Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity

How can we design places that fulfill the urgent needs of the community, achieve environmental justice, and inspire long-term stewardship? By bringing community members to the table, we open up the possibility of exchanging ideas meaningfully and transforming places powerfully. Collaboration like this is hands-on democracy in action. It’s up close. It’s personal. For decades, participatory design practices have helped enliven neighborhoods and promote cultural understanding. Yet, many designers still rely on the same techniques that were developed in the 1950s and 60s. These approaches offer predictability but hold waning promise for addressing current and future design challenges. Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity is written to reinvigorate democratic design, providing inspiration, techniques, and case stories for a wide range of contexts.

Edited by six leading practitioners and academics in the field of participatory design, with nearly 50 contributors from around the world, Design as Democracy shows how to design with communities in empowering and effective ways. The flow of the book’s nine chapters reflects the general progression of the community design process, while also encouraging readers to search for ways that best serve their distinct needs and the culture and geography of diverse places. Each chapter presents a series of techniques around a theme, from approaching the initial stages of a project to getting to know a community, to provoking political change through strategic thinking. Readers may approach the book as they would a cookbook, with recipes open to improvisation, adaptation, and being created anew.

Design as Democracy offers fresh insights for creating meaningful dialogue between designers and communities and for transforming places with justice and democracy in mind.

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Posted in Design, Participation | Tagged ,

Distributed Creativity: How Collective Creations Emerge From Collaboration

Creativity is often considered to be a mental process that occurs within a person’s head. In this article, we analyze a group creative process: One that generates a creative product, but one in which no single participant’s contribution determines the result. We analyze a series of 5 theater performances that were improvisationally developed in rehearsal by a theater group; over the course of these 5 performances, a collaborative creation emerged from the improvised dialogues of the group. We argue that in cases of creativity such as this one, it is inaccurate to describe creativity as a purely mental process; rather, this case represents a non-individualistic creative process that we refer to as distributed creativity. We chose this term by analogy with studies of distributed cognition, which are well established in cognitive science but have not yet had a substantial impact on creativity research. Our study demonstrates a methodology that can be used to study distributed creative processes, provides a theoretical framework to explain these processes and contributes to our understanding of how collaboration contributes to creativity.


Posted in Collaboration, Collective creativity, Creativity, Distributed cognition | Tagged , , , ,

Cognitive Processes in Individual and Collective Creativity

Creativity, the highest level of human wisdom, has become an increasingly important concept in different fields of psychological inquiry, particularly because it is portrayed as contributing to many aspects of society, including personal development, economic prosperity and technological advancement. However, although considerable research attention from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds has focused on trying to understand creativity, the specific nature of creativity, its theoretical underpinnings and cognitive mechanisms, remain unclear, not least when it comes to the understanding of creativity at the individual level and creativity at the collective level. On the one hand, there are crucial distinctions between individual and collective creativity. On the other hand, the process of being creative involves not only independent or individual efforts but also interdependent or collective efforts. Understanding these differences and interrelationships is crucially important in studies of creativity. In this Research Topic, we bring together researchers from a wide variety of cognitive and psychological approaches and perspectives in order to provide a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of creativity at both the individual and collective levels.

Furthermore, cognitive mechanisms in the creative process are unavoidably affected by socio-cultural factors and these mechanisms look different across cultures, particularly between Eastern cultures and Western cultures, two worlds that often imply dramatically dissimilar values and perspectives. Despite the fact that many studies have compared and contrasted these two cultures in various respects, little research has focused on the specific topic of cultural variation in creative cognition. In addition, very few studies have examined the differences in the cognitive mechanisms underpinning the cultural variations that can be observed at a surface level. This Research Topic aims to fill this gap in the literature and examine the cognitive processes and mechanisms in the creative process at both individual and collective levels across different cultures by using theoretical and empirical evidence.


Posted in Cognition, Collective creativity, Collective intelligence | Tagged , ,

Collective Creativity: Exploring Creativity in Social Network Development as Part of Organizational Learning

Creativity in organizations has become a key topic of organizational research. This work expands on existing research by exploring creativity in the dynamics of social networks. Collective creativity is introduced as a central part of organizational learning and seen as the expression of creativity on the collective level. The research is able to empirically assess creativity in the development of social structures. For the assessment of creativity, this work applies a longitudinal study design by combining social network analysis with creativity studies. The approach enables to relate creativity indicators with social network measures. It is based on an empirical study of innovation projects in the automotive industry and thereby extends existing research and theories on creativity, social network dynamics, and organizational learning.


Posted in Collective creativity, Creativity | Tagged ,

Dialogic Multicultural Education – Dialogue and the Problems of Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society

The purpose of this theoretical article is to highlight the role that dialogic pedagogy can play in critical multicultural education for pre-service teachers. The article starts by discussing the problems that critical multicultural education poses in a democratic society that claims freedom of speech and freedom of expression as a basic tenet of democracy. Through investigating research findings in the field of critical multicultural education in higher education, the author argues that many of the educational approaches-including the ones that claim dialogue to be their main instructional tool- could be described as undemocratic, and thus have done more harm than good for the multicultural objectives. On the other hand, the author argues that dialogic pedagogy could be a better approach for critical multicultural education as it promises many opportunities for learning that do not violate the students’ rights of freedom of expression and freedom of association. Throughout this paper, the author tries to clarify the difference between dialogic pedagogy and other conceptualizations of dialogue in critical multicultural education arguing for the better suitability of dialogic pedagogy for providing a safer learning environment that encompasses differing and at times conflicting voices.


