Activity: Other activity types › Other expert tasks or merit
Infrastructuring for the Cultural Commons. Dissertation by Sanna Martial.
In this doctoral dissertation, I inquire into the ways in which Participatory Design (PD) and digital design endeavors can contribute to wider public access to, and use of, digital cultural heritage. I advocate for an approach according to which digital cultural heritage is arranged and understood as cultural commons, and for more collaborative modes of social care for and governance of the commons.
In addition to the empirically grounded findings and proposals contained in six individual research articles, I develop a theoretical framework that combines scholarship on Information Infrastructures, Commons and PD. Against this framework I interrogate how the information infrastructures and conditions that surround digital cultural heritage can be active in constructing and contributing to cultural commons. While doing this, I draw attention to the gap that exists between on the one hand official institutional digital cultural heritage collections, systems and practices, and on the other hand the digital platforms and practices through which everyday people create, curate and share digital cultural works. In order to understand how to critically and productively bridge this gap, I present insights gained from conducting three design research cases that engage both cultural heritage institutions and everyday media users. Building upon this empirical work, and latching on to scholarship on the notion of infrastructuring, I propose four infrastructuring strategies for cultural commons: probing and building upon the installed base, stimulating and simulating design and use through gateways, producing and pooling shared resources, and, lastly, fostering and shaping a commons culture that supports commoning.
In exploring these strategies, I map the territory between commons and infrastructuring, and connect these notions to the PD tradition. I do so to sketch the design principles for a design orientation, commons design. I assert that these principles can be useful for advancing PD, and can inform future initiatives, aid in identifying infrastructural challenges, and in finding and confirming an orientation to participatory design activities.
Drawing on my practical design work, I discuss requirements for professional designers operating on commons frameworks and with collective action. By doing this, my dissertation not only breaks new theoretical ground through advancing theoretical considerations relevant to contemporary design research, especially the field of PD, but also contributes practical implications useful for professional digital media design practice, especially for designers working in the fields of digital culture and cultural heritage.