Values in Technological Design

Geoffrey Bowker and Sara Hendren

Friday, April 12th 2012 | 6:00-9:00pm | Great Room, 19 University Place | See Map

The goal for many designers of technology is to produce objects that are useful, but whose use is not dictated by the object design itself. Computers in particular are flexible technologies, and can be programmed to suit a wide variety of functions and needs. Yet despite these goals of technological neutrality, the design of technical objects often shapes their use, and can have far-reaching political, social, and cultural consequences. This event investigates the ways in which values become embodied in technological design and what efforts we might make to address such structures.

Geoffrey Bowker (UC Irvine, Informatics)

Geoffrey Bowker has written extensively on values and ethnics in the design of technical systems. His book with Susan Leigh Star, Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences, is a seminal text in the study of science and technology, and his recent work with the Values in Design Laboratory is ushering in a new generation of scholars to the field.

Sara Hendren (Harvard University, School of Design)

Sara Hendren is an artist and researcher working in the program on Art and the Public Domain at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. She is also a fellow at the metaLAB (at) Harvard. Her artistic practice investigates adaptive and assistive technologies, prosthetics, and the political and cultural ways we comprehend and represent disability.