Gender as a concept is an important analytical tool on a variety of levels:
- Women’s presence in different design fields (IT design, multimedia production, interaction design, architecture, installation art …), with the aim of e.g. identifying what attracts women into these fields, how they position themselves in them, which skills they develop, the obstacles they encounter, and their coping strategies.
- Gendered design practices, with the aim of understanding diversity on the level of design methods (e.g. in which ways user experiences are accounted for), technological choices, project management, design objectives, and application area.
- Feminist theory, with the aim of enriching our theoretical understanding of gender and design practice in the tradition of “grounded theory”.
- Our main research methods are work ethnography and biographical interviews. Ethnography involves understanding the world from the point-of-view of those studied. It is concerned with the detailed investigation of the interaction of people with each other and with the material environment. We use (video supported) observation in combination with in-depth interviews for capturing in detail the complexity of work practices as well as the culture of the organization. The aim of biographical interviews is to develop an understanding of a person’s biography or trajectory – her development as based on opportunities, choices, and strategies, with a special interest in transitions and detours their implication for the person’s biography.
Our projects focus on:
- Women’s work in ICT professions (software development and multimedia production), architecture and financial services, in a diversity of organisations
- Design practice and the role of gender
- Women as researchers in technology development programmes
- Curriculum development by and for women in ICT