M-ITI Seminars

Madeira-ITI organises seminars and invited talks in the areas of Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction. On this page you find an overview of the most recent seminars. Click the title of a seminar for more detailed information.

“The Anthropocene is Merely a Symptom:” Metaphysics, Technology and the Artificial

Clive Dilnot
Wednesday, 24 May, 2017 - 17:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


The Anthropocene is real but it is a symptom of a larger shift to the artificial.  This talk is about ways in which we might think this deeper shift, which means how we might think the nature of the epoch we are emerging into where the artificial constitutes and the horizon, medium and prime condition of our existence and thus the very core of being. This shift has profound implications for how we think of design and more broadly technology.  I will try to lighten this ‘metaphysical’ concept with some concrete instances that seem to me to intuitively grasp where we are - or which at least perhaps point us in useful directions.  

My argument is that to cope with this new world we not only have understood that we are entering into a qualitatively new historical epoch, one that grows out of the industrial period but which operates to a different dynamic, we also need a new kind of metaphysical mind map. If we are not to descend into technocracy and/or barbarism we need to be able to think about the artificial differently than we have. The modern conception of being, essentially based on the notion of a fixed ground plan of objects that can be ‘seen through’ and controlled by calculation (the world of representation and “data” which has dominated in the west since the C16th) and was constituted a new and entire world on that basis is now giving way to another model where we see being as essentially contingent; where mediation, the propositional and the possible (the very condition of the artificial) are predominant conditions of what-is. 

Short Bio:

Clive Dilnot is currently professor of design studies at the Parsons School of Design and The New School in New York teaching through the school of Art Design History and Theory. Educated as a fine artist, and later in social philosophy he has taught world-wide including at Harvard University, the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and in Hongkong as well as in Australia and the UK. Recent publications includeEthics? Design? (Archeworks, 2005) the essay for Chris Killip’s Pirelli Work (Steidl, 2006); the co-authored Design and The Question of History (2015). He is the editor of A John Heskett Reader: Design History Economics (2016) and of Heskett's seminar Design and the Creation of Value (2017). He is currently working on a four-volume series Thinking Design: On History; On Ethics; On Knowledge; On Configuration(Bloomsbury, 2019-20) and is founder editor of a new series of short texts and polemical essays Designing for Dark Times/the Urgency of the Possible.

Design/Work in our Future Cities

Liesbeth Huybrechts
Wednesday, 10 May, 2017 - 17:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


This talk discusses the challenges of designing for work (the creation of workspaces, design of tools, facilitating mobility etc.) in our cities in 'smart' ways. The term ‘smart’ here is not framed in a narrow discourse that equates smart with technological experiments, but it is rather associated with designers/architects who envision futures for urban development in our cities, via cooperating with or tapping into the initiatives that citizens, policy makers or businesses already set up themselves (Goodspeed, 2015; Brynskov et al, 2014). More than ever, designers/architects need to navigate between many and often invisible local and supra-local ecological, social, technological and economical agendas that are associated with (re)integrating work in the daily life of the city. This invites them to design (digital) frameworks, tools and techniques to explore and align these agendas in participatory ways, while giving form to 'space' for work. This talk will look into some remarkable (historical) examples and own case studies, to discuss how participatory frameworks, tools and techniques support ways of designing for work in future cities.

Short Bio:

Liesbeth Huybrechts (1979, Leuven, Belgium) is Postdoctoral researcher in the areas of Participatory Design, Human-Computer Interaction and spatial transformation processes in the research group Arck, University of Hasselt. She is involved in the Living Lab The Other Market (https://deanderemarkt.wordpress.com/ ), a space for reflection and action on the future of work. She is also part of the research project Traders dealing with Participatory Design and Art in Public Space (Marie Curie ITN, www.traders.eu). Together with Thomas Laureyssens she designed the frequently used participatory mapping tool MAP-it (www.mapit.be). As a freelancer she is active in exhibitions, workshops and writing. In the past, she taught in the Social Design Masters, Design Academy Eindhoven in the Interaction Design Department (LUCA, KULeuven). She co-founded the research group Social Spaces (www.socialspaces.be) exploring the social qualities of design and art.


Designing and developing academic and professional transmedia for non-fiction projects

Arnau Gifreu-Castells
Thursday, 20 April, 2017 - 10:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


The session will focus on the processes for designing and developing transmedia non-fiction projects. We know well how to create a traditional audiovisual production: there are certain specific phases and we know where to get the financing. But what happens in the case of interactive and transmedia projects? Since the traditional formula varies substantially, now we have to take into account both the narrative part - which must be adapted to the interactive logic or the transmedia universe - and the interactive part – thinking about issues such as interface, user experience and the user's journey. In this practical session, we introduce the model we follow to produce Transmedia Projects (4th course) at ERAM, University of Girona, and then present the strategies, platforms and production of three transmedia non-fiction projects: COME/IN/DOC (2012-2017), Cyborg Project (2015) and Bugarach: How to Survive the Apocalypse (2017).

