiastic students to join in supporting this proposed study. Students from all levels (BS - PhD) are invited to apply and participate in this project. The group will conduct applied research outlined by the study agenda to investigate the relational engagement among low-resourced ethnic minority and multicultural communities and their interaction with financial technology (fintech) applications. This study is concerned with the cultural and communal relativity embodied by financial technology, specifically with diverse underserved populations. 

Involvement:
Participation in assisting with this study will entail surveying, interviewing, collaborating and collecting oral and written histories with participant experts on experiences and circumstances that influence their use of fintech applications. This also includes obtaining consent and assisting with performing all study procedures. Participants will have had coursework in research methods, complete an orientation to human subjects protections given by the UW, and will receive training from graduate student project lead on obtaining consent and debriefing subjects.

Impact & Affordances:
This project will provide researchers with data and stories provided by participants that grant perspective into their choice of personal finance and banking technology services and the impacts of its use in their lives. Findings of this project will guide further research to triangulate the affordances of culturally relative/sensitive technical systems design and highlight consequences of biased financial technology and the impact on low-resourced ethnic minority and multicultural communities. 

Additional Background & Motivation:
This project serves as a preliminary analysis toward examining the role that big tech plays in the position of power, ethics, equity, and sociality in the design, development, and deployment of AI systems. With specific reference to financial technology firms (fin-tech), AI systems are based on statistical and probability models along with predictive analytics to forecast consumer performance. Extensive research has shown that bias in AI systems reflect historical patterns of discrimination and oppression long influenced by a dominant culture; which in the U.S defaults to white, heterosexual, middle-to-upper class men. Thus, when AI tools make decisions based on predominant consumers’ data, fin-tech must urgently consider the effects of low-resourced ethnic minority and multicultural communities and whether the decisions are transparent and explainable. Across the U.S.,these communities are less likely to possess adequate financial literacy, generational and community wealth, and access to financial resources and education. Though previous work in community cultural wealth has examined the relationship between people, equity, and finances, the role of computation in this process remains unclear. We contribute to this work by exploring how a study of fintech practices among diverse underserved populations may foster equity-centered sociotechnical change.


Spring 2021

Community, Capacity, and Collective Care in Practice

Led by Josephine Hoy and Professor Daniela Rosner

Living within the convergence of many ongoing and escalating crises, we need each other more than ever. 

This DRG proposes an experiment in technology-mediated collective care to support each other across geographic and temporal distance and in alignment with public health guidance. Over the course of Winter quarter, we will explore and engage in practices of collective care with the goal of providing for ourselves during this time of crisis and growing our community’s capacity to join with other groups in meaningful solidarity efforts for social justice. 

We will adopt and adapt technologies (of many types) in order to provide safe, supportive, and capacity-building care for each other. We will also explore auto-ethnographic methods and/or reflective exercises in order to articulate experiential learnings, contribute to an open research archive, and work to develop a toolkit that we can share with and beyond our HCDE community.

In addition to our practice and synthesis, we will read to engage with knowledge produced within feminist, disability justice, community organizing, and mutual aid traditions. Together, we will probe questions like:

What does care look like? Whose care/giving is valued? Whose care needs are viewed as burdensome? Who provides care? Who is likely to be denied care?
What tools and skills do we have readily available to help us meet each others’ emotional and survival needs remotely?
How might attending to care help us identify structural forces of oppression that are causing harm to people within our community?
How do our tools and skills allow us to provide support in a way that begins to dismantle oppressive structures and build alternatives?
What tactics can we use to come together across lines of difference?
How might we build our own capacity so that we can extend our care webs or create new ones beyond HCDE?
What struggles and frustrations do we encounter in this work and what can we learn from them?

This project is part of an ongoing research project organized by HCDE Ph.D. student Joey Hoy on the role of digital technology in supporting mutual aid.


Spring 2020

Exploring Liberation Tools for Re-enchantment

What has been gained and what has been lost in the process of disenchantment? What was before? What might we future or reimagine? These are some of the questions we will explore in this DRG. For this, we will reflect with the work of scholar Silvia Federici, dialoguing on topics such as industrial managerial control, enclosure of the commons and the role of the body in the reproduction of labor. In parallel, we will develop strategies and design liberation tools for re-enchantment. Our current technocapitalist age, while producing systems of alienation and exploitation, also provides a range of opportunities for attention, strategizing, attunement, interpretation and imagination — all of which we will explore in the course of the quarter.

