Processes in the formation of publics: A design case study on dyslexia
Menendez-Blanco, Maria (2017)
PhD thesis, University of Trento.
The work presented in this thesis is aligned with a renewed interest in design for opening new possibilities for democracy. This thesis builds on a growing corpus of research investigating the role of design in supporting the formation of publics. In this thesis, the concept of publics is aligned with Dewey’s view, which refers to heterogeneous groups of people concerned about an issue who organize themselves to address it. This thesis aims to contribute to this corpus of research by investigating the following research questions: what design processes can contribute to the formation of publics? and what design interventions can enable these processes? Answers to these questions are constructed by engaging in a practice-based design research of a case study of dyslexia in Trentino, a region in Italy where dyslexia is a controversial issue grounded not only in medical but also societal and political conditions. The main contribution of the thesis is a method to support the formation of publics following a practice-based interaction design approach. This method proposes articulating, representing and reconfiguring as three intertwining and complementing processes that can support the formation of publics. In addition, it proposes that designing interventions on the basis of physical artefacts, digital platforms and events can enable people to act on an issue. Finally, it proposes programs for action as takeaways of design research projects that aim to enable people to act on societal issues.