Short Bio:

Dr. Arnau Gifreu-Castells is a research affiliate at the Open Documentary Lab (MIT) and part of the i-Docs group (University of the West of England). He has published various books and articles in his research area, interactive and transmedia non-fiction, and specifically on interactive documentaries. He is a lecturer at ESCAC (University of Barcelona) and at ERAM (University of Girona). He coordinates interDocsBarcelona and collaborates with the Somos Documentales project from RTVE.ES (Spanish TV).



Utopian Design and Angelus Novus - Paradise lost or an Archipelago of futures?

Pelle Ehn
Wednesday, 19 April, 2017 - 17:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Design as a creative response to industrialization, was born as the Bauhaus during the Weimar republic Germany in times of social and political upheaval in the aftermath of WW1. The explicit political and aesthetic dream was to better peoples living conditions by uniting social issues with art and technology.  What have become of this century old Utopia as it has been shaped and reshaped by market forces and national interests, by elites and public demands. What is the role of design in western democracies in general and specifically in the making of and in open societies?

Participatory design was born as a challenge to managerial prerogatives when computers were entering the workplace in the era of work place democracy in the Scandinavian welfare states in the aftermath of 1968.  The explicit dream was to extend democracy to the workplace and to develop more participatory forms of democratic (decision) making. What has become of this Utopian vision under neo-liberal and public management conditions?

What can we learn from the grand design visions of a better world for everyone from the Bauhaus and from the Scandinavian welfare dreams of (participatory) democratic design? Can they be reinvented to constructively deal with local and global issues of conviviality in a cosmopolitical world threatened by "religious" war, oligarchic capitalism, rising nationalism and xenophobic angst. Is utopian design bound to be taken hostage to nostalgic dreams of a Utopia that never really was, or is there still room for an expanding archipelago of futures, the making of (utopian) futures (in the many) through democratic design experiments (in the small)?

The point of departure for exploring such issues of utopian design is three personal experiences of “utopian moments” in participatory design. “We refuse to detailed control” and democracy at work (from the 1970’s). “Utopia where workers craft new technology” and the design of computers for skilled work (from the 1980’s), and a “Manifesto for a Digital Bauhaus” and a school for democratic design in a digital age” (from this century).

Short Bio:

Pelle Ehn is professor emeritus at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University, Sweden. He has for more than forty years been involved in the research field of collaborative and participatory design and in bridging design and information technology. Research projects include DEMOS from the seventies on information technology and work place democracy, UTOPIA from the eighties on user participation and skill based design, ATELIER from turn of the century on architecture and technology for creative environments, and during the last decade Malmö Living Labs, an open environment for democratic design experiments. His often collaborative publications include Emancipation and the Design of Information Systems (1974), Computers and Democracy (1987), Work-Oriented Design of Computer Artifacts (1988), Manifesto for a Digital Bauhaus (1998), Design Things (2011), Making Futures (2014) and Democratic Design Experiments (2015).

Smart Cities, Urban Informatics, and Sustainability: Challenges & Opportunities

Marcus Foth
Tuesday, 11 April, 2017 - 17:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Ubiquitous computing, mobile devices, and big data come together to give rise to a new urban paradigm being celebrated by many technology corporations and municipalities alike: the smart city. Yet, the general tenor of the current hype around smart cities is mainly about efficiency and productivity gains through automation and algorithmic analysis, and growth.

What evidence is there to suggest that the smart city can provide genuine answers to a number of wicked problems humanity faces?

In this talk, Professor Marcus Foth will dissect components that make up smart cities from cradle to grave and focus on the question of sustainability in cities. He will critically review examples and case studies with a view to widen the scope of the debate. Concluding remarks around co-creation, co-habitation and participatory governance beg further questions about not just the future of cities, but the future of deliberative democracy.

Short Bio:

Professor Marcus Foth is the director of the QUT Design Lab, founder and former director of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, and Professor in Interactive & Visual Design, School of Design, Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology. He is also an Honorary Professor in the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Marcus’ research focuses on the relationships between people, place and technology. He leads a cross-disciplinary team that develops practical approaches to complex urban problems. He adopts human-computer interaction and design methodologies to build engagement around emerging issues facing our cities. Marcus’ recent work has examined:

  • Urban planning – new approaches to community participation and engagement
  • Environmental sustainability – new strategies for energy monitoring in domestic settings
  • Food futures – new ideas to re-think eating, cooking and growing food in the city
  • Collaboration and co-working spaces – new aspirations for libraries in the 21st century

Marcus has received over $5 million in national competitive grants and industry funding. He received a Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award 2013, and was inducted by the planning, design and development site Planetizen to the world’s top 25 leading thinkers and innovators in the field of urban planning and technology.