Posted in Dialogic pedagogy, Multi-cultural education | Tagged ,

Dialogic & Critical Pedagogies

In 2016, the Main Editors of Dialogic Pedagogy Journal issued a call for papers and contributions to a wide range of dialogic pedagogy scholars and practitioners. One of the scholars who responded to our call is famous American educator Ira Shor, a professor at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. Shor has been influenced by Paulo Freire with whom he published, among other books, “A Pedagogy for Liberation” (1986), the very first “talking book” Freire did with a collaborator. His work in education is about empowering and liberating practice, which is why it has become a central feature of critical pedagogy.

Shor’s work has touched on themes that resonate with Dialogic Pedagogy (DP). He emphasizes the importance of students becoming empowered by ensuring that their experiences are brought to bear. We were excited when Shor responded to our call for papers with an interesting proposal: an interview that could be published in DPJ, and we enthusiastically accepted his offer. The DPJ Main Editors contacted the DPJ community members and asked them to submit questions for Ira. The result is an exciting in-depth interview with him that revolved around six topics: (1) Social Justice; (2) Dialogism; (3) Democratic Higher Education; (4) Critical Literacy versus Traditional Literacy; (5) Paulo Freire and Critical Pedagogy; and (6) Language and Thought. Following the interview, we reflect on complimentary themes and tensions that emerge between Shor’s approach to critical pedagogy and DP.


Posted in Critical pedagogy, Dialogic pedagogy | Tagged ,


With images of protest and dissent widespread and frequently circulated in news broadcasts and social media posts, resistance to prevailing power structures seems to be an expected and regular feature of contemporary life. This entry explores how anthropology has linked these spectacular moments of resistance to broader social questions. It further explains how identifying a particular practice or process as a form of resistance is not always straightforward when the broader context is thus taken into consideration. I do this by considering how resistance has appeared (or has been neglected) as a topic of study through the history of anthropology until the present day, and how prevailing theoretical frameworks and political contexts shaped what anthropologists made of resistance in different periods.

The entry begins from early political anthropology’s avoidance of questions of conflict and social inequality and moves through paradigm-shifting moments in the discipline – in particular, post-colonial and Marxist analyses – whereby resistance and social change became central concerns. It then examines how anthropologists began to study ‘everyday resistance’ and to emphasize how ethnography can reveal many small and subtle acts as forms of resistance, and as linked to more obvious and public forms of protest. Questions of consciousness and intentionality in political practice that are raised by everyday struggles are then considered in connection to the problem of defining resistance. In light of a focus on unconscious practices or acts that simultaneously challenge certain power structures and reinforce or create different ones, resistance is framed as that which constitutes a subversive relationship to forms of domination or systems that reproduce inequality, but that is not necessarily intentional or outside of prevailing political structures. Additionally, I consider anthropologists’ changing relation to resistance – from one of neglect to the position of activist or engaged researcher – as shifting forms of media and communication highlight researchers’ involvement in shaping perceptions of more and less organised forms of political struggle.


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Knowledge In Minds: Individual And Collective Processes In Cognition

Many texts in cognitive psychology deal with the details of cognitive processes as individually defined. This text provides an account of cognition that focuses on the cumulative and share nature of the human enterprise. It aims to adopt a balanced approach by considering both theories. The result is a wide-ranging detour that starts off with cognitive science, then diverts into the domains of developmental and social psychology before ending up in territory that is normally occupied by historians and evolutionary biologists.


Posted in Knowledge, Minds | Tagged ,

Intellectual character of Metacognition in thinking strategies

Background: Metacognition is one aspect of intellectual character about a concept that has been used to refer to a variety of epistemological processes. Metacognition essentially means cognition about cognition; that is, it refers to second-order cognitions: thoughts about thoughts, knowledge about knowledge or reflections about actions. Previous research explained that metacognition is useful in many educational settings and can be transferred from the music classroom to other subject areas. Aims and Objective: This study aimed to reveal aspects of student metacognition as a strategy used in playing music. Materials and Methods: In this observational study, the spontaneous metacognitive behavior of students during guitar lessons in guitar classroom was analyzed. Results: Data from interviews revealed that students were weak in metacognitive behavior so that students do not use thinking ways of thinking. This is because the lecturer cannot promote metacognition by designing and implementing instructional strategies that encourage music students to engage in reflection, self-assessment, and thinking critically. Based on the results of research that has been obtained, it can be said that in playing music, especially in the guitar class, it is important to know what is known about the music that will be played. Conclusion: Lecturers need to promote metacognitive awareness in students so that students are able to develop their thinking strategies well in playing music, especially in guitar classes.


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Socially Shared Cognition, Affect, and Behavior: A Review and Integration

In this article, we review 4 classes of models of socially shared cognition and behavior: supra-individual models, information-processing models, communication models, and social interaction models. Our review draws on research and theory in social psychology, sociology, and organization behavior. We conclude that these innovative perspectives on socially shared behavior represent a new approach to the study of groups and are distinct from traditional models of the group mind and crowd behavior. The key processes implicated in these models focus on the potency of immediate interaction, reciprocal influence processes between individuals and groups, goal-directed behavior, negotiated processing of information and ideas, and the maintenance and enhancement of social identity. This approach to socially shared understanding is not antagonistic toward the analysis of individual-level processes but rather maintains that individual-level processes are necessary but not sufficient to build social psychology of shared understanding.


Posted in Social contagion, Social learning | Tagged ,