Designing for social justice : people, technology, learning

LIGHT, Ann and LUCKIN, Rosemary (2008). Designing for social justice : people, technology, learning. Discussion Paper. Futurelab.

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL:


This review provides an introduction to the concept of social justice and the practices of usercentred design (UCD), looking at how theories for changing the world marry up with methods to implement these changes. It then explores the potential role of technology-enhanced learning (TEL) within this framework.

Social justice and user-centred design, however, do not constitute a single coherent area of research to be neatly corralled into a literature review. Indeed, several broad and fascinating literatures abut one other within this theme and the act of choosing salient matters to describe or exclude is a difficult one. We acknowledge omission of hundreds of interesting projects and approaches in choosing an overview of the related fields and presenting how they relate to each other. Where necessary, we have pointed the reader to resources that we hope will make up for this limitation.

As such, we have focused on design as a political activity – that is, involving the organisation of relationships between different groups of people – so that we can consider how these relationships affect the design of political tools, particularly those involving technology such as those intended to help change behaviour or redistribute resources. We have chosen this focus as we believe that how you design will have an impact on what you design, though not necessarily in a straightforward or simply determined fashion. Bijker (2006) points out that no technology is without some politics of its own in how it might configure certain activities and how it is actually used.

The core of this review is divided into sections on social justice, the act of designing and the nature of user-centred design, wrapping up with a discussion of how this applies in the field of technology-enhanced learning. Throughout, we make the argument that user-centred design can be a particularly apt form of designing to apply to social justice projects, and also that the more participative forms of UCD offer the most educative potential and are often also the best fit for social change projects.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 27 May 2011 08:37
Last Modified: 12 May 2021 19:10

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics