Gender and Uncertainties – glimpses from the Summer School 2021

The Fifth International Summer School on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) held in Como, Italy gave us an opportunity to deepen our understanding of CSCW as a research field. The experienced scholars of CSCW focused on building the understanding of collaborative work practices and the design of artefacts supporting collaboration that have become pervasive in many scientific, business, and social discourses.

The first day of our school started with the big question by Ina Wagner “Is Gender a CSCW concept?.” This brought a larger debate to elaborate the theoretical foundation of everyone’s research discipline and reflect on the methods and outcomes of field studies commonly applied in the investigation process. Kjeld Schmidt shared how the foundation of CSCW emerged from the practical issues with collaboration technologies.

Following through the days, we discussed various empirical uncertainties with Nina Boulus-Rødje and Dave Randall commonly faced in field work. These sessions helped in understanding how these empirical uncertainties can turned into knowledge providers which are not only limited to CSCW research area. Based on the lesson learned from field work, Carla Simone emphasized the use the technology to preserve and leverage the differences observed in work practices. These discussions were continued in Antonella De Angeli interactive sessions to apply user research in design and think through gender representation in design. These interactive sessions helped in understanding if gender is an important voice to be heard in CSCW. In the end, Luigina Ciolfi discussed the common challenges faced by PhD students and gave strategies to overcome them.

The CSCW 2021 summer school was an exciting and engaging event that was well guided by the goals and core values that the organizers had outlined for this year’s event. Each session facilitated the synchronous intellectual and social experiences we have all come to expect at CSCW, while opening opportunities for ongoing asynchronous interaction before, during, and after this year’s summer school.

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