T/Act: Participatory Media Design for Social Empowerment


Presentation Title:

  • T/Act: Participatory Media Design for Social Empowerment




  • This paper presents research into the social effects of a collaborative participatory design process with selected individuals who have severe physical disabilities. This process encourages and enables creative expression by the participants beyond their everyday norms. Selected individuals are able to control media such as audio and video through custom made bespoke interfaces which they help to design and develop. The research raises the following questions: Can a disruption of institutionalised conditioning according to class, education, gender, and physical abilities be orchestrated by careful design and presentation of interactive artworks? Can the new media artwork become a culturally significant tool for social empowerment leading to long lasting changes for the individuals involved?

    Our current lifestyle is reliant upon media technologies. Our lives are organized through and by technology, such that we can easily forget the importance of physical social interaction rather than that mediated by online social networks. Instead of being empowered by technology, humans are enslaved to its seductive powers. Is it possible to move away from this focus on the technological and rather discuss the act of using the interface and the product of that action, the content? Does access to media technology in itself empower the participant, particularly if that person is herself on the margins of society?

PDF Document: