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Alex Wilkie is a sociologist of science, technology and design as well as a designer. He is a Senior Lecturer in Design at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is also a Co-Director of the Centre for Invention and Social Process.

New in hardback: Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures (edited with Martin Savransky and Marsha Rosengarten) published by Routledge.

Biography

Alex Wilkie is a Senior Lecturer in Design at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work combines aspects of science and technology studies, ethnography, empirical and experimental design research as well as social theory that are brought to bear on a number of theoretical, substantive and methodological cares and concerns that address questions and politics of aesthetics, constructivist thought, futures, human-computer interaction, knowledge, participation, speculative reasoning and technology in more-than-human sociality.

In collaboration with scholars in science and technology studies and sociology, Alex has published two volumes that aim to open up new domains for theoretically driven empirical and experimental research. The first, Studio Studies (edited with Ignacio Farías) takes inspiration from laboratory studies to set out a programme for the ethnographic study of studio practices and situated ‘creativity’. In doing so, the aim is to acknowledge and examine the studio as a critical site for the production of the new and the politics this entails. The second, Speculative Research (edited with Martin Savransky and Marsha Rosengarten), is an invitation for scholars and practitioners to take up the challenge of speculative thought to cultivate alternate ways of thinking and making futures. In contrast to other approaches to the speculative, this edited collection takes as its point of departure a particular lineage of thought than can be traced through the work of William James, Henri Bergson, Alfred North Whitehead, John Dewey, Gilles Deleuze and more recently, Isabelle Stengers.

Alex is also engaged in a longstanding collaboration with the sociologist of science and technology Mike Michael in developing sociological accounts of design practice as well as devising theoretically informed approaches to interdisciplinary engagements between science and technology studies and experimental design research. This work cuts across various interplays between sociology and design, including developments in actor-network theory, the sociology of expectations, public engagement with science and technology, speculative thought and aesthetics as well as the politics of design.

At Goldsmiths, Alex is a co-Director of the Centre of Invention and Social Process (née Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process) alongside Marsha Rosengarten and Michael Guggenheim. Since being founded by Andrew Barry and opened by Bruno Latour in 2003, the centre, hosted by the Department of Sociology, has played an active and distinctive role in contributing to the development of science and technology studies as well as sociological research more broadly. Here, the focus on ‘invention’ as both a topic and approach for scholarly practitioners relates to questions around newness and the approaches of how to grasp the new that are not indifferent to its emergence. The centre has been directed by a variety of scholars including Andrew Barry, Mariam Motamedi Fraser, Mike Michael and Noortje Marres.

In the Department of Design, Alex is both the Director of Research and the Director of the PhD programme in Design Studies. His teaching spans studio-based practice as well as seminars and lectures where he draws together social and cultural research, science and technology studies and design. In 2014, and in collaboration with Tobie Kerridge, Alex setup and led a Masters programme with an explicit emphasis on the interdisciplinary combination of design practice and science and technology studies. Alex has also been a member of the Interaction Research Studio since 2006 where he has worked on numerous practice-led design research projects, notably Energy and Co-Designing Communities.

Prior to Goldsmiths, Alex gained a Masters in Computer Related Design from the Royal College of Art (1997–1999) and subsequently worked as a Designer in Residence as part of the Design and Media Research Fellowship at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht – possibly the first design and science and technology studies collaborative research project. Working alongside Noortje Marres and Richard Rogers amongst others, Alex was involved in developing and designing the first digital tools and methods (e.g. the Issuecrawler) for mapping knowledge politics and controversy on the web. Alex gained his PhD in Sociology at Goldsmiths in 2010 where he was examined by Lucy Suchman and Matthew Fuller. This research centered on an ethnographic field study of the practices of user-centered designers in the field of human-computer interaction and the role of users as human and non-humans therein. His research was financially supported by a Whitehead Scholarship and an EPSRC doctoral training grant.

Alex has peer-reviewed for the following scientific journals, conferences, publishers and organisations: Annals of the Association of American Geographers;  Co-DesignEnvironment and Planning AEnvironment and Planning D; Microsoft ResearchMIT Press; The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific ResearchParseScience, Technology & Human Values; Social Studies of Science; Science as Culture; SIGCHI; Design Research Society; Sociological Research Online and The Sociological Review.

