Complexity and urgency: notes from ECSCW19

ECSCW 19, the 17th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work took place in Salzburg this year. As always, there was quite a span in the topics presented, yet also a focus on the social and societal impact of computer technology.

Complexity and urgency dominated this year’s #ECSCW, notably in the keynotes by director Friedrich Kirschner and philosopher Hanne De Jaegher on how to accept, embrace, enact and invite complexity.

The sense of urgency was present in themes of activism, community development and in ICT4D. Bonnie Nardi–who received the lifetime achievement award–really emphasized urgency in relation to sustainability.

Karin Hansson’s presentation was especially interesting for a Swedish audience, since she and her colleagues had studied the dynamics of theSwedish #metoo movement in social media. Hopefully we will also see more of Ann Light’s community oriented research in a Swedish context, since she recently became a professor at Malmö University.

Sven Hoffman’s work on cyber-physical systems again showcased the quality of the work coming out of Siegen–combining development with workplace studies. The case from industry 4.0 by Myriam Lewkowicz was really interesting from my point of view, indicating many similarities between industries and public organisations when it comes to successful implementations.

Nelson Tenório discussed online workplace harassment, a topic that also was the subject for the thesis by Rebecka Cowen Forsell, and that we touched upon in our exploratory paper at the conference last year..

There was also a number of interesting presentations related to the research practice as such, starting with Ekaterina Olshannikova’s recommender system for research collaborations. Ida Larsen-Ledet demonstrated excellent work on collaborative writing strategies (that we all hoped would be turned into a popular version in the near future). Finally Gaia Mosconi provoked a lot of discussion with her paper on challenges for open ethnographic data. Clearly the legislation surrounding research data has been molded around large quantitative datasets and there are many open questions as to how ethnographic data should be managed.

All in all an interesting event and all papers can be found online here.

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