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  • Shamika Klassen

My Reflections on "Eliciting Speculative Design Fictions from the Margins"


Name: Eliciting Speculative Design Fictions from the Margins. Presented at ‘Understanding the Past, Present, and Future of Design Fictions


Citation: Tawanna Dillahunt and Christina N. Harrington. (2020). Eliciting Speculative Design Fictions from the Margins. Presented at ‘Understanding the Past, Present, and Future of Design Fictions’. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2020).


Authors: Tawanna Dillahunt* and Christina N. Harrington**


Institutions: *University of Michigan, **DePaul University


Terms: Design Fictions, Speculative design, Critical Race Theory


Though a shorter publication, this article from Dillahunt and Harrington possesses insights that are useful to future research I would like to conduct. First, they present N¨agele et al. participatory design fictions (PDFi) which uses “...techniques from theatre, storytelling, sketching and design as a way to expose fictions and values from experts (i.e., people with urinary tract infections) [9]. Their method was extensive and consisted of four stages: a probe, which was crafted as a science fiction writing prompt by online volunteers; sci-fi narratives, which were collected from the science-fiction prompt; a world-building journey to upload narratives and sketches and conceptualize the final Design Fiction; and a PDFi showroom to view the final artifacts” (p. 3).


The authors point out that “asset-based approaches, intersectionality, and critical race theory…leverage community assets to convey how marginalized individuals envision alternative narratives about the world and what might become of it” (p. 2). In particular, “Critical Race Theory (CRT) scholars often use storytelling as a strategy to engage and make salient the experiences of people who are negatively affected by racism as a way to challenge the beliefs held about them by whites. Keeping this in mind, we propose combining speculative design processes with co-design, participatory methods, and CRT to elicit design fictions from marginalized populations” (p. 3).


The combination of PDFi and poignant questions to consider for speculative design futuring make for a powerful impact in a short paper. They propose research they would like to do in the future which I believe is in “Eliciting Tech Futures Among Black Young Adults: A Case Study of Remote Speculative Co-Design”. Much of the work that these authors publish aligns with the direction of my own research and I am grateful to know and be connected to these scholars.


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