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Designing Research Devices: Speculative Method and Energy Demand Reduction

Dr. Alex Wilkie
(Goldsmiths, University of London)

March 2016

Designing research devices



In this talk I contribute to recent discussion and innovation in social scientific methodology that engages with the performative dimensions of method. Using the ‘Energy Babble’ research device – including the automated Twitter algorithms it incorporates – for occasioning community engagement with energy-demand reduction as a case study, this talk will explore how digital media can be taken-up in research in order to intervene and provoke engagement. Part of the ‘Energy and co-designing communities’ project, the Energy Babble was an upshot of interdisciplinary collaboration between designers and sociologists of science and technology. The talk will conclude by drawing out some of the wider implications of this particular approach to ‘inventive’ and interdisciplinary methods.


Alex Wilkie is a Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is particularly interested in exploring computational technology and the politics of participation in issue-oriented design as well as inventive research methods and research through design. He currently works on topics including the design of energy and climate change, healthcare informatics and technological interventions into domestic living.