Undoing Optimization: Seeking solidarity through the commons

Virtual event

Students during lecture

Speaker: Dr Alison Powell (Associate Professor Media and Communication, Director JUST AI Network at the Ada Lovelace Institute)

Alison Powell is the Director of the JUST AI network. She is Associate Professor in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics. Her research examines how people’s values influence the way technology is built, and how ethics in practice unfolds in technology design contexts. Alison experiments with participatory and public engagement methods to investigate how we generate knowledge about technology, citizenship, and our futures.

Her previous projects include the Horizon 2020-funded VIRT-EU, which examined ways to develop ethics in practice among Internet of Things developer communities, and Understanding Automated Decisions, which considered the possibility and consequences of explaining how algorithms work using design methods and an interactive public exhibition. Alison also shares her insights about how people make knowledge about the city through ‘data walking’ – and her public writing at http://www.alisonpowell.ca.  

Designing the Commons: Seminar Series

This seminar series is organised by the Institute for Design Innovation, Loughborough University London as part of the ‘Counter-Framing Design‘ project.

The concept of the commons is mutable and its relevance in the age of digital capitalism hotly contested. Yet, at the onset of the COVID crisis, new commons emerged that responded to frontline struggles in crucial and urgent ways – through the formation of solidarity networks, digital knowledge commons to contest hegemonic digital infrastructures and support mutual aid, alongside community groups who acted to reclaim decaying public spaces in the face of physical distance measures. At the same time, concepts of commons emerge in new visions of the Welfare state (Cottam, 2020)*, that risk being jeopardised by idealist interpretations thereof. Conceiving the commons as a shared collective practice, this interdisciplinary seminar series will focus on these issues and debates to unravel the relevance of commons today, through the lens of design. 

How to attend

This event will be hosted online via Microsoft Teams. If you would like to join, please email the event organiser, Dr Sharon Prendeville, who will provide further joining instructions.