Bowker to deliver Design Dialogues Speakers Series lecture September 20

Geoffrey Bowker

Geoffrey C. Bowker will deliver the second lecture in the Design Dialogues Speakers Series on Tuesday, September 20, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), 1205 W. Clark Street, Urbana. 

Bowker is a professor at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and director of the Values in Design Laboratory at the University of California, Irvine. He codirects the NSF-funded Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society with researchers from across academia and the IT industry. From 1993-1998, he was a member of the iSchool faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and was a faculty affiliate of NCSA from 1998-1999. He has published widely on the topics of information infrastructure, classification systems in distributed scientific collaborations, and the use of web and digital resources across disciplines.

The lecture, “The Data Citizen: New Ways of Being in the World,” will address the phenomenon of big data and how its various interpretations are changing what it means to be human. Bowker will explore aspects of this change by teasing out histories and ethical design issues arising from past developments.

The Design Dialogues Speakers Series was developed by a multidisciplinary team of scholars engaged in joint research through the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH). “Recovering Prairie Futures: Midwestern Innovation and Inter-disciplinary Digital Developments” is coordinated by Anita Say Chan, associate professor in the Department of Media and Cinema Studies and Institute of Communications Research, and Michael Twidale, professor in the School of Information Sciences. In total, the Prairie Futures team includes more than twenty faculty from eight campus units and three external design sites.

The overarching lecture themes emphasize innovation, inclusivity, collaboration, and interdisciplinary knowledge creation:

At Illinois, thinking about design, talking about design, and doing design is a central part of what we do. It is in our history. Pioneers designed our University 150 years ago, and ever since, numerous innovators have designed products, concepts, experiences, and ways of teaching that have transformed our world. And today, we continue to have various new design initiatives being undertaken. This speaker series contributes to this exciting set of activities by highlighting a number of aspects of the design process that may sometimes be marginalized or overlooked. Our invited speakers will help us all—designers, users, and the broader campus community alike—think about how to make the design process more inclusive in terms of its products, process, and practice. Inclusive design is not achieved by simply saying “we are inclusive”; explicit design interventions are required. As the University of Illinois’s own investments in design enter into an expanded phase to foster a new generation of multi-disciplinary twenty-first century design thinkers, this speakers series invites cross-campus engagements and dialogues to think through the potential for designing distinctly, inclusively, and purposefully.

The Design Dialogues Speakers Series is funded by the Recovering Prairie Futures IPRH Research Cluster, Office of the Provost, College of Engineering, College of Media, School of Information Sciences, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Other co-sponsors include:

  • College of Education
  • College of Fine and Applied Arts
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • School of Social Work
  • Center for Advanced Study
  • Center for Digital Inclusion
  • Center for Global Studies
  • Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning
  • Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Center for People and Infrastructures
  • Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Disability Resources and Educational Services
  • Gender & Women's Studies
  • Human and Dynamics Laboratory
  • Illinois Informatics Institute
  • Institute of Communications Research
  • Product Design Laboratory, Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering Department
  • Social Innovation at Illinois
  • Spurlock Museum
  • Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative, College of Business
  • African American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Asian American Studies
  • Comparative and World Literature
  • History
  • Latino/a Studies
  • Media and Cinema Studies
  • Sociology
  • Allen Hall/Unit One LLC
  • Innovation LLC
  • Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
  • Office of Diversity, Equity, and Access
  • Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
  • Office of Undergraduate Research
  • University Library
  • Makerspace Urbana