Marcus has authored and co-authored over 170 publications in journals, edited books, and conference proceedings. He is the editor of the Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics (IGI 2009), co-author of Action Research and New Media (Hampton Press 2009), co-editor of From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen (MIT Press 2011), Eat, Cook, Grow: Mixing Human-Computer Interactions with Human-Food Interactions (MIT Press 2014), and Citizen’s Right to the Digital City (Springer, 2015). He was the co-chair of the Oxford Internet Institute’s Summer Doctoral Programme 2009, chair of OZCHI 2009, the 5th International Conference on Communities and Technologies (C&T) 2011, co-chair of FoodCHI 2014, and chair of Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2016.

Marcus has given invited talks at leading research institutions, including Aarhus University, MIT, Harvard, Emerson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Tsinghua University, University of Oxford, University of Manchester, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, University of Oulu, IT University of Copenhagen, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

Expressiveness and Immersion in multimodal virtual environments using sonic interaction design

Eduardo Magalhães
Thursday, 6 April, 2017 - 17:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Until recently, technological constraints kept sound as an often disregarded element in digital media such as games and immersive virtual environments. However the increasingly powerful hardware available enables new possibilities and allows for new strategies in emergent fields like sonic design interaction to create better immersive systems. In this context, our aim is to contribute with new methodologies and research technologies to foster immersion and expressiveness in multimodal virtual environments using sonic interaction design. This research project focuses on the creation of sound spaces, user interaction with those spaces and the meaning conveyed by sound in those specific contexts. This integrated approach aims at the development of sound tools that are capable of enhancing the listener’s sense of presence and immersion into the game environment.

Short Bio:

Graduated with Licentiate Degree from the Higher School for Music and Entertainment Arts (ESMAE), he earned his Master´s Degree in Multimedia- Interactive Music and Sound Design, by the Faculty of Engineering, at the University of Porto, where he is currently developing his Ph.D. Thesis in the field of exploration and sound interaction design for immersive virtual environments. He has developed his activity as a professor and researcher, having taken part in parallel projects of independent cinema, digital games, virtual reality, as well as in the production of musical projects, be they of music by his own authorship, or of other artists. He has also been involved in experimental projects such as sound installations and field recordings. He is currently lecturing at the Faculty of Engineering, by the University of Porto and at The University Lusófona.

Daniel Charny

The Power of Making
Wednesday, 5 April, 2017 - 17:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


'It seems we are in the midst of a great awakening of making, or even as some have declared the dawn of the next (maker driven?) industrial revolution.

The reality is that although most people can make, most people don’t. In fact fewer and fewer of us, especially those who live in cities, actually know how to make things they use, need or want. This is a dramatic and unfortunate legacy of the Industrial Revolution, which has shaped the world we live in. Distance and lack of understanding are impacting also on governments and educational institutions, which are failing to see that making needs to be part of our future.

Making is the universal infrastructure of production – be it technical or artistic, scientific or cultural. It is a type of applied thinking vital to creating new knowledge and like writing, making is a means to understand the world.’

In his talk, Professor Daniel Charny will draw on insights from twenty-five years deep involvement in design education and creative initiatives, such as Fixperts, Maker Library Network and the critically acclaimed Power of Making exhibition.

Short Bio:

Daniel Charny is an acclaimed curator and design educator deeply interested in the role of making in our future lives. He is creative director of the London based consultancy From Now On and co-founder director of the award winning social design initiative Fixperts. Charny is Professor of Design at Kingston University and guest Professor at KADK in Copenhagen, previously Senior Tutor at Royal College of Art. He is best known as curator of the Power of Making exhibition for the V&A museum and as creative director of the Maker Library Network for the British Council and founding director of the hardware incubator Central Research Laboratory. 

Photo credit ⓒ Kevin Davies 

Understanding human behavior with technology: challenges, tools & methods

Denzil Ferreira
Wednesday, 29 March, 2017 - 14:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Mobile phones have an increasing spectrum of built-in sensors, such as motion, light, atmospheric pressure. These sensors are primarily used to enhance the user experience with the device, such as detecting the screen orientation. More important for scientists, these sensors offer the potential to sense and reason about the user’s environment, or in other words, the user’s context. Mobile phones are the most widespread personal sensing device and provide an exciting opportunity for wider cross-disciplinary research to attain a better understanding of human behaviour by analysing the users’ unique context. 

