Imaginary design workbooks: constructive criticism and practical provocations

Mark Blythe, Enrique Encinas, Jofish Kaye, Miriam Lueck Avery, Rob McCabe, Kristina Andersen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
137 Downloads (Pure)


This paper reports design strategies for critical and experimental work that remains constructive. We describe a design workshop that explored the "home hub" space through "imaginary design workbooks". These feature ambiguous images and annotations written in an invented language to suggest a design space without specifying any particular idea. Many of the concepts and narratives which emerged from the workshop focused on extreme situations: some thoughtful, some dystopian, some even mythic. One of the workshop ideas was then developed with a senior social worker who works with young offenders. A "digital social worker" concept was explored and critiqued simultaneously. We draw on Foucault's history of surveillance to "defamiliarise" both the home hub technology and the current youth justice system. We argue that the dichotomy between "constructive" and "critical" design is false because design is never neutral.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2018 - Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationEngage with CHI
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages12
VolumeNew York
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5620-6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018
Event2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2018 - Montreal, Canada, Montreal, Canada
Duration: 21 Apr 201826 Apr 2018
Conference number: 36


Conference2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2018
Abbreviated titleCHI 2018
Internet address


  • Design fiction
  • Domestic technology
  • Privacy
  • Surveillance


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