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Title: Justice-Oriented Ecologies: Working to Design Digital Technologies With Sex Work Support Services
Authors: Strohmayer, Angelika
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Sex Work Support Services and Charities are turning towards the use of digital technologies to support their work. At the same time, researchers in HCI and associated fields are starting to work more closely with Third Sector Organisations (TSOs) and grassroots communities to design digital technologies for service delivery and activism. In this dissertation, I provide work that sits alongside other justice-oriented research in HCI, to address the need for more meaningful and useful digital interventions in this space by developing a conceptual framework called Justice-Oriented Ecologies. This framework brings together Fraser's ideas of multidimensional justice and Nardi and O'Days Information Ecologies; where technologies are seen as part of the ecology of service delivery, rather than solutions to socio-technically, socio-culturally, and socio-ethically complex issues. I apply this framework to two UK-based sex work support services. After a pilot study to develop implications for design, I carried out three projects that explore (1) the development of an improved version of an asynchronous peer-alerting tool; (2) the crafting of the Red Umbrella Archive, a living archive of service users' experiences of a day of commemoration; and (3) the collaborative sewing of The Partnership Quilt, an interactive hybrid-craft artefact to support service user wellbeing. By using Participatory Action Research and Research through Design methodologies, I was able to participate in the projects alongside other researchers, developers, as well as service users, staff, and volunteers. Together, we explored the processes involved to produce these novel interventions through workshops, interviews, and a variety of creative and craft-based activities. These varied pieces of information were analysed through the development of booklets, quilts, and pieces of writing that ultimately transform into thick descriptions of each of the projects in this dissertation. Through the use of Justice-Oriented Ecologies, I was able to conceptualise the use and development of these digital interventions from a holistic perspective { in a way where the digital was interwoven with service delivery, political and ethical standpoints, as well as notions of care and wellbeing. In this way, I develop vocabulary for HCI researchers to better articulate the ways in which they work with sex work support services and other TSOs, and to better understand the ways in which design processes and digital artefacts sit within the ecologies that we as researchers join when working collaboratively with partners.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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