Archive for calls, October 2002

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[eccr] Conference THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE IRRELEVANT: The user and the future of information and communication technologies

Wed Oct 16 07:42:50 GMT 2002

The user and the future of information and communication technologies

A transdisciplinary, proactive and collaborative knowledge-building 
conference organised by COST Action 269

University of Art and Design, Helsinki (Finland)
3-5 September 2003


Technology is one of the key elements contributing to rapid global change. 
Whether we are interested in developing technology, or studying its 
relationship with people and everyday life, or seeking to benefit from the 
potential it creates, or worried over its consequences, we can hardly 
overlook its role in the shaping of our future. But what can we say of the 
direction and meaning of this development?

Through the four themes,

·       the extended human
·       users as innovators
·       dealing with diversity
·       the reconfiguration of society

the organisers of this conference want to focus the attention of an 
interdisciplinary community on some of the key arenas where the future 
relationship of people and new digital technology and its applications are 
being negotiated.

Often the most advanced technology and its potential but yet unforeseen 
applications are discussed only within the communities of the technology 
specialists, while the critics, users and policy makers convene in their 
own respective circles, each with their own traditions, languages, and 
agendas. Unfortunately, these communities seldom meet in an organised 
fashion, and when they do, they often suffer from language and cultural 
clashes that tend to hamper interdisciplinary encounters.

In this conference, the organisers - the COST Action 269 - invite 
technology and product developers, designers, social scientists, policy 
makers, community representatives and others who are interested in the 
conference topics, to join an attempt to develop the discussion on a 
common, shared and transdisciplinary ground. We ask participants to

1) strive to present their topic from a human centric point of view as 
opposed to a technology, product or business centric one, and to

2) present in a language that attempts to transcend disciplinary 
boundaries, a language that non-experts can also understand, and to

3) not only report on their work, but also to engage in the conference 
debate which aims to develop ways to understand the interests of people and 
society, to evaluate developments against such evolving understanding, and 
to chart interesting and desirable future directions.

The emphasis of this event will be on networking and promoting a dialogue 
with colleagues from around Europe and the rest of the world. The event 
itself will be augmented with online discussion before and after the 

We look forward to seeing you in Helsinki for a conference designed to be 
exciting, thought-provoking and challenging.


The conference is organised by the COST 269 network User Aspects of ICTs, 
the successor to COST 248.  COST269 is an action in the domain 
Telecommunications, Information Science and Technology of COST, an 
intergovernmental framework for European Co-operation in the field of 
Scientific and Technical Research. In COST 269 European scientists from 
telecommunication research departments, universities and operators together 
with independent consultants collaborate in cross-disciplinary groups to 
analyse social dimensions of peoples relationships to information and 
communication technologies.  More information is available on our website 


A number of communities have an interest in and perspectives on the 
relationship between people and ICTs. These include industry, academia, 
designers, policy makers and other institutions. The goal of this 
conference is to encourage and facilitate a dialogue between these 
communities in order to promote transdisciplinary insights that can enhance 
the process by which these technologies are shaped.

The conference aims:
1.      To instigate and support dialogues:
·       Between social scientists, designers, engineers, policy-makers and 
technology and service providers.
·       Between the different disciplinary approaches analysing the social 
and cultural dimensions of ICTs (covering telecommunications, computing and 
mass media).
2.      To explore the state of the art of our knowledge and the results of 
current research, at the same time indicating the implications of this for 
those who are planning and shaping technologies and services.
3.      To confront the reality of today with the possibilities of the 
future, and to debate the meaning of reported and anticipated developments 
for the everyday life in an increasingly globalised society.

