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Call for Participation: International Workshop “Design for Social Interaction in Public Spaces”, Fall 2015

groupWe are organizing the sixth international workshop trip to China. This workshop, “Design for Social Interaction in Public Spaces” will take place during the RSDL weeks, from Oct 26 to Nov 6, 2015, in Wuxi and Taicang (cities near Shanghai), China. We will be working together which teachers and students from Chinese universities (mainly Jiangnan University, possibly Nanjing University of Arts, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou Dianzi University etc), creating or designing public installations for social interaction, inspired by elements and techniques from performance arts. More about this workshop: Example program from the last workshop in May this year:  Example results from the previous five workshops during last 3 years are also available on the website. Check with students who participated earlier in first 5 workshops for their experience.

IMG_20150922_153334_HDRWe will provide financial support for this trip:

1. Half of your flight ticket will be reimbursed, up to a limit of 400 EUR.
2. Accommodation (food and lodging) will be covered at the workshop (not including the trips or excursions organized by yourself).

We have ten positions. If you are interested, please send an email to Jun Hu (j DOT hu AT tue DOT nl), with few lines of text describing your motivation and your design and prototyping skills,  as soon as possible. Although we expect senior bachelor students and master students with sufficient skills, positions will be offered mainly by first-come-first-served.

People Involved (from TU/e)

  • Jun Hu is an Associate Professor in the DI group, an Adjuct Professor at the School of Digital Media, Jiangnan University and an ACM Senior Member. His current research activities are directed towards Design Research on Social Computing.
  • Joep Frens is an Assistant Professor in the DQI group. He is interested in designing for growing systems and in design in general. You might know him of the cardboard models that he makes.
  • Mathias Funk is an Assistant Professor in the DI group, focusing on remote data collection and adaptive systems, but enjoys working ‘out of control’ with technologies from sound/video processing to the web.
  • Yu Zhang, PhD candidate from the DI group, with a background in both design and art, currently working on performance theory inspired design for public art installations.


11203688_10153340929599288_3819568270083088308_nSystem and service design is a new challenge in the field of Industrial Design. It breaks the ‘one person – one product’ dictum in favour of a system of (interactive) products consisting of many ‘nodes’. The systems under investigation are woven into the social fabric of our lives and form, more than ever before, an integral part of it. Societal relevance is not optional, but a necessity for this new field of design.

Currently, the cities around us are coming to life in the digital world. How this digital city becomes meaningful to us remains to be seen, but the first signs point towards visual solutions that augment the buildings, bridges, statues etc. in the urban environment with large projections and displays. This additional layer, a form of augmented reality, can be used as decoration, but also as public media where interesting, new forms of social interactivity can take place. The augmentation can happen on existing structures, but also can be an integrated part of design when it is on the drawing board. As a designer working in this module, you are encouraged to find new areas for designing public spaced and push the limits of the overall design challenge.

One way to approach is with interactive public art installations. The current developments in digital public arts involves a significant amount of new materials and technology, resulting in new dynamic and interactive forms that require artists and designers to construct their work from a system point of view and with a good understanding of human-system interaction and related interface technologies. Art in this context is no longer about carving stones and casting bronze; it is time to sculpture the interactive experience.

The challenge in this module is to find ways to design a physical locus of interaction, a specific, physical interface that translates the ‘digital’ action possibilities of a city to the physical realm. Inspired by the elements from performance arts, the theory of affordances (ecological perception) and phenomenology that identify that the (physical) world is a meaningful place and that focus on the lived experience we want you to focus on meaningful and rich interaction in public space. Think ‘morphing’ shape rather than changing graphics; think physical controls rather than touch screens; think specific rather than generic.



– Center for Social and Cultural Computing, Science and Education, New Town, Taicang, China
– School of Digital Media, Jiangnan University, Wuxi. China
– DESIS Network.
– TU/e DESIS Lab.