Friday, May 26, 2006

NomadS Seminar: Supporting Mobile Work: Approaches to designing technology

On Thursday, MAy 25th, the NomadS project hosted an open seminar: "Supporting Mobile Work: Approaches to designing technology". The seminar was aimed at discussing how the design of novel technological tools could improve the lives of "nomadic" workers. The seminar was sponsored by the NomadS through its funding bodies, Science Foundation Ireland and IRCSET. The seminar saw presentations of the work conducted on NomadS, and the participation of an invited speaker: Dr. Monika Buscher, University of Lancaster (UK).

Monika is an ethnomethodologist, ethnographer and designer interested in the study of people's practical action and the design of innovative technologies. She works with landscape architects, health professionals, patients, software designers, industrial designers, and sociologists, currently in a project called PalCom, which is part of the EU’s 6th Framework Programme.

Monika's talk was entitled "Extreme nomads: Mobility and embodied conduct in emergency teamwork".
Emergency situations demand fast, effective creation/preparation/maintenance of many different work places and connecting routes under often extremely chaotic conditions. It requires collaboration between diverse actors. Police, fire services, and medical personnel need to secure the scene, create access routes and ensure they are kept free, categorise, treat and transport victims, handle hazardous materials or deal with contamination, and coordinate work with emergency service personnel in emergency vehicles, dispatch centres, and hospitals. Communication is crucial, but often difficult under immense time pressure, in extremely complex and often dangerous settings. Embodied conduct plays a crucial role for communication and the coordination of mobility and the creation/preparation/maintenance of workplaces and routes. In this paper I discuss ethnographic observations from training exercises for major incidents and some prototypes for technological support for communication and coordination in emergency situations with a focus on the role of embodied conduct.

Thanks to all who participated!


It's been a good day. Interesting seminar from Nomands project.
We all need to start to prepare [realise] that the IDC this autumn will be a different place, as almost half of the postgrads finish or bugger off. My ultimate fear is that I'll be the only techie left. I'll have nobody to talk to [or few].
Perhaps I should get a real job and develop Irish Homeland Security ;-)