Tuesday April 4 2023, Minna had her 50% seminar. It was a full day, with a lovely presentation by her discussant Jonas Löwgren in the morning - titled “A Really Difficult Topic for a Seminar”, and then Minna’s seminar in the afternoon.
Tuesday April 4 2023, Minna had her 50% seminar. It was a full day, with a lovely presentation by her discussant Jonas Löwgren in the morning - titled “A Really Difficult Topic for a Seminar”, and then Minna’s seminar in the afternoon. The seminar was had a large attendance, both in the room and online, apparently counterfactual scenarios and a bleak future still gathers a crowd.
Minnas presentation was great, the discussion interesting and Minna passed with grace! Congratulations Minna!
Rampant climate change is only one of our unfolding environmental crises. While initiatives exist at all levels for reducing humanity’s environmental impact, some scientists and intellectuals have started approaching the possibility that “sustainability won’t work out”. What, then, could or should the role of the HCI community be, in the short, medium and long term? An inherently future-oriented discipline, we are well familiar with speculative methods. However, if we were to spike our understanding of users, contexts, tasks, systems and design with the assumption that we are fast approaching the end of the world as we know it, how would that change where and how we choose to apply ourselves and our skills in the present? My research departs from this question and explores different methods for helping people engage with perspectives other than business as usual, combining methods from both design and futures studies. Specifically, I have engaged in a participatory action research project to co-design a method with two aims: 1. co-creating a scientifically informed method for local communities to engage in generative conversations about how to work toward low-carbon futures; and 2. investigating whether and how counterfactual scenarios might be used to help people break free from limiting ideas and beliefs in order to spur action. In addition to local communities, I have explored the latter aim in relation to air travel within the professional community of academics, and also plan to apply the method to an organisation and their sustainability goals. In the seminar, I will present results from my research to date and some possible directions for my remaining endeavours as a PhD student.