This workshop focuses on the material qualities of dislocation between people, things, places, and data. The process of becoming separated from humans or things is likely to have diverse consequences; from shifting frequency, modes, or routines of interaction and communication, to alternate meanings of connectedness. In this workshop, we aim to discuss a broad range of material manifestations and implications of (designing for) dislocation. While engaging with material qualities of dislocation, we will explore how design can create opportunities for (re)connection in response to dislocation.

Key questions guiding the workshop:

  • Which physical / material practices do exist, whether technologically mediated or not, to reconnect in case of dislocation?
  • Which materials or which interactive qualities are promising to be used for reconnecting?
  • How can material qualities account for the (often invisible) networked digital apparatus surrounding dislocated interactions?
  • How to study the way material qualities in dislocation are actively adopted in everyday practices and how people give meaning to them?
  • Which strong concepts and intermediate-level knowledge forms [Höök and Löwgren, 2012] are meaningful to serve the material engagement with and interaction design research on dislocation?


We invite design researchers, who have dealt with dislocation of different kinds, to the workshop; either having

  • (anecdotal or empirical) experience with dislocation;
  • design ideas or designed systems that facilitate (material) reconnecting with humans, things, data, places, or environments; or
  • knowledge or speculations about materials that would provide promising qualities for re-connecting.


In order to express interest in participation, a position paper is required that covers:

  • an essayistic, empirical, or theoretical discussion of dislocation and materiality; among others, it may either introduce theories that would be useful in outlining the landscape of dislocation or metaphors to guide future designs for dislocation; it could describe an artwork or personal experience of dislocation and reconnection that provides resources to inspire new ideas; or it may present an existing reconnecting design (concept or implemented artifact) including a reflection on where location became present in the project and how it was responded to through design, interaction, and materials. (4 page max.)
  • the proposal of a material or artefact for exploration that the participants commit to bring to the workshop. (1/2 page max.)
  • Personal bio (1/2 page max.)

The position paper (in SIGCHI extended abstracts format) should be sent via email to .

Important Dates

  • Submission of position paper: April 23; extended: May 1
  • Notifications to authors: April 30; extended: May 2
  • Early bird registration: May 7
  • Workshop at DIS: Saturday, June 9
  • DIS main conference: June 11 – 13

Envisioned program

The workshop will kick off by an introduction: the organizers will give an overview of the topic, including their own readings of dislocation and reconnections. Afterwards, the participants will be asked to briefly present their positions. After each position presentation, the organizers, together with the participants, will map those positions on an initial landscape of dislocation qualities and employed materials. Subsequently, the group tries to create a coherent landscape based on these positions; potentially, this will also lead to an identification of blind spots. In the afternoon, a session where we play with materials is planned. This session will be done in subgroups that will create ideas for material reconnecting tactics. Therefore,

  • we will create places for playing with the materials where we simulate dislocation by means of poster walls that “separate” two spots (and provide earbuds if needed)
  • we (and the participants) bring along materials to play with, such as: balloons, wooden construction kits, ropes, etc. to build “material tactics for (re-)connection” via physical movements, pneumatic mechanisms, electronics, …
  • we prepare several questions to guide this exploration, such as: What role does synchronicity / asynchronicity play? What actions can be created, what is felt/ experienced? How immediate are actions and reactions?

After this exploration session the groups meet again to discuss the explored concepts and qualities and to map them on the previously established landscape. Finally, the workshop will close by discussing how to proceed in terms of (a) new design directions, (b) underexplored research areas, and (c) dissemination of workshop results.



Kristina Höök and Jonas Löwgren. 2012. Strong concepts: Intermediate-level knowledge in interaction design research. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 19, 3: 1–18.