This one day workshop at the 5th Decennial Aarhus Conference on “Critical Alternatives” brings together junior and senior scholars in order to learn from each other how to navigate changing terrains of critical technology research and design.

The goal of the workshop is trace out trajectories of critical praxis as encountered by the workshop participants over the duration of their careers, to help articulate the conditions and stakes of the shifting sites of critical technical research and practice, and to help scholars just entering the field to navigate their own sites and encounters. We aim to foster cohesion and build mentoring relationships within the community by creating a space for open and honest dialogue about the challenges of conducting critical research and design practice. 

Since the publication of Phil Agre’s seminal work on critical technical practice, the sites of intersection between computation and society have multiplied, and so too have the sociotechnical borderlands we inhabit. Critical methodologies such as “critical design”, “reflective design”, “critical making”, “located accountability”, “feminist HCI”, “adversarial design,” “multisited design” and “postcolonial computing” have proliferated and are being taken up in increasingly diverse political, cultural and social contexts. As the sites of critical praxis have multiplied, new regimes like big data and social computing pose new challenges. Given the fluidity of the landscape it is important for us to articulate the specificities of our scholarly borderlands.

The workshop aims to maximize in-depth collaboration between junior and senior scholars, and will hence include in-depth mentoring sessions, panel presentations from junior and senior participants, group activities, and working sessions for steps forward. Outcomes from this workshop will be a shared knowledge base about praxis, tracing the trajectories, continuities, traversals and inheritances of critical sociotechnical research over the past decade, as well as strengthening of the critical technical practice community by way of establishing lasting mentorship relations.

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