Call for Papers: Designing postdigital futures

How and by whom are our postdigital futures designed? Can educational futures be designed at all, given their inherent uncertainty? How do we anticipate design to reconfigure our social worlds? Designing technology is always already about creating inherently political and affective sociotechnical future relations (Light and Akama 2014). These can point towards ‘big futures’, i.e., radical ruptures and epochal change, or ‘little futures’, emergent processes in mundane, everyday practices (Michael 2017; Pink et al. 2022). In this sense, ‘design’ has many meanings. It can be seen as a professional practice, but also as a knowledge practice, an ontological practice (Escobar 2018), an entrenched practice that reproduces exclusions (MacKenzie, Rose, and Bhatt 2021), a collective practice opening up new futures that call authority into question (Costanza-Chock 2020; Networked Learning Editorial Collective 2021), a speculative practice (Goodyear 2021), and a practice of creative (re-)appropriation and redesign through use (Lachney et al. 2021). With ‘postdigital’, we position this special issue ‘after’ the hype promising digital solutions. Instead, it invites critique of the assumptions built into much writing about the digital, and investigates the ‘muddiness’ of practice (Jandrić et al. 2018; Knox 2019). This special issue aims to open up conversations around design and educational futures (where ‘education’ is understood in a broad sense, beyond formal educational institutions, covering all spheres of life as well as access to education).

With ‘design practice’ and ‘futures making’ taking such a central role in today’s discussions about education and technology (EdTech), there is an urgent need to explore the sociotechnical imaginaries, design proposals and lived experiences around these issues. Theoretical work needs to engage with, e.g., the inherent contradiction embedded in this field when education is understood as designed (teaching, edtech), and yet indeterminate (learning, growing). We need empirically grounded work on the struggles over futures, when initiatives vie over the right to design educational futures, with alt-right, left, progressive, ecological, and efficiency-oriented proposals for what each prioritises as ‘feasible’ and/or desirable educational futures. A key moment in designing (postdigital) futures is collaboration and participation (Lindström et al. 2021): If we acknowledge that designing technology is also designing sociotechnical relations, then the participation of those who will use the edtech and/or are affected by it into the design process is essential.

We are interested in proposals that draw on, for instance, design theory, educational theory, decolonial approaches, STS, HCI, critical data/algorithm studies or historical analysis to contribute to ongoing critical debates about design, education, and imaginaries about our postdigital futures.

30 October 2022 – Deadline for 700-word abstracts
15 November 2022 – Authors notified and invited to write full manuscript
31 March 2023 – Deadline for full draft manuscripts
15 May 2023 – Deadline for reviewer feedback
1 August 2023 – Deadline for final submission of revised articles

Guest Editors 
Felicitas Macgilchrist (Leibniz-Institute for Educational Media and University of Goettingen), Juliane Jarke (ifib & ZeMKI, University of Bremen), Heidrun Allert (University of Kiel,) Teresa Cerratto-Pargman (Stockholm University). Feel free to contact Felicitas Macgilchrist to discuss your possible contribution.

More information here.