Types, obstacles and sources of empowerment in co-design: the role of shared material objects and processes
journal contributionposted on 24.06.2019, 11:07 by M Phillips, T Zamenopoulos, B Lam, K Alexiou, M Kelemen, S De Sousa, S Moffat
Co-design is intrinsically linked to the notion of empowerment, however little research has focussed specifically on understanding the types, obstacles and sources of empowerment in co-design. This paper combines theoretical investigations with observations derived from co-designed research by academic and non-academic partners to explore these issues, in particular, the role of shared material objects and processes in supporting empowerment during co-design. The paper uses the notions of ‘power over,’ ‘power to’, ‘power with’ and ‘power within’ to tease out different aspects of empowerment, and draws on empirical observations to determine different obstacles and sources associated with each. The study therefore makes a theoretical contribution to the understanding of co-design as an empowerment process and should be useful for design researchers undertaking co-design projects with non-experts.