Max Weber wrote at the turn of the 20th century that modernity is characterized by the “disenchantment of the world,” that is the progressive elimination of magical and mystical thought in favor of secularized, rational and scientific thinking. This disenchantment paired with the emergence of an industrialized society and a capitalist economy, pushing forward technological development but also exploitation of resources and the prominence of disembodied, scientific thinking over other ways of knowing the world.

There will be two components to this DRG: a theoretical portion, in the form of a weekly reading and dialogue, and a fabrication portion, which will culminate in a collective interactive piece. The dialogues around the readings will occur through individual and collective fabrication, and in thinking about, designing and prototyping liberation tools for re-enchantment.

Instructors: Burren Peil, lapeil@uw.edu, Gabrielle Benabdallah, gabben@uw.edu


Figure and Ground: Amplifying the Public Imagination of the Central Area

Spring 2019

This quarter-long directed research group aims to develop tools and projects that elevate the under-recognized stories, experiences, and histories of the historically Black Central Area. In the context of decades of disinvestment and current development-driven displacement, Central Area organizations, activists, and residents are engaged in a process of imagining ‘Africatown,’ a vision of the neighborhood as a place where a multiplicity of black life and cultural expression thrives. Drawing from a diversity of theoretical perspectives, including cultural geography, theories of black space, urban studies, and critical race studies, we use a hands-on, empirically-informed research and making practice to nourish a project of self-determination and imagination. Through design we elevate the legacies of innovation and community-building within the Central Area by inverting the valorized figures of contemporary urban development with the stories selectively rendered as (back)ground. Expected products include both concrete tools and interpretive reflections. 

Further Reading

+  Taylor, Quintard. The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle’s Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era. University of Washington Press, 2011.
+  Fullilove, M.T., 2001. Root shock: the consequences of African American dispossession. Journal of Urban Health, 78(1), pp.72-80.
+  Africatown Design Weekend
+  africatownseattle.com
+  Tran O'Leary, Jasper, et al. Who Gets to Future? Race, Representation, and Design Methods in Africatown. To appear in Proceedings of Conference on Human-Factors in Computing (CHI'19) 

Related Press

+  $82.5K grant will help Africatown continue Midtown Center art and activation project, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog 
+  Midtown: Public Square kicked back in review process as board says plan for community art not enough, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog 
+  Midtown design looks too much like SoLU, not enough like the CD — Can new Central Area Design Review Board help?, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog 
+  In Seattle’s Central District, residents, artists imagine a 'parallel universe,' Seattle Times

Required Availability

+  Register for 2 to 3 credits for spring quarter. Indicate availability for additional quarters (not required).
+  Meet for 1-2 hours each week.
+  Work 4 to 6 hours each week outside of meetings.

How to Apply

We seek an engaged, interdisciplinary group of scholars, activists, and makers. Note: enrollment in this DRG is at capacity for Spring 2019.


The internet of evocative objects: a deployment of public IoTs

Spring 2019

This DRG will examine how Internet of Things (IoT) devices installed within public settings might contribute to the coordinated work of resource distribution and broad public hygiene infrastructure. We will test, deploy, and trace interactions with a set of networked devices built to support the circulation of menstrual resources (e.g., pads and tampons) within public restrooms at the Seattle Public Library. In doing so, we seek to understand how maintenance staff and patrons care for or access public health resources through public IoT. In addition to collecting numerical data through the IoT devices (e.g. product levels), we will draw on qualitative research methods of participant observation and ethnographic interviewing to further understand how maintenance staff and members of the public relate to and interpret IoT installations. To circulate this research to the broader public, participants of this DRG will develop a website to document and share the IoT designs for download, as well as short accounts of qualitative research findings.

We welcome applicants with interests in qualitative research and/or strong backgrounds in physical computing. Participants will be expected to commit 6 hours per week, enrolling in two units of credit.

The group will be comprised of 3-5 DRG participants, and co-led by PhD students Brian Kinnee and Rafael Silva, UCSD Postdoctoral Fellow Sarah Fox, and faculty member Daniela Rosner.  


