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Alex Wilkie is a sociologist of science, technology and design as well as a  practice-led design researcher. 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 in the Department of Sociology.

New in paperback and ebook: Inventing the Social.
Published by Mattering Press.

New in paperback and ebook: Energy Babble.
Published by Mattering Press.

New in paperback: Studio Studies: Operations, Topologies & Displacements. Published by Routledge.

Out now in hardback: Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures. 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. Alex brings these various commitments to bear on a number of theoretical, substantive and methodological concerns that address questions of aesthetics, constructivist thought, futures, human-computer interaction, knowledge, participation, speculative reasoning and technology in more-than-human sociality.

In collaboration with scholars in STS and sociology, Alex has published three 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 that can be traced through the work of William James, Henri Bergson, Alfred North Whitehead, John Dewey, Gilles Deleuze and more recently, Isabelle Stengers.

The third, Inventing the Social (edited with Noortje Marres and Michael Guggenheim), presents recent efforts to develop new ways of knowing society that combine social research and creative practice as, in part, a means to move beyond the performative idiom and critique of representationalism that has preoccupied much recent social theory. Here, the notion of invention operates as a demand to engage with the inherent creativity of social life, and the reflexive participation of social research in processes of sociality, rather than a narrow view of social phenomena as engineered by knowledge practices.

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 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, in collaboration with Tobie Kerridge, Alex set-up 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-Design; Design IssuesDesign Research Society;  Environment 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; Sociological Research Online , Space as Culture, and; The Sociological Review.

Journal

Inventing the Social published by Mattering Press

The edited volume ‘Inventing the Social‘ edited by Noortje Marres, Michael Guggenheim and myself has been published by Mattering Press. The book “showcases recent efforts to develop new ways of knowing society that combine social research with creative practice. With contributions from leading figures in sociology, architecture, geography, design, anthropology, and digital media, the book …

Energy Babble book published by Mattering Press

The book ‘Energy Babble‘, authored by Andy Boucher, Bill Gaver, Tobie Kerridge, Mike Michael, Liliana Ovalle, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, and myself, has been published by Mattering Press. The book tells “the story of a set of computational devices called Energy Babbles. The product of a collaboration between designers and STS researchers, Energy Babbles are like automated talk …

Publications

Books

Marres, N. Guggenheim, M. Wilkie, A. (2018) Inventing the Social. Mattering Press. Manchester. ISBN (ebook): 978-0-9955277-6-8, ISBN (Paperback): 978-0-9955277-5-1

Boucher, A., Gaver, B., Kerridge, T., Michael, M., Ovalle, L., Plummer-Fernandez, M., Wilkie, A. (2018) Energy BabbleMattering Press. Manchester. ISBN: (ebook) 978-0-9955277-3-7, ISBN (Paperback): 978-0-9955277-2-0

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

Book Chapters

Wilkie, A. (Forthcoming). How well does ANT equip designers for socio-material speculations? In Blok, A. Farías, I. & Roberts, C. (Forthcoming) The Routledge companion to actor-network theory. Routledge, London; New York.

Marres, N. Guggenheim, M. Wilkie, A. (2018) Introduction: From performance to inventing the social. In Inventing the Social. Marres, N. Guggenheim, M. Wilkie, A. (2018). Mattering Press. ISBN (ebook): 978-0-9955277-6-8, ISBN (Paperback): 978-0-9955277-5-1

Kimbell, L. Guggenheim, M. Marres, N. Wilkie, A. (2018) Inventive tensions: A conversation. In Inventing the Social. Marres, N. Guggenheim, M. Wilkie, A. (2018). Mattering Press. ISBN (ebook): 978-0-9955277-6-8, ISBN (Paperback): 978-0-9955277-5-1

Wilkie, A. (2018) 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. ISBN-10: 1138886874, ISBN-13: 978-1138886872

Wilkie, A. (2018) Studios, problems, publics. in Boucher, A., Gaver, B., Kerridge, T., Michael, M., Ovalle, L., Plummer-Fernandez, M., Wilkie, A. (2018) Energy Babble. Mattering Press. Manchester. ISBN: (ebook) 978-0-9955277-3-7, ISBN (Paperback): 978-0-9955277-2-0

Wilkie, A. (2018) Sound design. in Boucher, A., Gaver, B., Kerridge, T., Michael, M., Ovalle, L., Plummer-Fernandez, M., Wilkie, A. (2018) Energy Babble. Mattering Press. Manchester. ISBN: (ebook) 978-0-9955277-3-7, ISBN (Paperback): 978-0-9955277-2-0

Wilkie, A. (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. ISBN: 9781138693746

Wilkie, A., Michael, M. (2018) Designing and doing: Enacting energy and community. in Inventing the Social. Marres, N. Guggenheim, M. Wilkie, A. (2018). Mattering Press. ISBN (ebook): 978-0-9955277-3-7, ISBN (Paperback): 978-0-9955277-5-1

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. ISBN: 9781138688360

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. ISBN: 9781138688360

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. ISBN: 9781138688360

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. ISBN: 9781138688360

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. ISBN: 9781138688360

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. ISBN: 9781138688360

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

Michael, M. Wilkie, A. Ovalle, L. (2018). ‘Aesthetics and Affect: Engaging Energy CommunitiesScience as Culture. 10.1080/09505431.2018.1490709, 1-25.

Wilkie, A., Farías, I., & Sánchez Criado, T. (2018). Por una estética especulativa de la descripción: Entrevista a Alex Wilkie. Entrevistadores: I. Farías, & T. Sánchez Criado. Diseña, (12), 70-87. Doi: 10.7764/disena.12.70-87.

Wilkie, A., Farías, I., & Sánchez Criado, T. (2018). For a Speculative Aesthetics of Description: Interview with Alex Wilkie. Interviewers: I. Farías, & T. Sánchez Criado. Diseña, (12), 70-87. Doi: 10.7764/disena.12.70-87.

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.

Wilkie, A. (2011) Some notes Towards Speculative Design & Science and Technology Studies. Keynote Lecture, Design & the Social. Centre for Co-Design Research, The Danish Design School, Copenhagen.

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.

Patents

Raptopoulos, A. Klein, V. Rothwell, N. Morris, I. Wilkie, A. (2005) Electronic sound screening system and method of accoustically improving the environment. US20050254663A1.