5 min read

33. Entangled

I talk responsible interaction design for World Interaction Design Day and survey what came out of UX Australia.
Birds nest with birds in it
Photo by Goh Rhy Yan / Unsplash

I'm doing a deep dive into design theory—the type of stuff that mentions Deleuze, Arturo Escobar and so on. I'm not going to lie, some of it is hard going. What I do notice is the recurring theme of 'entanglements': trying to theorise about stuff while in the midst of doing it and changing it. I think that this is the biggest tension between theory and craft: while academics are talking about stuff, people in industry are just getting on with it.

To that end, I enjoy reading about people who are activists or otherwise just getting on with things. This applies to two memoirs I've read this month. Alice Wong’s Year of the Tiger: An Activist Life may sound angry from the title: and at times it is (rightly so, as some of this time covers disabled people struggling with the US government's approach to them during the pandemic), but it's also at times playful and fun, including interviews (Wong compiled the excellent 2020 disability anthology Disability Visibility and mentions some of the writers from that book) and sci-fi speculative fiction. Also good but very different was Polly Atkin’s memoir Some Of Us Just Fall. She was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndromes in her 30s after a lifetime of unexplained injuries and illness, and her memoir talks about both before and after the diagnosis, since as she says, there is no recovery from chronic illness, just maintenance.

That said, good introductory theory texts invite the reader in, and Peter Barry’s Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory is one of them.I particularly love when the author brings in his own experience of the high theory time starting to go wrong in the late 1980s.

This month in digital government and design


Until next time,