Designing interactive critical design artifacts to celebrate the women of Atari

Winter 2019

Co-directed by Pernille Bjørn and Daniela Rosner

This project uses a collaborative design process to build an interactive installation (e.g., museum exhibit, conference exposé, and/or Maker Faire display) that showcases the hidden stories of women in computer gaming. In particular, we focus on the women of color who made crucial engineering contributions to Atari, an early computer gaming company. According to media historian Nathan Esmenger, women made up roughly 30% of computer programmers well into the 1970s, half as many as today. The 1980s represent a crucial period of change for women's participation in computing. Across the decade, images of the weird, brilliant male computer hacker took increasing hold of the popular imagination, appearing in the storylines for major movies and the headlines of popular news account. 

Focusing on 1980s Atari developments, our interactive installation will utilize "makerspace" methodologies (e.g., IoT development, tangible interaction, and gaming) to draw people into stories of Atari women. We will explore and challenge industry notions of who is or should become a programmer, engineer, and designer by revisiting the accounts of women whose labor remained hidden within the Atari products and their marketing. In doing so, we call on members of the contemporary game-development and wider IT industry to help rewrite engineering histories to highlight key computational know-how contributed by groups underrepresented within computing fields today. We hope to end the quarter with a proposal for a ComicCon 2019 panel in Seattle in order to present and demonstrate the interactive installation.

Required Availability

+  Register for 2 to 3 credits for spring quarter. Indicate availability for additional quarters (not required).
+  Meet for 1-2 hours each week.
+  Work 4 to 6 hours each week outside of meetings.

Required Experience

Participants in this DRG must have at least one of the following skills and experiences:
+  Outreach coordination: Experience interviewing and using qualitative research methods such as fieldwork observation
+  Visual and interaction design: Experience with design and branding, Adobe Illustrator or the like, web development
+  Maker mindset: Familiar with the UW CoMotion makerspace and digital prototyping tools 


Troubled worlds: rethinking computing in the age of climate change 

Autumn 2018

Co-directed by Daniela Rosner and Megan Finn (iSchool)

This yearlong, weekly, reading and research group seeks to understand the role of computing tools and infrastructures in climate change along three central axes. First, we consider environmental histories of the internet and the impact of the development of information technologies on the environment. Second, we examine the environmental cost of computing within late capitalist economies with a particular focus on eWaste and air pollution. In particular, we ask: where does the material substrate of computing systems (e.g., handheld devices, the internet) come from and go to? In addressing this question, we also necessarily consider how the environmental impact of computing is distributed across local and global scales. Third, we evaluate policy and governance frameworks and radical interventions to mitigate computing’s impact on climate. To help us examine different approaches, we plan to draw on campus experts in climate change. 

Brief Schedule

Fall quarter will be devoted to reading broadly and understanding existing ongoing work in this area.
Winter quarter will be dedicated to digging deeper into topics of interest to research group members and formulating research projects.
Spring quarter will focus on executing the research projects.  

Required Experience

We've aimed the group's content at doctoral level students, but we are happy to consider applications from undergraduate and masters students who have taken research methods classes and/or feel comfortable reading peer-reviewed academic research.


Designing a Radical Module for Engineering Education

Spring 2018

Co-directed by Nadya Peek and Daniela Rosner

This project uses a collaborative design workshop to introduce students to absent histories of engineering. We will develop a toolkit for middle and high school classrooms that introduces the story of early 1960s core memory weavers.

The Making Core Memory project is a design inquiry into the invisible work that went into assembling core memory, an early form of computer information storage initially woven by hand. Throughout the first two decades of the Cold War, magnetic-core memory was the principal mechanism with which computers stored and retrieved information. The computers for the Apollo mission stored information in core memory ropes—threaded wires, passed through or around magnetized metal rings. NASA engineers nicknamed this hardware “LOL memory” for the “little old ladies” who carefully wove wires around the electro-magnetic ferrite cores by hand. 

The kits we will develop comprise a simple metal matrix, beads and conductive threads (in place of ferrite core and wire) and simulate the collaborative weaving of one of the world's first portable computers. By introducing students to the kits and the story of the core memory weavers, a group we believe comprised many women of color, we help rewrite engineering histories to highlight key computational know-how contributed by groups underrepresented within engineering fields today. 

Required Availability

Register for 2 to 3 credits for spring quarter. Indicate availability for additional quarters (not required).
Meet for 2 hours each week.
Work 4 to 6 hours each week outside of meetings.

