Slow Technology: Critical Reflection and Future Directions

Interactive technologies are being designed, produced, used, re-purposed, discarded and destroyed more rapidly than ever before. With these shifts, new concerns have steadily emerged across the design and HCI communities over how the growing presence of interactive technologies in people’s everyday lives—and the values embedded in their design—might shape people’s current experiences and practices as well as the lives of future generations.

In their seminal article on Slow Technology, Hallnäs and Redström (2001) argue that the increasing availability of technology in environments outside of the workplace requires interaction design practice to be expanded from creating tools to make people’s lives more efficient to “creating technology that surrounds us and therefore is part of our activities for long periods of time” ( p. 161). These authors outline a design agenda aimed at inverting values of efficient performance and emphasizing creating technologies that support moments of reflection, mental rest, slowness and solitude. Over a decade later, these issues remain areas of inquiry in the HCI and design communities, and there has recently been a resurgence of work in this area (e.g., Fullteron 2010, Leshed & Sengers 2011, Sengers et al. 2005; Sengers 2011). In parallel, there exist a wide range of ongoing work exploring: how the HCI research and practice might be expanded to consider multiple lifespans–and the need for new methods to embrace the complexity in designing over long time frames (e.g., Friedman & Nathan 2010), as well as  how the consumption (and disposal) of technologies might be slowed by prolonging longevity-of-use (and re-use) across people and communities (e.g., Odom, Pierce, Stolterman, Blevis 2009; Pierce & Paulos 2011; Rosner & Taylor 2011; Thackara 2005; Verbeek & Kockelkoren 1998 ).

Collectively, the works described above (and many more) illustrate the contemporary re-emergence of research related to Slow Technology. The core goal of this workshop is to critically reflect on the work that has emerged since Slow Technology was originally proposed, in order to forge understanding of the challenges, limitations and opportunities characterizing the contemporary design space.

We invite participants to submit a short written position paper as well as a depiction of an artifact perceived to be constitutive of Slow Technology. The written portion consists of a short 1-2 page submission formatted using the ACM DIS 2012 template that responds to the statement “Slow Technology is…” This introductory statement is intended to provoke the author(s) to take a specific position on the Slow Technology agenda and offer their conceptualization of what Slow Technology is. This workshop paper could (but is not required to) use the author(s) own philosophical, theoretical, empirical, or design/craft-based work to support their position.

Please see our Call For Papers page for more details.

An intended outcome is to establish connections and partnerships among researchers and designers working in the Slow Technology design space. This workshop website with help  continue to facilitate these relationships after the workshop’s conclusion.

Important Dates

  • March 20, 2012: submissions due
  • April 16, 2012: participants notified
  • June 12, 2012: Workshop held in Newcastle, UK

Please see our Outcomes page for more details.

We hope you’ll consider submitting something!

Download our DIS 2012 Workshop Proposal



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