8th biannual NORDES 2019 CONFERENCENordic Design Research Society

Aalto University,Espoo, Finland

NORDES 2019 is the 8th biannual conference of the Nordic Design Research Society co-hosted by two Finnish institutions: Aalto University and University of Lapland. Convened in 2005, the society is an informal network of people interested in design research. NORDES convenes biannual conferences and, on opposite years, biannual summer schools.
The conferences and summer schools are hosted and self-organized on a voluntary basis by Nordic institutions of higher education, and the location of each rotates between the Nordic countries. Interest in hosting such an activity can be made by contacting the NORDES board or by attending the open ‘Commons’ meeting that takes place at each NORDES conference. In addition, NORDES promotes the
publication and dissemination of design research through the NORDES Digital Archive (nordes.org).
Visitors, including non-members of NORDES, can view all previous academic proceedings through the archive inviting engaging and more robust dialogues for design research as well as related fields.


— Renata Dezso

ABSTRACT:  This paper explores philosophical and strategic possibilities to understand the concept of co-Ability, and generate critical and new insights to our value system in human centred societal challenges. I apply an experimental approach of research through design, analysed from an interpretive point of view to prove a grounded theory. The paper starts from a prosthesis development presented as a tangible pragmatic procedure. The purpose of the case study is the notion of care through practical design that is marked with concern since the probability of harm can be incised by pure design decisions. Instead of describing the politics of roles and ethics in a situation characterised by ‘design for care’ inspirations, I use reflection on design practice to understand embodied thoughts concerning relationships and the ways of doing. In the second part of the paper, I proceed with literature review in disability research and parallel design strategies. In the final section – in relation to co-design – I introduce the term of ‘co-Ability’ that is rooted in the critical approach of posthuman disability studies outlined by scholars such as Rosi Braidotti. It serves as a broad umbrella term under which we can reconsider the potentials of various entities (biological and artificial) enhancing the shared competence rather than dwelling on the oppressive nature of human-centred norms. Overall, I suggest that the dominant normative vision manifesting in societal challenges is in relational matter with multiple body representations.

My interest has grown in understanding the different distinctions in experiencing self-concept and body recognition for people with congenital and acquired disabilities. I presented a double-blind, peer-reviewed full paper article including a summary of the first articulation of the world co-Ability at the 8th biennial Nordes conference with the theme “Who cares?” at Aalto university in 2019 (Dezső, 2019).