Required Experience

Participants in this DRG must have at least one of the following skills and experiences:

  • Outreach coordination
  • Experience interviewing and using qualitative research methods such as fieldwork observation
  • Visual and interaction design
  • Experience with design and branding, Adobe Illustrator or the like, web development
  • Maker mindset
  • Familiar with the UW CoMotion makerspace and digital prototyping tools 

 


Reimagining Design through a Disability Studies Lens

Spring 2018

From Inclusive Design to Ability-Based Design, industry professionals and academics alike have published design strategies to orient technology designers and researchers to the unique and underrepresented needs of people with disabilities. In this Directed Research Group, we will closely read some of these strategies in parallel with disability studies scholarship. we will engage in activities to understand, critique, and find opportunities for the disciplines of design and disability studies to inform each other. As our thinking evolves, we will synthesize a series of activities with which we can take to communities of designers, people with disabilities, and disabled designers to expand possibilities for this intersection in the field. In other words, our activities will seek to engage community members to answer questions like the following. How can disability studies augment current design and research practice? And, how can design be available to disabled people in the community who have interests including being makers or using design for activism?

Required Availability

Register for 2 to 3 credits for spring quarter. Indicate availability for additional quarters (not required).
Meet for 2 hours each week.
Work 4 to 6 hours each week outside of meetings.

Required Experience

Participants in this DRG must have a combination of the following skills and experiences.

Design: Working knowledge of HCD design and research methods. This could include a combination of experience building paper, software, and hardware prototypes, and using qualitative research methods like interviewing and field observations.
Disability Studies coursework and/or knowledge of disability. Instructions for how to share this experience below.
Facilitation: experience planning and executing workshop-like events with groups of up to 20 people.

How to Apply

Space is extremely limited. Please email organizer Cynthia Bennett at bennec3@uw.edu with the following information indicating eligibility. We will request an interview with qualified applicants. In your introductory email, please include the following:

Confirmation that you meet the availability requirements.
A few paragraphs describing your experience relevant to the required experiences outlined above.
A summary of your knowledge around disability. Some guiding questions might include: What is your understanding of the meaning of disability? What do you know about disability-related activism and disability studies scholarship? How do you perceive the relationship between disability and technology?
Attached resume and/or link to your web presence.


Building a Tiny Home: Exploring Design with Living Materials

Autumn 2017

Led by PhD student Kristin Dew and Assistant Professor Daniela Rosner

From robot swarms to self-healing screens, technology designers have begun to incorporate materials that grow, learn, change, and regenerate. As researchers and designers exploring living materials, we bump up against a need for tools, procedures, and pedagogies for working with them, particularly given a context of diminishing natural resources. In this year-long series of 3 DRGs, we will explore the intersections of DIY, craft, and living materials in the domestic environment through a series of design and fabrication projects with a tiny house located on campus. Students will learn how to work with living, changing materials like wood; explore their properties and fabrication processes through a series of projects blending wood and computational materials; and collaborate as co-researchers and co-participants in developing an understanding of the relationships between living material, making, and meaning.

In the first DRG starting this autumn, students will collaborate with PhD student Kristin Dew to finish enclosing a tiny house using a variety of tools to work with wood, developing an embodied understanding of the primary material driving this inquiry. Each meeting will comprise building time and documented discussion of our experiences working with wood within the frame of our research questions: How might living forms such as wood extend digital craft materials? And how might we better understand living materials and natural forces as non-human design collaborators? We will use these discussions to inform the winter quarter’s DRG activities, which will include blending wood and computational materials in a design project. In the spring DRG, the design artifact will be incorporated into a workshop and/or design probe activity.

No woodworking experience is required, and we seek a mix of students with diverse interests and skills in:

architecture and urban plannig
design materials
design theory
human-building interaction
multispecies interaction
biodesign
physical computing

If you’re not sure where your interests and skills might fit in, please feel free to email Kristin at kndew@uw.edu to chat about it first.

A few considerations before applying:

Priority will go to students who intend to fully participate in all meetings, all three quarters. Scheduling for winter and spring will be determined by participating students.
The 2-hour weekly studio/meeting will tentatively be held on Tuesdays from 3-5pm at Gould Hall’s fabrication yard. Please be prepared to spend a significant amount of time outdoors - rain or shine!