The last decades have seen the spread of many myths about what technology 
will achieve  it is now time to move on to a more realistic and democratic 
appraisal. To this end we propose the following topic areas for the conference:
1.      The extended human

In a variety of ways ICTs can extend human capabilities, awareness and 
spheres of action. This strand of the conference could cover such areas as 
connecting with social networks and distributed social practices related to 
ICTs; the relationship between technology and the body of the future; the 
invisibility, embeddedness and ubiquity of computers; the socio-cultural 
significance of the new senses and capabilities that humans acquire through 

Key words: Augment, extend, body, mind, tools, reality, relationships, 
sphere of life, consciousness, physical/mental/digital dimensions, 
artefacts, resistance and hostility, security vs. risk, art, fashion, 
avatar, cyborg, e-Me, professional practices, extended space/time.
2.      Users as innovators

Users of ICTs have often used technologies in very creative, sometimes 
unanticipated, ways. This strand covers the ways in which ICTs either 
enable or constrain users ability to develop innovatory social practices; 
what factors lead to creativity in the use of ICTs.

Key words: User benefits, domestication/appropriation/innovation, 
applications, empowering, from people to innovation, drop-outs, non-users, 
competences, capabilities, consumer organisations, conflicts and consensus, 
creativity, errors, failed innovations, professional practices, commercial 
3.      Dealing with diversity

User-centred design approaches are becoming the imperative for businesses 
that want to address the customers personal preferences, driven by 
competition and the growing flexibility of technology. But do we have the 
means to understand the true extent of this massive diversity of individual 
interests, cultural identities, personal priorities, health concerns, 
social networks, and so on? How should it be dealt with in design and 
development? This strand could cover how diversity of the 'users' is 
manifested, what issues it provokes, and how and through what 
classification schemes designers, developers and researchers analyse and 
address it..

Key words: Gender, generation, class, ethnicity, inclusion and exclusion, 
pluralism, cultural differences, multiculturalism, dissolution of 
boundaries, segregation/integration, global/local, multiple identities, 
individualisation, complexity, memory, tradition, diversity in the design 
4.      The  reconfiguration  of society

Society is constantly being transformed and technology plays a crucial role 
in this process, both influencing and reacting to this change. Both 
technology and our lives are constantly being redesigned in a reciprocal 
process. This strand could cover issues such as ICTs and personal 
integrity, privacy and issues of surveillance; responsibility, technology 
overload, and problems of reliability in the light of an increased societal 
sensitivity to the break-down of technology; issues around the pressure to 
up-date technology and continuously to develop the skills needed for 
dealing with ICTs.

Key words: Transformation, structures, systems, emerging, dying, behaviour, 
policy, values, power, influence, intention, judgements, attitudes, 
globalisation, convergences, digitalisation, labour, economics, 
organisation, institutions, regulation, ethics, health and environmental 
work, privacy, family system, social networks, life stages, membership, 
control, political system.

As a collaborative knowledge-building event, this conference aims to be 
more than a one-off meeting by providing a base for further networking and 
interchange between the key stakeholders in developing our technological 


In the spirit of the conference we would encourage those considering 
submitting papers to reflect on three aspects. These are
(a) the basis for making evaluations of ICTs,
(b) the implications for the future design of ICTs and
(c) directions for future research.
At the stage of reviewing abstracts, reviewers will make suggestions 
towards this end. More information will be available later on the 
conference website at


As the organisers wish to continue the development of the collaborative 
aspects of the conference, we strongly encourage the potential participants 
to submit an expression of interest in participating, so that we can inform 
them of important new developments through email. The expression of 
interest in participating can be submitted on the main conference web-page 


Deadline for submission: 15th March 2003. All abstracts should be prepared 
in electronic form. Detailed submission directions will be available by 
November 2002 at Abstracts must be 
written in English and typed with single line spacing. No formulas, 
symbols, mathematical notation or sub/superscripts are allowed. Abstracts 
should be 300-600 words. No abstract fee is required. Both academics and 
practitioners are invited to submit presentations. Given the 
interdisciplinary nature of the conference, abstracts will be reviewed by a 
combination of members of the Steering Committee, the International 
Programme Committee and others with relevant expertise.  Notification of 
acceptance will be given by 30th April 2003. All withdrawals should be sent 
to the Programme Chairs.


