Gerald Beck – Design kisses Sociological Imagination

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Design kisses Sociological Imagination

19-21 May 2014 | SER F3.05

What happens if we mix science and design? And why should we try? To approach these questions, I draw on a study on visualizations, knowledge production and science communication of the social sciences. The role of visualizations in the production of scientific knowledge is a classic topic of the Science & Technology Studies. Most of the literature deals with visualizations that are produced and used to show evidence in the production of knowledge in natural sciences. As we learned from STS, the design of visual representations has far reaching consequences on the process of knowledge production and thus on the object of research itself. For social sciences this also means that to design visual representations always means to design social knowledge.
The study collected and analyzed visualizations that are designed to make proof, inform, persuade, engage or open debates in various cases of knowledge production in the social sciences. Special interest is drawn on visualizations that are designed to represent the contested knowledge produced in controversies. Their purpose is not to close controversies but to enable debates and help, in the words of Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, „Making Things Public“. To design such visual representations requires cooperations between social science, arts and design that go beyond visualizing scientific facts.

Social sciences need to be as reflexive with visualizations as they are with empirical research methods. By practice or by product?

The workshop is an opportunity to make visible the broad range of fascinating topics that are being researched at the faculty of education. It will bring together social scientists and designers in order to create scientific visualizations that go beyond the linear communication of scientific facts. PhD Students (Faculty of Education) will work collaboratively with designers (Faculty of Design and Art) on visualizing their PhD research projects. The three day Workshop provides space for creating, discussing and performing participative design ideas.

Public Guest Lecture
Tuesday, 20.5., h 19:00 Unibz / Bolzano / F 0.003
G. Beck “Design kisses Sociological Imagination”
Download “Design kisses Sociological immagination” slides

for PHD students in social sciences & design students of Visual Journalism

Day 1 – monday, 19.5.
by G. Beck, S. Elsen, K. Krois, G. Seta, A. Mattozzi
14:00 Introduction
15:30 PHD Students present their works, we discuss objectives and possibilities of communicating them visually
18:00 Formation of working groups (each team: 1 PHD Student & his/her topic + 1 team of designers)

Day 2 – tuesday, 20.5.
Working in groups
with Gerald Beck, Gianluca Seta, Kris Krois

Day 3 – wednesday, 21.5.
Working in groups
with Gerald Beck, Gianluca Seta, Kris Krois
15:00 Discussion of results
with Susanne Elsen, Gerald Beck, Gianluca Seta, Kris Krois

Suggested books
A.Telier. (2011) Design things. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
Burawoy, M. (2005) For Public Sociology. 2004 Presidential Adress. American Sociological Review, page 70, 4-28.
Dunne, A. & Raby, F. (2013) Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming.
MIT Press, Cambridge.
Latour, B. (2008) A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps Toward a Philosophy of Design (with special Attention to Peter Sloterdijk).
“Where are the visualization tools that allow the contradictory and controversial nature of matters of concern to be represented?” (Latour 2008)

gerald beck visual journalism workshop unibz free university bozen bolzano

gerald beck visual journalism workshop unibz free university bozen bolzano

Gerald Beck is sociologist and professor for social informatics at the University of Applied Sciences Munich, Faculty for Applied Social Sciences. He participated in several research projects on visualizations and the mapping of controversies (e.g. mappingcontroversies).
In his dissertation (Sichtbare Soziologie. Visualisierung und Wissenschaftskommunikation in der Zweiten Moderne. transcript, Bielefeld), he analyzed the role of visualizations in knowledge-production and science communication in the social sciences. He is especially interested in collaborations between the disciplines of design and social sciences to visualize topics that have to deal with ambivalence and uncertainty.

About matteo moretti

Matteo Moretti works as researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Design and Art of the Free University of Bolzano where he co-founded the Visual Journalism research platform and the Visual Journalism Summer school, the first in Italy. Presently he is a Ph.D. candidate at the Inter-Action Department of Computer Science of Trento. Matteo Moretti researches on visual journalism methods and practices working with transdisciplinary teams, to return the complexity of social phenomena in a more transparent and engaging information to a broader audience. He is a TEDx speaker, World Press Photo Jury member, speaker, awarded with the Data Journalism Award and European Design Award.