About the workshop

Important Dates:

JUNE 3 Submission Deadline (new!)
June 7, 2015: Notification of Acceptance
August 17, 2015: Workshop

Embodied interaction continues to gain currency. Yet reporting of methods and techniques used in embodied research generation remains a challenge. Conferences (e.g., TEI), special journal issues (e.g., ToCHI, Personal and Ubiquitous Computing) and doctoral theses (e.g., Moen, Loke, Wilde) are devoted to the subject. Yet embodied methods are not readily communicated through the written or spoken word. New forms of knowledge transfer, such as pictorials (e.g., at DIS 2014 and RTD 2015 conferences), and video are enabling enhanced, image-enriched reporting of outcomes. Yet appropriate transfer of embodied research methods remains elusive.

The Embodying Embodied Design Research Techniques workshop is an experiment with how to engage, reflect on, document and report embodied design research methods and techniques, to find new opportunities for development, cross-fertilization, collaboration and effective knowledge transfer as interaction techniques and methods develop. Our intention is not simply to find the next form of research reporting. Rather, we recognize that over the coming decennial radical changes to how research is undertaken may occur. By laying the foundation for coherent and rich exchange of embodied ideation methods, we hope to simultaneously contribute to understanding of how to effectively share them, and to the evolution of these methods. By engaging participants in an experimental enquiry into embodied research reporting, we intend this area to become an active area of inquiry moving forward.

Workshop Background

Embodied interaction plays out in many different ways, bringing together and bridging different disciplines and approaches. Some researchers use the body and movement as a material. Other researchers focus on developing movement skills. Yet others focus on designing representations of movement, evaluating the user experience, mapping interactions, or exploring sensing technologies. Despite, or perhaps because of this breadth and diversity of practice, a major challenge remains: coherency of communication. Typical avenues for reporting do not readily encompass the multiplicity of perspectives or the embodied nature of relevant research methods and techniques. Workshops provide an important, yet ephemeral forum through which to share methodologies (e.g., MOCO). Yet the conundrum of how to tangibly and robustly transfer knowledge, over time, in ways coherent with the richness of embodied methods and experiences, remains unsolved.

As embodied methods are increasingly leveraged in research, this challenge will only become more pressing. In a call to the community to recognize and respond through action to this shared challenge, this workshop will bring together concerned participants, in the hope that together we may move towards coherent solutions.

Workshop plan

Over a single day we will engage up to 15 participants in an embodied interrogation of the key issues related to knowledge transfer and reporting of embodied research methods and techniques. During the first half of the day, each participant will lead others in an embodied experience of a proven research method or technique – enabling the participants to experience by doing, thus allowing for direct embodied experience of methodologies. The second half of the day will focus on actively shifting and merging the methods and techniques experienced in the morning session, and experimenting with novel approaches to documenting and reporting. This will be done by combining approaches / mixing / melding / mashing up in small groups, and making use of novel capture methods.

To facilitate documentation and capture, we will provide a number of capture and sensing devices. We will also request participants come prepared with material, equipment or approaches they feel may contribute to the experiment.

Groups will be fluid – participants able to leave or join a new group at any time. This will enable ideas to merge and groups to form in an instinctive and discretionary manner. The structure of this part of the workshop will draw on the strengths of improvisation in contributing to idea generation and development [8]. In musical improvisation, for example, knowing where to go next becomes a series of small decisions made in a hyper aware state of flow in which the musician “knows” both the minds and desires of his or her fellow musicians, and also holds the experience of the audience as an almost physical “thing” which can be examined, turned, changed, and at some point is “done” [17]. Turning this approach onto the challenge of sharing and documenting embodied design research techniques, will enable us to use the techniques themselves as a anchors, or guides. This approach has been leveraged previously in embodied idea generation [24], and is well suited to the challenge we are confronting.

Participants will be encouraged to experiment with different recording techniques, throughout, including body-mounted sensing and recording devices, as well as less conventional approaches. The intention will be to find appropriate ways of capturing and reporting embodied experiences and experiments, so that the intangible elements are not lost. At the end of the day, the workshop participants will regroup to reflect on what happened and share impressions, as well as outcomes, including documentation experiments that aim to tangibly capture and communicate the processes undertaken.

In the spirit of an ongoing conversation, we are not looking for definitive answers, rather we recognize that over the coming decennial radical changes to how research is undertaken may occur. By laying the foundation for coherent and rich exchange of embodied ideation methods, we hope to simultaneously contribute to understanding of how to effectively share them, and the evolution of those methods. Outcomes will be posted on the workshop website. Alternate methods for sharing will be discussed during the workshop and actioned accordingly.


Please write to Danielle Wilde: d[at]daniellewilde.com

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