We see this conference as being a collaborative knowledge-building event. 
It aspires to work towards building a network of excellence and to define 
and develop central issues around the use of ICTs. This goal is reflected 
in the structure of the conference. Papers will be presented within 
workgroups that will then be given the task of integrating and building 
upon the individual presentations. Therefore everyone can participate in 
several workgroups over the course of the conference.  A panel will lead a 
discussion of the conclusions of each workgroup at the end. Other 
innovative approaches, including multimedia presentations, will be explored.


The registration fee of 150 Euro will cover lunches, coffee and the 
proceedings. Reductions can be considered in particular circumstances and 
on request. All attendees, including speakers and session chairs, must 
register and pay the registration fee. If you need an early confirmation 
for travel visas or budgetary reasons, please indicate this on the 
submission form.


Deadline for abstract submission: 15th March 2003
Notification of the acceptance of abstracts: 30th April 2003
Authors delivery of paper deadline in order to be included in the printed 
programme: 15th June 2003
Conference: 3-5th September 2003


The official language of the Conference will be English.


Papers presented at the conference will be made available as proceedings 
and will be posted to the COST 269 website.


The conference will be hosted by the University of Art and Design Helsinki 
(UIAH) and its Media Lab. For more information, please visit


A comprehensive social programme is being planned.


Information about hotels and prices will be available soon at


Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a Nordic, western-European city with a 
highly developed infrastructure and some of the worlds leading high-tech 
capabilities. Of all Europes capitals, Helsinki is probably the closest to 
nature. The city boasts well-preserved islands, beautiful bays and broad 
green areas that reach right into the city centre.

Helsinki is easy to reach. The international airport, which is ranked first 
in the world for comfort and service, is located 20 km from the centre of 
Helsinki. Helsinki is also an excellent base for short trips to Lapland and 
Finlands Lake District. The neighbouring countries are easy to get 
to  there are good air and ship connections to Stockholm, Tallinn and St. 

The conference coincides with the yearly Helsinki Festival, the most 
diverse event in the Finnish cultural calendar.  In its current programme 
(2002), the Festival offers major symphonic works, the finest baroque 
orchestras, world music, visiting dance and theatre companies, and the most 
interesting names in visual art and cinema. For more information, see

For more general information about Helsinki, see the web pages of the 
Helsinki City Tourist Office:


Conference Chair: Bartolomeo Sapio, Fondazione Ugo Bordoni (Italy)
Programme Chairs: Leslie Haddon, London School of Economics (United 
Kingdom), Enid Mante-Meijer, University of Utrecht (The Netherlands)
Financial Chair: Annevi Kant, ITC User Research HB (Sweden)
Implementation and Development Chair: Kari-Hans Kommonen, University of Art 
and Design Helsinki UIAH (Finland)
Promotion Chair: Leopoldina Fortunati, University of Udine (Italy)


Ben Anderson, University of Essex (United Kingdom)
Boldur Barbat, Lucian Blaga University Sibiu (Romania)
Rosemarie Gilligan, Dublin City University (Ireland)
Pedro Gomez, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
Chantal de Gournay, France Telecom R&D (France)
Anna Haywood , University of Essex (United Kingdom)
Peter Heinzmann, Cnlab AG (Switzerland)
Claude Henry, LIMSI-CNRS (France)
Jeroen Heres, KPN Research/ITB (The Netherlands)
Truls Erik Johnsen (Norway)
Borka Jerman-Blazic, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Lajla Klamer, TeleDanmark (Denmark)
Maria Koskijoki, University of Art and Design Helsinki (Finland)
Heiner Löffler, University of Basel (Switzerland)
Britt Östlund (Sweden)
Isabella Maria Palombini, Fondazione Ugo Bordoni (Italy)
Carina Pettersson, Linköping University (Sweden)
Jo Pierson, SMIT - Free University of Brussels (Belgium)
Costin Pribeanu, ICI Bucharest (Romania)
Zbigniew Smoreda, France Telecom R&D (France)
Susanne Stern, INFRAS (Switzerland)
Kristin Thrane, Telenor (Norway)
Tomaz Turk, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Olga Vershinskaya, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia)


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