GenZ Talks seminar: Co-creating our digital futures – an inclusive approach

GenZ Talks: Co-creating our digital futures – an inclusive approach

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Scandic Oulu

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GenZ Talks: Co-creating our digital futures – an inclusive approach

Welcome to listen to keynote talks given by three international top scientists: prof. Yvonne Rogers, prof. Yasmin B. Kafai and prof. Christopher Frauenberger.

GenZ Talks seminar will be organized on 23rd November 2021 12–4 pm at Scandic Oulu (Saaristonkatu 4).

GenZ Talks is a series of events where top international and domestic researchers and experts in the GenZ research area discuss humanities and digitization. The event is aimed at researchers and other stakeholders interested in the digital future.

The GenZ co-creation theme focuses on the creative and interactive processes of how people participate and collaborate in the shaping and making of digital futures. It explores how co-creative processes take place during and are embedded into people’s everyday lives, work, and leisure. We acknowledge that such processes are always value-laden and political, and ethical issues are always intimately intertwined with them. We appreciate the emerging forms of co-creation – collaborative innovation, participation, design and making – that reconsider and reshape the roles of users and designers, the contexts of technological innovation, and how they have been traditionally understood. We are interested in questions and approaches that address and emphasize people’s empowerment and inclusion: how are they embedded in the processes of designing, shaping, innovating and co-creating intelligent socio-technical futures. We are also interested in the complex intertwining of value co-creation and digitalization.

The third GenZ Talks seminar asks the following question related to co-creation:

  • Who are the individuals, groups and communities that co-create digital solutions for the future?
  • What if digital futures would be co-created by all of us?
  • How can humans be empowered to participate in the co-creation of digital environments to make the best out of it?

GenZ Talks is organized as a hybrid seminar. You can participate on-site at Scandic Oulu or through a live stream.

Register here by Nov 17:


12 pm Opening words: Pentti Haddington, GenZ director, University of Oulu

Keynote talks

Co-Creating Digital Futures: A Bone of Contention versus Free Spirit?

Yvonne Rogers, Professor, University College London

Co-creating with others can take many forms; it can be both fluid and frustrating, unexpected versus over-engineered, political versus democratic, fast and slow, equal or one-sided. Each time one embarks on such a journey, requires a good deal of listening, patience, empathy and flexibility. The outcomes of navigating such unpredictable terrain, however, can include moments of joy and sheer delight as new designs unfold and take on an emergent collective shape. In my talk, I will reflect upon some of the ‘good’, the ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’ experiences I have encountered in my attempts to work with others on various community-based co-creativity projects; including co-designing radically new ways of teaching computer science to be engaging and inclusive, involving local urban communities to tackle low levels of food waste recycling and citizen sensing involving the use of lightweight technologies by local communities to collect, share and act upon data.

Discussant: Professor emeritus Kari Kuutti, INTERACT research group, University of Oulu

Restorying our Futures: Designs for Recrafting and Reimagining Computing

Yasmin B. Kafai, Lori and Michael Milken President's Distinguished Professor, University of Pennsylvania

As nationwide initiatives are underway to bring computing into schools, many are highlighting the dismal underrepresentation of women and minorities. Most current efforts are focused on introducing students and teachers to computer science content and skills with little attention being paid to identity narratives that are inextricably linked to computing—narratives that emphasize career and college and thus promote rather limited perspectives and, by extension, identities. In this talk, I will examine the feasibility of how restorying can be used for rewriting dominant narratives and can provide youth with a speculative approach to examine marginalized and silenced perspectives. In the first example, high school youth drew on lived experiences to restory dominant narratives in computing by creating computational quilts that can be programmed to blink lights or play sound using sensors. In the second example, students participate in the annual Hour of Code to investigate who is in computing and what computing is for by presenting their collective discussions in a virtual quilt. These projects illustrate how computational quilts—textile and virtual–can provide a forum for recrafting and reimagining representation and new pathways in computing.

Discussant: Netta Iivari, professor, research unit leader, INTERACT research group, University of Oulu

Coffee break

Co-creating our digital futures - who is the we and what are the futures?

Christopher Frauenberger, Professor, University of Salzburg

In this talk, I reflect on a series of participatory design projects which sought to involve neuro-diverse children in the design of digital technology. Throughout these engagements, our aim has been to empower children and enable them to participate in exploring meaningful roles of technology in their lives. However, taking a critical stance and a closer look reveals complicated and dynamic power configurations that reflect diverse goals and needs which shape design processes and their outcomes. I will discuss how understanding design as politics - in small and big ways, with humans and non-humans - has helped us escape the urge of narrow problem-solving and sharpened our senses for aspects such as diverse measures of success, leaving the field or staying with the trouble. Stemming from these reflections, I aim to make an argument for blurring the divide between design and use and discuss the various ways in which humans and non-humans participate in how we make sense of and enact the world.

Discussant: Marianne Kinnula, Associate professor, GenZ, INTERACT research group, University of Oulu


4 pm Seminar ends

Last updated: 23.11.2021