Reflective HCI:
Towards a Critical Technical Practice

Call for Participation

Human-computer interaction draws on many disciplines, not only on computer science and cognitive psychology, but also, more recently, on alternative views grounded in social science, design, literary theory, cultural studies, critical theory, and phenomenology. These new perspectives have broadened our view of what HCI might be as a discipline, and they have also broadened our understanding of how it should be practiced. Specifically, influences from domains such as cultural studies and art practice underscore the importance of questioning our fundamental assumptions about the nature of interaction between people and technology and the role of designers in mediating that interaction. These insights suggest the possibility of rethinking HCI as a critical technical practice [Agre 1997], in which technology development can be not only an end in itself, but also a means to reflect on the assumptions and attitudes that underpin our ideas about technology and humanity. This workshop will explore the possibilities for mutual illumination between technology design practice and critical reflection within HCI.

Areas of particular interest include:

  • The application of theory and concepts from design, literary theory, cultural studies, critical theory, the arts and phenomenology to human interaction with technology and to HCI as a critical technical practice;
  • Case studies of work from computer scientists, product designers, digital artists, etc. that incorporate artistic and humanistic analysis into technology design, or use technology design as a way to generate new artistic or humanistic reflections on human-technology interaction;
  • Experience and examples of educational programs and research initiatives that aim to bridge arts, design science and engineering disciplines.

The workshop format will include a presentation by each participant. We encourage participation from a wide range of disciplines including computer science, design research, literary and cultural studies, and the digital arts.

Please submit a three- to four-page position paper (as a Word or PDF file) describing theory, case studies, or experiences related to this topic to Papers must be received by January 20, 2004. Participants will be notified of selection by February 23, 2004.


Jan 20, 2004: Submission deadline
Feb 23, 2004: Notification of acceptance
Apr 26, 2004: Workshop date


CHI 2004
Vienna, Austria
April 24-29, 2004

Program Committee:

Paul Dourish, UCI
Janet Finlay, Leeds Metropolitan University
Phoebe Sengers, Cornell University
Peter Wright, University of York