Journal

Speculative Research Day & Book Launch

To celebrate the recent publication of Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures (Routledge, edited by Alex Wilkie, Martin Savransky, and Marsha Rosengarten), this event co-organised by The Unit of Play and the Centre for Invention and Social Process will bring many of the authors in the collection as well as other international scholars together for a day-long, experimental …

Publications

Books

Wilkie, A. Savransky, M. Rosengarten, M.  (2017) Speculative Research: The lure of  possible futuresCRESC Series, Routledge, London; New York, NY. ISBN: 9781138688360

Farías, I. Wilkie, A. (2015) Studio studies: Operations, topologies & displacements. CRESC Series, Routledge, London; New York, NY. ISBN: 9781138798717

Boucher, A., Gaver, B., Kerridge, T., Michael, M., Ovalle, L., Plummer-Fernandez, M., Wilkie, A. (In press, 2017) Energy Babble. Mattering Press. Manchester.

Marres, N. Guggenheim, M. Wilkie, A. (Forthcoming, 2017) Inventing the Social. Mattering Press. Manchester.

Book Chapters

Wilkie, A. (Forthcoming) Speculating. in Lury, C., Clough, P., Chung, U., Fensham, R., Lammes, S., Last, A., Michael, M., & Uprichard E. Routledge handbook of interdisciplinary research methods (Routledge International Handbooks). Routledge, London; New York, NY.

Wilkie, A. (In press, 2017) Studios, problems, publics. in Boucher, A., Gaver, B., Kerridge, T., Michael, M., Ovalle, L., Plummer-Fernandez, M., Wilkie, A. (Forthcoming, 2017) Energy Babble. Mattering Press. Manchester.

Wilkie, A. (In press, 2017) Sound design. in Boucher, A., Gaver, B., Kerridge, T., Michael, M., Ovalle, L., Plummer-Fernandez, M., Wilkie, A. (Forthcoming, 2017) Energy Babble. Mattering Press. Manchester.

Wilkie, A. (Forthcoming, 2017) Prototyping as event: Designing the future of obesity. in Corsin Jimenez, A. (ed). Prototyping cultures: Art, science and politics in beta. Routledge, London; New York, NY.

Wilkie, A., Michael, M. (Forthcoming, 2017) Designing and doing: Enacting energy and community. in Inventing the Social. Marres, N. Guggenheim, M. Wilkie, A. (Forthcoming) Inventing the Social. Mattering Press.

Wilkie, A., Rosengarten, M., Savransky, M. (2017) Speculative techniques (section introduction). in Wilkie, A. Savransky, M. Rosengarten, M.  (2017) Speculative Research: The lure of the possibleCRESC Series, Routledge, London; New York, NY.

Savransky, M., Rosengarten, M., Wilkie, A. (2017) Speculative propositions (section introduction). in Wilkie, A. Savransky, M. Rosengarten, M.  (2017) Speculative Research: The lure of the possibleCRESC Series, Routledge, London; New York, NY.

Rosengarten, M., Savransky, M., Wilkie, A. (2017) Speculative lures (section introduction). in Wilkie, A. Savransky, M. Rosengarten, M.  (2017) Speculative Research: The lure of the possibleCRESC Series, Routledge, London; New York, NY.

Savransky, M., Wilkie, A., Rosengarten, M. (2017) Speculative implications (section introduction). in Wilkie, A. Savransky, M. Rosengarten, M.  (2017) Speculative Research: The lure of the possibleCRESC Series, Routledge, London; New York, NY.

Wilkie, A. Michael, M. (2017) Doing speculation to curtail speculation. in Wilkie, A. Savransky, M. Rosengarten, M.  (2017) Speculative Research: The lure of the possibleCRESC Series, Routledge, London; New York, NY.

Savransky, M. Wilkie, A. Rosengarten, M. (2017) The lure of possible futures: On speculative research. in Wilkie, A. Savransky, M. Rosengarten, M.  (2017) Speculative Research: The lure of the possibleCRESC Series, Routledge, London; New York, NY.

Farías, I., Wilkie, A. (2015) Studio studies: notes for a research programme. in  Studio Studies: Operations, Topologies & Displacements. Farías, I. Wilkie, A. (eds). CRESC Series, Routledge, London; New York, NY. ISBN: 978-1-13-879871-7

Born, G., Wilkie, A. (2015) Temporalities, aesthetics and the studio: an interview with Georgina Born. in  Studio Studies: Operations, Topologies & Displacements. Farías, I. Wilkie, A. (eds). CRESC Series, Routledge, London; New York, NY. ISBN: 978-1-13-879871-7

Wilkie, A., Mattozzi, A. (2014). ‘Learning Design Through Social Science‘. About Learning and Design, Eds. Camuffo, G., Dalla Mura, M., Mattozzi, A. University of Bolzano Press. ISBN: 978-88-6046-067-7.

