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Design and Deploying Tools to ‘Actively Engaging Nature’

The My Naturewatch Project as an Agent for Engagement

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 11592)

Abstract

‘Shifting Baseline Syndrome’ is highly apparent in the context of generational shifts in work and life patterns that reduce interaction with and knowledge of the natural world, and therefore expectations of it. This is exacerbated by changes in the natural world itself due to climate change, biodiversity decline and a range of anthropogenic factors. Distributed and accessible technologies, and grass roots approaches provide fresh opportunities for interactions, which enable active engagement in ecological scenarios. The My NatureWatch project uses digital devices to collect visual content about UK wildlife, promoting ‘active engagements with nature’. The project embodies Inclusive Design in the Digital Age, as the activity; engages a wide demographic community, can be used by all, provided user led agency and produced methodological design lessons.

The article frames My Naturewatch as an agent for active designed engagements with nature. The research objective is to comprehend ‘how to design tools for positive nature engagement’ holding value for; (1) academic communities as validated methodologies (2) the public through access to enabling technologies, content and knowledge (3) industry in the form of new; experiences, engagements and commerce. The approach is specifically designed to yield insights from a multitude of engagements, through the deployment of accessible, low-cost products. Project reporting documents the benefits, pitfalls and opportunities in the aforementioned engagement uncovered through design-led approaches. Insights are gathered from public/community facing workshops, wildlife experts, ecologists, economists, educators and wildlife NGO’s. The engagement methodologies are compared highlighting which initiative yielded ‘Active Engagement with Nature’.

Keywords

  • User centred design
  • Nature
  • Engagement
  • DIY

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Fig. 1.
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(Image credit, James McCauley).

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Acknowledgements

Lewes Railway Land Trust, The Depot Cinema, The Sussex Wildlife Trust, Wakehurst Place, Schumacher College, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Holland Park Ecological Centre & The Design Museum, for hosting workshops. The participants both attendees and armchair photographers have been patient with updates and kind at sharing images. We thank the Goldsmiths, Interaction Research Studio for collaborating and the Royal College of Art, Design Products + Futures Programme. The project was made possible through EPSRC funding Grant EP/P006353/1.

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Phillips, R. et al. (2019). Design and Deploying Tools to ‘Actively Engaging Nature’. In: Zhou, J., Salvendy, G. (eds) Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population. Design for the Elderly and Technology Acceptance. HCII 2019. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 11592. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-22012-9_37

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