Design, Democracy and Participation: Exploring the Scandinavian Participatory Design Tradition

Lecture with Pelle Ehn, professor emeritus, School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University, Sweden.

What has it meant to be a collective designer (co-designer) during the last 100 years?

This lecture by Pelle Ehn gives an overview of how design practice and research has developed during the last 100 years. The viewpoint is from the Scandinavian School of Participatory Design.

The lecture was given to a group of students enrolled in the CoDesign — Design, Participation, Democracy course at Malmö University.

View the videos in the embedded players below, or in this YouTube playlist.

The full video is also available on the Internet Archive.

Part 1

1:1 | prologue: 1918–1968
we are all bauhaus students

1:2 | first collective turn, or
a not quite revolutionary beginning
democracy at work (1970s)

Part 2

2:1 | first design turn, or
an accidental designer
work oriented design (1980s)

2:2 | second collective turn
cooperative design of computer systems
critical computing (1990s)

» The full “Computers in Context” film can be viewed on Internet Archive

Part 3

3:1 | second design turn, or
not quite a creative class hero
a digital bauhaus (2000s)

3:2 | third collective turn, or
marginal and cosmopolitical design collectives
publics in the making (2010s)


A selection of authors, works and concepts addressed in the lecture:

See also this Social Design Tour video with Pelle Ehn.

And also another Social Design Tour video with Pelle Ehn, Per-Anders Hillgren, Anna Seravalli.