Room 8 (P5, Level 4)
Some people believe they can predict or forecast our futures, but in reality the future is unknown and always uncertain. Recent global events have shown us that unimaginable futures can rapidly emerge, changing how and where we can live and what we can experience. Research has also shown that in everyday life, people don’t do what they are expected to do with technology and technology solutions do not usually change people’s behaviour. What can we learn from this about technology design for our as yet unknown futures and what do we need to know to be able to make things for an uncertain world?
Sarah Pink will talk about how design ethnography can help us to understand and design in an uncertain world. If we don’t know what will happen next it is impossible for us to design solutions for an unknown future, instead design ethnography approaches this problem by calling for the opening up of possibilities, and making things that can beneficially accompany us, to be shaped with us as our future lives play out. It takes us to the invisible, normally hidden and unspoken elements of life that underpin almost everything we do, and focuses on what really matters to people in the present and in their imagined futures.
Sarah Pink is the Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre and Distinguished Professor of Design and Media Ethnography at RMIT University. She works with industry research partners including Samsung, Volvo Cars, Intel and Unilever and collaborates across design, engineering and arts and documentary practice. Her core research focuses on in emerging technologies and data in everyday life, wellbeing, and sustainability, and in making new methodologies for understanding and making change in the world.
Sarah’s latest books for include Future Anthropologies (2017) and Making Homes (2017) and Digital Ethnography (2016). She is a visiting professor at Halmstad University (Sweden), Loughborough University (UK) and Free University Berlin (Germany).