Informatics Ph.D. student Lilly Irani and Informatics faculty members Melissa Mazmanian and Paul Dourish just received the Best Paper award of ICIC 2010, the International Conference on Intercultural Collaboration, going on in Copenhagen. Their paper, “”Shopping for Sharpies in Seattle: Mundane Infrastructures of Transnational Design” comes out of the research they’ve been doing on design collaborations across India and the US.
In this paper, we describe the importance of mundane tools for design practitioners in India working with Euro-American clients. Our findings are based on a 7-week ethnographic study of a design firm based in Delhi, India. We analyze some highly-valued tools and software, such as post-its, as infrastructures with both practical and symbolic functions. These infrastructures are made meaningful in the shared practices of a transnational but primarily Euro-American design community. Designers in India employ a number of strategies we call “infrastructure work” to be able to participate as designers in this mold.
Congratulations Lilly, Melissa and Paul!