Understanding Kids’ Mealtime Experiences: Toward Playful Mealtime Technology Design

Autumn 2017

Led by PhD student Ying-Yu Chen

We are looking for up to three students to participate in a study on understanding how kids age 2-6 eat with their caregivers. In this group, we will interview parents and/or kids’ caregivers to understand how kids eat, how they notice and analyze qualitative data, and how they come up with questions and insights that inform the design of a mobile application. The result of this DRG will be observations and understandings of eating habits among young children that we will use to inform design sketches and prototypes. In future work, we will use our insights and design sketches to organize workshops for kids, build a creative mobile application, and deploy the mobile application with families.

We are looking for students who have 1) experience conducting user interviews; 2) the ability to learn and do qualitative coding and data analysis; 3) the ability or willingness to do design sketches.


Design Workshop Planning for Menstrual Hygiene Technology Development

Spring 2017

Over the last decade, a range of activists, designers and entrepreneurs have identified menstrual hygiene technology as a mechanism for broad social and political change. This quarter-long research group will focus on planning for two participatory design workshops on this topic of menstrual hygiene technologies and public distribution of hygiene products. The first workshop is planned for June in Atlanta, GA and the second workshop is planned for July in Seattle with folks from grassroots organizations, city maintenance workers, designers and others. During the summer quarter, we will run a followup DRG to prototype some of the most exciting ideas generated in the workshops. 

To apply, please send your CV and a brief statement of objectives to sefox@uw.edu. We are specifically seeking students with an interest in participatory research methods and experience actively participating in or helping facilitate workshops or community meetings. Proficiency in visual design or logistics and event planning is a plus. We expect students to register for 2 credits of HCDE 496/596.


Margaret Hamilton and the Core Memory Weavers: The Women Who Put Man on the Moon

Spring 2017

Throughout the first two decades of the Cold War, magnetic-core memory was the principal mechanism with which computers stored and retrieved information. The computers for the Apollo mission stored information in core memory ropes—threaded wires, passed through or around magnetized metal rings. NASA engineers nicknamed this hardware “LOL memory” for the “little old ladies” who carefully wove wires around the electro-magnetic ferrite cores by hand. The code, written by the trailblazing Margaret Hamilton, was made material by a team of master seamstresses outside of Boston.

In this DRG, we use this moment in engineering history to examine craftwork’s intellectual contribution to innovation — how craftwork becomes hardware manufacturing, and how hardware manufacturing becomes craftwork. Drawing on traditions of speculative, material and participatory investigation (Dunne and Raby 2013, Kerridge 2015, Knutz et al 2014, Galloway 2015, Haraway 2013), we do this in an interventionist project of integrative inquiry (Rosner forthcoming). Hosting a set of workshops in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area, we develop a collaborative quilt made up of core memory “patches” that materializes the work of Hamilton and the core memory weavers. Participants receive a “patch kit” comprising a simple metal matrix, beads and conductive threads (in place of ferrite core and wire). Attached to each matrix is a module that acts as a potentiometer, monitoring the conductivity of the matrix threads in order to keep track of the woven design. Once connected to power, the module sends a snapshot of the matrix to a central microcontroller driving an LED display. By weaving their own patches and collectively hanging them onto a charging panel, participants contribute a “bit” of memory that begins to fill out larger digital display with their design. Each patch simulates the collaborative weaving of both read-only memory (ROM) and random access memory (RAM).

With this project we explore the contributions of embodied, gendered forms of knowledge that allow innovators to imagine new ways of making. We use craft as a line of inquiry, with its intersections of theory and practice, activism and understanding, and intervention and insight. Our intention is to not only bring the work of women back into histories of innovation, but also use these processional histories to imagine our relationships to technology afresh — how we might live and be alongside technological developments complete with their ongoing knots and troubles (Haraway 2016).

To apply, please send your CV and a brief statement of objectives to dkrosner@uw.edu. We are specifically seeking students with physical computing or facilitation experience. Proficiency in event planning and archival research is a plus. We expect students to register for 2 credits of HCDE 496/596.


Design Studies Reading Group

Offered with PhD student Sarah Fox

This reading group offers a means for graduate students from across the university to come together to explore key topics, debates, and theoretical perspectives in the field of Design Studies. Particularly of interest will be readings concerned with how design may preference the interests of certain groups over others and affect our ability to act.

Each week, we will meet for two hours to reflect on a book selection or 2-3 articles of interest. Those interested in pursuing design research, curation, and/or criticism are welcome.


