Gender Factors and Feminist Values in Living Labs

  • Michael AhmadiEmail author
  • Anne Weibert
  • Victoria Wenzelmann
  • Tanja Ertl
  • Dave Randall
  • Peter Tolmie
  • Volker Wulf
  • Nicola Marsden
Part of the Techno:Phil – Aktuelle Herausforderungen der Technikphilosophie book series (TPAHT, volume 2)


In this paper, we describe the feminist perspectives that have informed design in the HCI community, and develop an argument for an approach that translates these broad commitments into a pragmatic design space, drawing on emancipatory agendas such as participatory design. As designers of technologies, we regard creating research infrastructures that offer safe spaces for the development of user-centered artifacts based on diverse and critical perspectives as not only a utopian vision, but as a practical contribution to a more equal society. Shaowen Bardzell stresses this point when she states that in envisioning utopias, we are “seeking not so much to predict the future, but rather to imagine a radically better one”. Recognizing that technology shapes social life and amplifies social practices both good and bad, research in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) increasingly focuses on how technology has been developed in the past, and how constructive futures may be envisaged. More and more, academics are inviting multidisciplinarity and embracing ethnographic methods as part of the design of networks and technical artifacts, realizing that innovation cannot be user-centered if designers employ a bird’s-eye perspective. This leads to an approach that advocates designing socially embedded technologies in real world environments. Thus, for some time now, collaboration and participatory design approaches have provided a means for enacting positive social and technological change. If we agree that “those who design technologies are […] designing society”, new questions arise in terms of responsibility for the future shape of the world: How do we design technologies to design a better society for people of all genders?



This work was partially funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), grant number 01FP1603, 01FP1604, and 01FP1605 (GEWINN) as well as the Leitmarktwettbewerb „CreateMedia“ with capital from the European Fond for regional development and the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, grant number EFRE-0800485 (Nett.Werkzeug). The responsibility for all content supplied lies with the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Ahmadi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anne Weibert
    • 1
  • Victoria Wenzelmann
    • 1
  • Tanja Ertl
    • 1
  • Dave Randall
    • 1
  • Peter Tolmie
    • 1
  • Volker Wulf
    • 1
  • Nicola Marsden
    • 2
  1. 1.SiegenGermany
  2. 2.HeilbronnGermany

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