Ardler Inventors (Hacking for Situated Civic Engagement)

Local civic participation in the UK is typically low, despite many important aspects of our day-to-day lives being determined on a local level. Although there have been some recent attempts to design novel technologies in public spaces that engage citizens, many of these interventions have operated in a top-down fashion, being designed by researchers with content sourced from authorities.

Working with the Ardler community in Dundee, this project will investigate the potential for hackathon events that bring together researchers, members of the public and technology enthusiasts to intensively imagine and prototype new technologies for civic engagement in public spaces and communities. Where hackathons have most frequently been used for developing software, we propose to appropriate this approach as a means for non-technical participants to design and co-create physical computing prototypes.

These events will serve dual purposes by 1) acting as a participatory design activity to bootstrap the development of civic engagement technologies that will be trialled and evaluated ‘in the wild’ with participants; and 2) encouraging further innovation by introducing participants to new technologies and skills and by producing documented tools and processes that other communities can replicate and build upon.

Key Publications

Taylor, N., Clarke, L. and Gorkovenko, K. (2017). Community Inventor Days: scaffolding grassroots innovation with maker eventsProceedings of DIS 2017, ACM, 1201–1212. doi:10.1145/3064663.3064723

Taylor, N., Clarke, L., Skelly, M. and Nevay, S. (2018). Strategies for engaging communities in creating physical civic technologies. Proceedings of CHI 2018, ACM, 507. doi:10.1145/3173574.3174081

Taylor, N. and Clarke, L. (2018). Everybody’s hacking: participation and the mainstreaming of hackathons. Proceedings of CHI 2018, ACM, 172. doi:10.1145/3173574.3173746.

Funding Details

Hacking for Situated Civic Engagement. EPSRC/AHRC (EP/N005619/1). Nov 2015–Jun 2017. Additional support provided by RS Components.