Experiencing participation : a phenomenological study of the transforming of a rooftop in Manchester, UK (2014-2016) and the methodological reframing of research through design

Taylor, Rebecca and Tarafdar, Monideepa and Southern, Jen (2018) Experiencing participation : a phenomenological study of the transforming of a rooftop in Manchester, UK (2014-2016) and the methodological reframing of research through design. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The intertwining of social interaction - digital and physical and private and public - is described by information systems research as ‘The Digital Workplace’ and by architects and urban planners as ‘The Public Mesh’. To exemplify these concepts, this thesis investigates how the the organisational context is changing. To navigate this organisational context, a Multi-Dimensional Ensemble (MDE) lens has been developed and constructed, through which the social life across social-technical/digital-spatial temporal dimensions may be explored. The primary case study is ‘The Rooftop Project’ (TRP). Responding to the lack of green and outdoor social space in Manchester’s City Centre, TRP is situated in the Northern Quarter and described in this thesis as a grassroots project that experimented with the transformation of a 300m2 rooftop. To better understand the principles and value of RtD, TRP posed the question; how does an open process of experiencing design and designing experience unfold and evolve? An in-depth literature survey of Research through Design (RtD) and systems thinking in Action Research (AR) and Information Systems (IS) unpacks the importance of framing inquiry through design (as experience and participation). In response to this, the designer researcher draws theoretical inspiration from a combination of sociological, curatorial, HCI, design and anthropological viewpoints. In order to gain greater insight into the value and efficacy of RtD, a methodical account of TRP in the form of A Porftolio of RtD is presented. In the first person, a phenomenological inquiry into RtD is undertaken in TRP from the perspective of a designer-activist-researcher. These first-person accounts convey the multiplicity, complexity, conflicts, resolutions and tensions experienced as a result of a combinatory methodological approach. Situtated in TRP, the designer researcher demonstrates how this RtD methodology activates ‘an unfolding awareness’. Positioned in this thesis as addressing the theoretical concerns of Organisational Studies (OS), AR in IS and RtD, the methodology is illustrated in the form of a spring. Contributions to theory and implications to practice are explicated, these illuminate RtD’s community of practice and how it can extend to OS, AR in IS, urban design, community engagement and architectural practice.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
?? research through designdesign activismaction researchsystems thinkinginformation systemsexperienceparticipationco-design ??
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22 Jan 2019 15:20
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:43