More-than-Human Civics

Finally, given the profound imperative for more sustainable and regenerative futures, we need to move away from a perspective that exclusively prioritizes human needs. Through research and design, we need to explore ways to understand the worlds of other species not as separate to or less than humans’ but as fundamentally entangled. How can we better listen to, call in, co-create, and cohabitate with other-than humans?

In all four areas, we see civic life not as a given, but as continuously shifting, emerging from ongoing negotiations with other domains that shape society such as government, the market and the logic and ethics of various professional domains. Therefore, we also take on a more speculative take on civics: what techno-social constellations could we imagine to work towards the collective well-being of people and other species?

Our ambitions need to be embraced with humility. The enabling of civic life is a long-term and complex process which we cannot attend solely as a matter of design. Creative, designerly approaches can certainly help with finding meaningful questions and both inventive and effective ways to answer them. Yet importantly, civic interaction design is equally, if not more, about care in action.

As researchers and designers, we see it as our main task to stage, provoke or orchestrate ongoing ‘conversations’ between all actors involved in such processes. We aim to contribute to these conversations through research and designerly activities that enable listening, interrogating, encouraging, probing, informing, dissecting, learning, trying, reflecting, etc.

Taken together, our projects aim to contribute to ongoing discussions about civic futures in a digital society and the transformative pathways through which they could be realized. How is it that, we can live together towards collective well-being, in relations of mutual care, in a society where our interactions with the world around us are increasingly mediated through digital technologies?

We wholeheartedly invite you to take part in our conversations!