Paper published in TOCHI Special Issue ‘Re-imagining Participatory Design’

The paper ‘Participatory Design and Participatory Research: An HCI case study with Young Forced Migrants’ (Authors: Ana Maria Bustamante Duarte, Nina Brendel, Auriol Degbelo, Christian Kray) has been published in the special issue in ‘Re-imagining Participatory Design’ from the ACM Transactions in Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI) volume 25 issue 3.

Abstract: Participatory design (PD) in HCI has been successfully applied to vulnerable groups, but further research is still needed on forced migrants. We report on a month-long case study with a group of about 25 youngforced migrants (YFMs), where we applied and adapted strategies from PD and participatory research (PR). We gained insights into the benefits and drawbacks of combining PD and PR concepts in this particular scenario. The PD+PR approach supported intercultural collaborations between YFMs and young members of the host community. It also enabled communication across language barriers by using visual and “didactic reduction” resources. On a theoretical level, the experiences we gained allowed us to reflect on the role of “safe spaces” for participation and the need for further discussing it in PD. Our results can benefit researchers who take part in technology-related participatory processes with YFMs.

GEO-C and Participation: Workshops on ‘Design Thinking’ with young refugees in Münster

Four participatory workshops in ‘Design Thinking’ were conducted by the Geo-C team at WWU with over 18 young refugees and asylum seekers in Münster. Each of the sessions was half-day long, and they were done as extracurricular activities from the school. The workshops were held at the Institute for Geoinformatics from mid-October to mid-November, 2017. These workshops aimed to assess a set of participatory methodologies draw from a combination of elements from participatory design, participatory (action) research, and didactics to provide ‘safe spaces’ for learning and co-creation of technologies for them with young refugees and asylum seekers.

During these workshops, we also aimed to understand the awareness of young refugees and asylum seekers regarding the management of their personal and location data when they use digital services. Several exploratory methods were used for this, as well as for introducing, after the ‘exploratory’ assessment, the concept of personal and location data privacy to them. The goal of this exercise was to evaluate if such strategy modified somehow the way they ideate and design digital services to support them in their (re)settlement in Münster.

At the end of the workshops, attendance certificates for participating in the workshops in ‘Design Thinking’ were provided to the young refugees and asylum seekers who participated. All of these activities were done with the collaboration of the school staff, mainly from the school administration and teachers.

GEO-C and Participation: Workshops with young refugees in Münster

From mid-September to mid-October, 2016, the Geo-C team at WWU in Münster, Germany conducted several participatory workshops and activities with over 50 students, ages 15-18, from the International and IT classes* at school in the city.
The overall goal of these activities was to generate participatory spaces in which it was possible to identify the challenges and needs of the group of young refugees and asylum seekers, as well as a potential ICT mobile tool to guide them when using open geospatial data to address their information needs during the initial stages of their resettlement in Münster. In total, we held five workshops, one field work, and one extra hands-on session at the school. All of these activities were done with the collaboration of the school staff, particularly from the school administration  and the IT teacher and coordinator.
Some of the preliminary results were:
A) Initially identified needs of the young refugees and asylum seekers related to 1) learning the local language upon arrival, 2) the urge for establishing social contact with people from the local community, and 3) the relevancy of ICT apps which are more ‘user friendly’.
B) A set of places of importance for the young refugees and asylum seekers in the city.
C) More than 13 mock-ups done by young refugees related to a potential geospatial application which supported them upon arrival.
*This classification of the classes is the official designation from the school. The international class is constituted by students at the school who are recognized as refugees and asylum seekers.

Opening Smart cities: challenges to engage citizens through information systems – ECIS workshop

To organize a scientific event in the form of a workshop as part of the 25th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS). ESR 01,03,04,05,06,13 and 15 gathered in Guimaraes – Portugal to discuss the topic of “Opening Smart cities: challenges to engage citizens through information systems.”

The workshop aimed to allow space for the participants and organizers to reflect on current smart cities practices and their challenges, and possible ways to address them. It was particularly emphasized by the call that the participants considered and proposed over the importance of effective citizen engagement strategies and platforms within the smart cities’ context.

Different activities took place during the workshop: presentation session and brainstorming session. The presentations covered a broad range of topics (citizen engagement, privacy from the smart city’s point of view, participatory budget and transformation of smart and sustainable cities). After the presentations, an interactive session was built on the group discussion and brainstorming. The topics included “IoT & Privacy in smart cities,” “Openness in smart cities: challenges and impact” and “Sense of place to promote participation in smart cities.” Participants were divided into two groups, and finally, they all agreed on common issues concerning the participation of citizens in city contexts such as isolation, exclusion and lack of participation.

More information on the workshop can be found here:

Pictures of the workshop:


Geo-C at UXMS meetup

On March 29, 2017, it was held at ConTerra the first UX meetup (UXMS) in Münster (Germany). Two of the GEO-C team members from the University of Münster were part of the day with the talk called “UX for all: the case of complex geospatial information.” We discussed how to generate visualizations of geospatial information, as well as interactions with it through more inclusive and participatory approaches. As part of this, we introduced to the audience the overall goal of the GEO-C project and one of its research lines related to the adaptation of open geospatial data visualizations and interactions to support forced displaced population when arriving at an unfamiliar city for their resettlement process.


CfP Workshop @ ECIS2017: Opening Smart Cities: Challenges to engage citizens through information systems

We, some of the ESRs from the “GEO-C – Geoinformatics: Enabling Open Cities” project, would like to invite you to our half-day pre-conference workshop part of the 25th Annual European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2017). This workshop entitled “Opening Smart Cities: Challenges to engage citizens through information systems” aims to explore and discuss the potential of information systems to engage citizens in the development of smart cities through e-participation technologies.

The session will take place on June 6, 2017, in conjunction with the ECIS 2017 in Guimarães, Portugal. The deadlines for short papers (max. 2000 words) submissions are on April 3, 2017 and we encourage you to submit your paper as a .pdf to us, along with the authors’ names and contact details to The main topics we will address will be:

  • E-participation in smart cities
  • Citizen engagement platforms in smart cities
  • Open data and governance towards open and inclusive cities
  • Participatory and critical design in urban decision-making processes
  • New kinds of interaction between citizens and other stakeholders in open cities
  • Different performance of citizens on using ICT for e-participation: gender, age, education, etc
  • Reflections for e-participation: Best practices, failures & practical challenges.

We are looking forward to your submission!
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