Thinking Outside the (Tool) Box: Exploring Empowerment Through the Design and Use of Toolkits
Pradthana Jarusriboonchai, Janis Lena Meissner, Nicolai Brodersen Hansen, Ben Schouten
Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Communities & Technologies-Transforming Communities
Toolkits enable people to create and design their own technologies, and just as many other Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tools they are now widely available and approachable. This development aligns well with recent HCI research agendas, which have emerged around the call for empowerment. The availability of toolkits should present a unique opportunity for realising the potentials of end-user empowerment in the sense of giving people and communities access to tools and approaches for shaping their own lives with their own designs. However, the question remains how toolkits should be designed to serve the diverse needs of different user groups for their respective purposes and practices. Furthermore, there is also value in learning from how users appropriate toolkits for their own (maybe unanticipated) purposes. In this workshop, we aim to identify different ways in which toolkits can empower people in diverse life situations. The workshop brings together researchers, designers, and practitioners with an interest in designing and using toolkits for and with people from diverse backgrounds, for different purposes, and in a variety of contexts. We see a particular potential in discussing how research could unpack toolkits as tools for empowerment and for engaging people in technology design.