Yet the biggest challenge in conducting user studies is the scientists’ need to build software and logging tools from scratch, often without proper development experience, over and over again. More critically, multidisciplinary research becomes increasingly challenging due to the diversity of applications and environments. Researchers have no infrastructure support for exchanging their expertise and to collaborate locally or remotely. In this talk, we introduce AWARE, a tool that focuses on an infrastructure for sensing behavioural and social context from mobile phones sensors, to enable a better understanding of human and social behaviour, and to improve users’ understanding of their own quality of life. More importantly, it is a platform that supports reuse and sharing of mobile-based behavioural and social context and researchers’ expertise.

Short Bio:

Ferreira’s research focus is on utilising mobile instrumentation (e.g., wearables, smartphones, ambient displays, deployable sensors) to better understand human behavior and social wellbeing. Ferreira leads the Community Instrumentation and Awareness (CIA) research group, and acts as the Vice-Director of the Center for Ubiquitous Computing at the University of Oulu. Ferreira also teaches two classes: Mobile and Social Computing, and Human-Computer Interaction, part of the curriculum of U. Oulu’s International MSc. in Ubiquitous Computing. During his PhD, Ferreira created and released AWARE, a toolkit in use today by hundreds of researchers worldwide.

The EMPATIA project. From single democratic innovations to multi-channel participatory systems.

Michelangelo Secchi
Wednesday, 15 March, 2017 - 14:30
CTP lab @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Democratic Innovations — institutions specifically designed to increase and deepen citizen participation in the political decision-making process as for example the Participatory Budgeting, Participatory Urban Planning, Citizen Assemblies, etc. — have become a ubiquitous feature of policymaking and governance building at EU level. 

Even if for decades the technology of DIs was carried out through “traditional” off-line means of participation (meetings, Focus Groups assemblies, etc.), with the recent consolidation of the network society, it has been progressively contaminated by the emergence of a new set of ICT-based participatory innovations, coming both from the public (e-government and e-democracy solutions) and private sectors (civic media, social collaborative networks, etc.).

Such a rapid growth and diffusion of DDI's emphasized a number of issues and contradictions boosted by the multiplication and mismatches between off-line and on-line channels of participation. While opening opportunities for a better integration between different processes and spaces of participation, the digitization also multiplied redundancy, produced fragmentation and created new explicit and implicit barriers to the actual engagement of inhabitants and organized stakeholders in public policy making. 

The EMPATIA project, launched in 2016 and funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, aims to research, develop, test and disseminate innovative approaches and consistent ICT solutions for the design and management of multi-channel PB processes. 

This presentation will focus on the main topics covered by EMPATIA, presenting both scientific and technical results achieved after the first year. 


Short bio:

Michelangelo Secchi is a research fellow at the Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He has been working for more than ten years as Public Sector consultant on the design and implementation of citizen engagement processes and participatory governance strategies. . Recently he has been working as expert on stakeholder engagement in EU funded projects in the area of international development (EUROPEAID) and Smart Cities (National and Regional Structural Funds in Italy – PON REC Smart City). Since 2016 he is coordinating for CES the research activity of the CAPS project EMPATIA funded by the EC Horizon 2020 program.

“The design is right and the right design” – How to measure and theorize “right” in HCI and Software Engineering?

Ahmed Seffah
Monday, 13 March, 2017 - 11:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


In this keynote, we will show how to improve the practices of interactive software and user interfaces design, by applying lessons from various fields of design to the co-creation of interactive software products, systems and services. The goal is to create software that works – really works, meaning we can measure it works, usable, profitable yet secure, resilient and sustainable – in being appropriate and effective for people who live in the world that the software creates. Beyond the “cook-books of the HCI gurus” and the large diversity of HCI design patterns, guidelines and principles, the talk will highlight the the importance of the qualities, properties and quantities that quantify the quality of software systems from the human perspective. How to measure the “right”, “the old user friendly,” the past usability, the today quality of user experience and the tomorrow sustainability. How to ground measures of HCI in the general theory of software quality and measurement.  What we can learn from the successful stories and history of measurement in many fields: medical sciences, engineering, and even from natural and hearth sciences?

Short Bio:

Ahmed Seffah is a professor of Human-Centric Software Engineering and HCI at Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland. Previously, he was a professor and Concordia research chair on human-centered software engineering at Concordia University as well a visiting professor in more than 10 universities and research Centre including IBM, University of Lausanne, Daimler Chrysler and the Computer research institute of Montreal. Professor Seffah co-authored five books, the last one on the “Patterns of HCI Design Patterns and the HCI Design of Patterns.” His main research is to understanding those HCI and interactive software systems design, software usability, user-centric engineering, UX design practices and all similar ones within the wider software and systems engineering processes. Most visible contributions of his work are on the gaps and bridges between design science practices and software engineering methodologies such as agile, model-driven and service-oriented while building a theories of human-centric software engineering.