Scaffolding shared imagination with tangible design

Maarten L. Smith, Sander van der Zwan, Jelle Bruineberg, Pierre D. Levy, Caroline C.M. Hummels

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


We follow up on a prominent line of work in which principles of embodied cognition are employed to not only account for skilled coping but also for more intellectual activities such as remembering and imagination. Imagination then, is not a reflective activity an individual does by herself, but a shared and embodied activity scaffolded by tangible design. We present a case study in which we designed a toolkit to facilitate imagining the Netherlands in 2050. We wrote speculative stories of people living in 2050 and designed an assortment of objects. We held several workshops to use the toolkit for shared imagination for our client, Rijkswaterstaat. We analyze how, in the context of the workshops, the stories and objects provided affordances for shared imagination. We thereby hope to have demonstrated that it is possible to design for more intellectual activities in a tangible and embodied way.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTEI '21: Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction
EditorsRaphael Wimmer
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-8213-7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2021
Event15th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, TEI 2021 - Virtual, Online, Austria
Duration: 14 Feb 202119 Feb 2021


Conference15th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, TEI 2021
CityVirtual, Online

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