Weeknotes 21: Strikes and articles

  • Yes yes, two weeks on the trot.
  • More strikes this week. Feeling a real political impotence being on research leave, realising that nobody notices if I’m on strike or not… clearly that’s not the point in expressing solidarity, but it feels important to notice.
  • Last week I submitted an article to Diseña, called No dig, no ride: Repairing and caring for DIY designed bike trails, waiting to hear back on that, not sure how well it fits the journal. Abstract below:
    • This article draws on research produced with DIY bike trail designers and builders to unpack the forms of repair and care that they employ. I first outline the practices involved in keeping trails running, conceptualising the squatted spaces they occupy as ‘ruins’. Second, I draw from literature around care and commoning to argue that these spots are not neglected due to being overlooked, but that this is cultivated and a requirement of their subsistence. I find that in these spaces forms of repair and maintenance are multiple and layered – from the mundane practices of shovelling and watering, to the forms of governance and exclusion enacted, and in recent years, a kind of ‘repair’ of the macho, hetero-normative culture that has pervaded these spots.
  • I forgot in the last post I also finished corrections on my article Towards an ecology of prototyping for STS Encounters. It’s been a lovely process of writing and collaborating with the reviewers who have been incredibly generous. Abstract again:
    • In this article I reflect on discussions around the shifting nature of prototyping in design research from the 2022 DASTS conference. Specifically I reflect on Ruth Neubauer et al.’s work on ‘prototyping living spaces’ (2022, and this volume), and Simy Gahoonia and Christopher Gad’s (Forthcoming; 2022) study of the Danish Technical Comprehension experiment. I then reflect on this in relation to an element of my own practice research that has involved developing speculative prototypes, namely a tandem bicycle that was designed as an ‘interview machine’ for gathering research on the Calais Jungle refugee camp (Healy, 2021). I go onto develop what I refer to as a prototyping taxonomy (that I quickly re-frame as an ‘ecology’) to underpin the above and to consider the different modes and methods involved in different kinds of prototyping practices, and the ways they stabilise and destabilise the situations they enter into. I then spend some time considering the ways an altered version of speculative, cosmopolitical prototyping could be drawn from which is involved in encouraging and researching the un-expected or unlikely, by forming new relations through material intervention. 
  • Lastly, some colleagues Sarah Pennington, Emma Hoette, and I have had a workshop for EASA accepted. It will be in early August.
    • ‘the commons is an activity and, if anything, it expresses relationships in society that are inseparable from relations to nature. It might be better to keep the word as a verb, an activity, rather than as a noun, a substantive’. (Linebaugh, 2008: 298)
      Taking seriously Linebaugh’s proposition for the commons to be treated as a verb, this proposed workshop will actively explore relations of repair, access and stewardship through walking and (re-)enactment. It will not involve building (other than perhaps to put up a tent), and will instead consist of moving, observing, walking, reading, writing, and drawing which we will then draw from to produce a series of research publications.
      By taking a somewhat literal approach to this year’s theme of commons, the workshop will (re-)enact the ‘Kinder Mass Trespass’ by moving from Sheffield city centre to Kinder Scout in the Peak District. Clearly the social and political implications of this kind of mass trespass are very different today (and realised and motivated by the demands of a very different political climate). Therefore, a copy-paste (e.g. Deller) approach to re-enactment is not appropriate. Hence, we will not follow the original route that the Sheffield portion of the protest followed (walking from Edale to the Kinder Scout), but will instead develop a new route which will meander through different kinds of public and private space. While we do this we will discuss forms of access, how this is negotiated, who or what is and isn’t able to gain certain privileges of access, and how that might be re-done or repaired.
EASA Commons proposal

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