Simon Fraser University, SIAT, PhD Studies, Summer 2012 – Present

As an ex-skateboarder, I’ve been interested in skateboarding for a while. When I came to the Everyday Design Studio in 2011/2012 I was introduced to research studies on everyday design that had been done. Everyday design qualifies and defines the types of actions that people do to creatively transform and adapt objects in their daily lives. It highlights a form of creativity that we all take part in and one that helps us negotiate our daily lives through design-in-use and appropriation. Everyday design also includes the work of hobbyists and amateurs who make and reuse design artifacts in their practice. When it came to picking a first topic to explore from a research and everyday design perspective, I immediately thought about looking at how skateboards have been appropriated. Since then, I conducted two studies.

 

Skateboards and Everyday Design – First Study

My first study was looking at the appropriation of (broken) skateboards surveying how everyday designer reuse, transform, adapt and appropriate (broken or old) skateboards. People, most of them somehow involved in the skateboarding culture, make art, furniture, accessories, jewelry and other things out of old or broken skateboards. See some examples in the images. I interviewed 5 people that were upcycling skateboards to learn about the specifics of their intentions and processes. This study can be seen as a pilot study. We published a WiP (Work-in-Progress paper and poster) about this study. In the paper we used the study findings to reveal a new lens on mobile technology by seeing the skateboard itself as a mobile technology.

Hauser, S., Desjardins, A., & Wakkary, R. (2013). Skateboards as a mobile technology. In Proc. of  CHI EA‘13. ACM, NY, USA, pp. 1419-1424. (5 pgs)

 

The Practice of Skateboarding and Technologies – Second Study

My second study followed up on looking at the skateboard with the developed technology lens. Skateboards can be seen as a personal technology as well and reveal insight into this type of technology as well. Looking also at the practice of skateboarding with this lens reveals interesting facts around technology design and practice-oriented design. In this study I interviewd 12 Skateboarders about their practice and experience of skateboarding, which revealed extremely interesting insight into the phenomenon of skateboarding as a practice, a subculture, an activity, an embodied practice etc. I’m working on another publication with study findings from my second study, in which I interviewed and observed several skateboarders.