Feminist Theory & Critical Disability Studies Reading Group

Daniela Rosner, Sarah Fox, Cynthia Bennett

This quarter-long reading group/DRG will examine and discuss readings that cover key and emerging themes in contemporary feminist theory and critical disability studies, alternating topics each week. We will grapple with gender and disability in their complex intersections with other systems of power, privilege, and access, including: class, sexuality, race, ability, and nationality. Rather than attempting to define a single conception of feminism or disability, we will instead consider various approaches taken up by past and contemporary feminist and disability studies theorists and activists. 

If this sounds of interest to you and you would like to participate, please reach out to Sarah Fox (sefox@uw.edu) or Cindy Bennett (bennec3@uw.edu). Sarah and Cindy are also happy to answer any questions you might have. 


Materiality Reading Group

This quarter-long reading group/DRG will will examine and discuss papers on the topic of materiality from the fields of science and technology studies (STS), archaeology, and new media studies and will be guided by broad questions about the role of objects in our lives and practices. Our specific interests is to think of the agency and aliveness of things in the context of restoration, repair, and maintenance practices. The group is set in collaboration with Prof. Daniela Rosner (HCDE) and will meet Wednesdays beginning week 2 from 4:00-5:30pm in Sieg Hall 420. Participating students will have the opportunity to sign up for 2 credits and will be asked to help lead weekly discussions.
 


Exploring the Feminist Internet of Things

While millions of people use sanitary pads and napkins, few public restrooms provide access to menstrual hygiene products, and even fewer provide them for free. As the average price per unit of tampons in the United States grows past $5.61, its availability to people with limited socioeconomic resources continues to decline. To address this concern, our team will explore the distribution of menstrual hygiene projects in public sites throughout Seattle. Through interviews and observations at places like parks and community centers, we will learn about the maintenance and usage practices that are currently in place. In tandem with and in response to this observational work, we will be making modifications to existing menstrual hygiene dispensers—namely, outfitting them with lightweight sensors so that the product levels might be better and more easily stocked. 

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to Daniela Rosner (dkrosner@uw.edu) and Sarah Fox (sefox@uw.edu) with a copy of your resume/CV and a short statement expressing your qualifications and interests in the group. A background in qualitative research methods (interviews, observation, probes) and/or hardware prototyping is needed. 


Mapping Critical Design

What is critical design? What does it mean to use design to ask critical questions, enable new forms of civic participation, or respond to social change? What are the criteria by which we call something critical in the context of design projects and design programs? This DRG aims to help researchers interested in mapping the field of critical design. To do this, we will examine the current literature on critical design across human-computer interaction, science and technology studies, anthropology and media studies. We will also connect our work with with the physical computing projects in Davidson and Rosner's DDG this spring and invite practitioners and academics working in this area to participate in our conversations. Please contact Professor Rosner at dkrosner@uw.edu for registration information.

Movement through Public Life
 
Our team will explore light as means of catalyzing new forms of creative engagement in underutilized public spaces such as dark stairwells or pathways. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to Daniela Rosner (dkrosner@uw.edu) with a copy of your resume/CV and a short statement expressing your qualifications and interests in the group. A background in qualitative research methods (interviews, observation, probes) and/or design sketching is needed. 

Socio-cultural Aspects of Maker and Hacker Cultures, Part 2 (Winter 2014)
 
Description: The rise of public sites for customizing and configuring one's own environment (makerspaces, hackerspaces) is changing how we see products and technologies in our world. This research will continue our work from last quarter tackling socio-cultural issues of self, thing, and environment and their relationship to design and technology development in light of these changes. We'll also question patterns of consumption and production in a world that increasingly accommodates mass customization. Theoretical framings and hands on activities will help organize our examination of these issues. Additional fieldwork, community engagement, and design interventions will be part of our study and will help us articulate the socio-cultural-technical-political stakes of this project.
Required to sign up for 2 credits. 
Group will meet Thursdays 4:30pm-5:30pm in room 429 (TAT Lab)

Socio-cultural Aspects of Maker and Hacker Cultures (Fall 2013)

The rise of public sites for customizing and configuring one's own environment (makerspaces, hackerspaces) is changing how we see products and technologies in our world. This group will tackle socio-cultural issues of self, thing, and environment and their relationship to design and technology development in light of these changes. We'll also question patterns of consumption and production in a world that increasingly accommodates mass customization. Theoretical framings and hands on activities will help organize our examination of these issues. Perspectives include readings from Suchman, (Judith) Butler, Haraway, and recent STS scholars. Additional fieldwork and community engagement will be part of our study and will help us articulate the socio-cultural-technical-political stakes of this project. Required to sign up for 2 credits. Group will meet Wednesdays 4pm-5:30pm in room 429 (TAT Lab). To request a seat in this group, please email both Beth Kolko (bkolko@uw.edu) and Daniela Rosner (dkrosner@uw.edu).