Journal Articles

Wilkie, A., Michael, M., Plummer-Fernandez, M. (2014) ‘Speculative Method and Twitter: Bots, Energy and Three Conceptual Characters’, Sociological Review. DOI: 10.1111/1467-954X.12168

Wilkie, A (2013). Prototyping as Event: Designing the Future of Obesity. Journal of Cultural Economy. DOI:10.1080/17530350.2013.859631.

Wilkie, A. (2011). Regimes of Design, Logics of UsersAthenea Digital, Volume 11, Number 1, pp. 317-334

Wilkie, A., Gaver, W., Hemment, D. and G. Giannachi (2010) Creative Assemblages: Organisation and Outputs of Practice-led Research. Leonardo, Volume 43, Number 1, February 2010, pp. 98-99

Wilkie, A. Michael, M. (2009) Expectation and Mobilisation: Enacting future users. Science, Technology and Human Values,Vol. 34, No. 4, 502-522. DOI: 10.1177/1054773804271935

Marres, N. Wilkie, A. (1999) Remote/Involved: Highlights from Outer Space.If/Then: Design Implications of New Media. (eds) Abraham, J. Netherlands Design Institute. ISBN-10: 9072007522

Conference Papers & Invited Lectures

Wilkie, A. (2016). Energy and Aesthetic Experience: Engaging Communities of Despair. In 4S/EASST 2016: Science and technology by other means: Exploring collectives, spaces and futures. Barcelona. Friday 2nd September.

Wilkie, A. (2016). Introduction: Aesthetics, Cosmopolitics and Design. In: P. Lloyd & E. Bohemia, eds., Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society – Future-Focused Thinking, Volume 3, pp 873-879, DOI 10.21606/drs.2016.509, ISSN 2398-3132.

Gaver, W., M. Michael, T. Kerridge, A. Wilkie, A. Boucher, L. Ovalle, and M. Plummer-Fernandez (2015) ‘Energy Babble: Mixing Environmentally-Oriented Internet Content to Engage Community Groups’. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2015.

Wilkie, A., Michael, M., Plummer-Fernandez, M. (2014) ‘Speculative Method and Twitter: Bots, Energy and Three Conceptual Characters’. British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2014, University of Leeds Wednesday 23 – Friday 25 April 2014.

Gaver, W., Boucher, A., Bowers, J., Blythe, M., Jarvis, N., Cameron, D., Kerridge, T., Wilkie, A., Phillips, R., Wright, P., (2011). The photostroller: supporting diverse care home residents in engaging with the world, in: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. pp. 1757–1766.

Wilkie, A. (2010). Prototyping the Prospects of Obesity. In: Prototyping Cultures: Social Experimentation, Do‐It‐Yourself Science and Beta‐Knowledge. Spanish National Research Council, Madrid 4‐5 November 2010.

Wilkie, A. (2010). Participation, Translation & Accountability. In: Making and Opening: Entangling Design and Social Science. Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom.

Wilkie, A. (2010). Enacting Users, Mediating Publics. In: EASST 2010: Practicing Science and Technology, Performing the Social. Trento, Italy.

Wilkie, A. and Ward, M. (2009). ‘Made in Criticalland: Designing Matters of Concern ‘. In: Networks of Design., Falmouth, United Kingdom.

Wilkie, A. (August 2008) Prototyping Health Care Users. Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) and European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) 2008 Joint Annual Meeting, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Gaver, W. Boucher, A. Law, A, Pennington, S. Bowers, J. Beaver, J. Humble, J. Kerridge, T. Villar, N. Wilkie, A. (2008) Threshold Devices: Looking Out From the HomeConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. Florence, Italy.

Wilkie, A. Michael, M. (June 2007) Colonizing the Spectrum: Enacting Future UsersNegotiating the FutureCentre for Technology Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.

Wilkie, A. Michael, M. (March 2007) Colonizing the Spectrum: Enacting Future Users. Market, Economics, Culture and Performativity. Goldsmiths, University of London.