de / en

Design, Diversity and New Commons

Acting towards an inclusive digital society, the research group Design, Diversity and New Commons explores questions of a digital common good, participatory justice and representation to work towards more diverse digital technologies, processes, and practices.

Unequal access to the networked society is not merely about a lack of access and infrastructure but about use, literacy, representation, visibility and impact imbalances. Binaries in terms of gender, ethnic background, and between the global North and South are perpetuated in digitization processes and lead to structural disadvantages. These systemic disparities further consolidate the growing polarization between the profiteers of digitization and those who experience exclusion and exploitation, raising a fundamental discussion on democratic principles, rights, and identities that should be at the core of any technological development.

The research group Design, Diversity and New Commons, situated at the intersections of design, art, politics and technology research, explores conceptual questions of a common good discussed in terms of "digital commons" on the collective level and digital sovereignty on the individual level. Based on these concepts and embedding marginalized perspectives in the research process, the group investigates how biased digital apparatuses and practices can become more equitable. In doing so, it takes up postcolonial and postmigrant perspectives and collaborates with technology activists that are probing alternative approaches to technology development worldwide, and at the same time, uncovering technopolitical marginalizations.

Disciplinary and methodological approaches act across three main levels:

  1. Policy level: What requirements arise at the policy level to enable digital sovereignty and participation for diverse groups? How can the design of participation and new governance concepts contribute to democratization processes through digitalization?
  2. Level of access: What role does diversity play in opening access to digital technologies and resources? How can the perspectives of underrepresented groups be included in the further development and shaping of individual and collective digital sovereignty?
  3. Level of design and formats: What forms of experimental design can be developed to advance critical perspectives within the current digitalisation discourse? How can approaches of critical making and designing be applied to develop visions for an inclusive digital society?

The cross-field cooperation sustaining the group's work solidifies through developing and exploring new forms of trans- and interdisciplinary research approaches and actors to highlight effective ways towards the Sustainability Development Goals – of equitable and sustainable education, gender equity, and equal access to the digital world.