 
Reimagining Design Tools: Research through Design
The work of design pervades and profoundly shapes our everyday lives. Over the last few years, new tools for personal fabrication and collective design - from graphic communication to architecture - have enabled new forms of creative practice. This DRG will focus on building tools that help us better understand these changes. Through ideation, hands-on prototyping and implementation, we'll pose several questions related to the functional (what can be built and how?) and the symbolic (what ideas and actions can these tools help legitimate, challenge or make possible?).
Desired skills: hardware prototyping (e.g. Arduino, vibration and dynamics, microphones and acoustic actuators), software programming (Arduino, Java), mobile application prototyping (e.g. iOS). 
If interested in participating, please email your qualifications to Professor Daniela Rosner at dkrosner@uw.edu.

Design as Inquiry
This group will explore the design of novel interactive systems not for the sake of technology development but as a means of understanding social phenomena, from how artists use new technologies to create value and insight to how people engage public space to shape new modes of citizenship. 
We’ll need people with diverse skill sets:
  • Design: UX, IxD, UI
  • Software: Arduino, web, mobile
  • Electronics: digital & analog circuits
  • Mechanics: vibration and dynamics, microphones and acoustic actuators
For Winter 2015, we will focus on an exploration of three projects:
  • Research Study of Movement through Public Life: extend development of Trace, a GPS-based application that explores the potential of guided wandering, rather than directed navigation, as creative, public, and potentially political communication. A background in GIS and/or an interest in radical cartography and critical geography is a plus. 
  • Sound and Visual Fabrication: continue research investigating the design of an interface for carving sound waves into physical material.
  • Repair Research Study: use design interventions to examine mechanisms for enabling socially engaging repair practices (e.g., mends on tattered clothing).
  • If you are interested in participating, please send an email to Daniela Rosner (dkrosner@uw.edu) with a copy of your resume/CV and a short statement expressing your qualifications and interests in the group. Preference given to students willing to commit to 3 credit hours.

FizzLab: A Directed Design Group
 
This group will explore physical computing as a platform for integrating tools used in and around making. Phys­i­cal com­put­ing is the blend­ing of hard­ware and soft­ware engi­neer­ing—using micro-controllers, pro­gram­ming, sen­sors, elec­tronic devices, wearable technology, etc—to build inter­ac­tive sys­tems and envi­ron­ments. The focus of this research group is to make real-world projects and tools by design­ing, pro­to­typ­ing, and engi­neer­ing phys­i­cal com­put­ing systems.
 
The group should be thought of as a Directed Design Group, rather than research-oriented. We will make things the way a small design con­sul­tancy oper­ates—in a cre­ative, prag­matic, nim­ble, and col­lab­o­ra­tive team.
 
Each quar­ter a project team will tackle a new design chal­lenge. Some chal­lenges may span mul­ti­ple quar­ters. We’ll need peo­ple with diverse skill sets:
  • Design: UX, IxD, UI
  • Software: Arduino, web, mobile
  • Electronics: digital & analog circuits
  • Mechanics: vibration and dynamics, microphones and acoustic actuators
For Autumn 2014, we will focus on an exploration of three technology projects for making, using Arduino micro-controllers with printed circuits. Three projects currently underway are:
  • Trace: a GPS-based application that explores the potential of guided wandering rather than directed navigation as creative communication.
  • Scratch-Hear: an augmented milling-tool for creating sound annotations in physical material playable by scratching surfaces.
  • Sow-What: a printer for designing socially engaging mends on tattered clothing.
Other making projects are possible, depending on the interests and ideas of the FizzLab participants.
If you are interested in participating, please send an email to Daniela Rosner (dkrosner@uw.edu) and/or Andrew Davidson (adavid7@uw.edu) with a copy of your resume/CV and a short statement expressing your qualifications and interests in the group. Preference given to students willing to commit to 3 credit hours.