IISIInternational Institute for Socio-Informatics

2018 EUSSET-IISI Lifetime Achievement Award to Dave Randall

Dave Randall was born in the West Country in the UK in 1950 in a working-class family - his father was a welder - and he was one of 6 children. He graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury with a degree in sociology in 1971 and got a postgraduate certificate of education from Keele in 1973. After this he spent many years working as a schoolteacher. However, being more than ready for a change, he pounced on an opportunity to do a masters course at Lancaster University in 1988, which he passed with distinction. It was at this time that he made the acquaintance of John Hughes, who readily spotted his talents, and he went on to become one of the key members of the Lancaster School of CSCW. During his time at Lancaster he was involved in some of the great formative studies in CSCW, producing papers that have become cornerstones of the literature. He worked on the original Air Traffic Control studies and was also one of the researchers involved in a range of influential studies of retail banking. Through his involvement in the work at Lancaster, he became one of the key figures involved in working out how ethnography might contribute to the design community, something he has been building upon ever since. In 1992 he was offered the chance to take a full-time position as a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he stayed until 2011. When Dave retired from this position he remained extremely active in the community, taking on a Senior Professor position at the University of Siegen almost immediately, as well as a Visiting Professorship at Linnaeus University in Sweden, and a range of consultancy contracts across Europe, in Brazil and in Japan.

Dave has published and co-authored a number of excellent books including Retail Finance and Organisational Change, Fieldwork and Design, and a recent book critiquing rational choice theory entitled Choice. He also played a key role in bringing together the series of essays contained in another recently published book entitled Socio-informatics - on the use and design of IT artefacts. He has written and published an impressively large number of journal and conference papers, reports, and book chapters, putting most of his colleagues to shame. Nor are these incidental and low-level papers. Many of them have been profoundly influential and have served to shape research agendas, including his work on organizational memory and, most particularly, his extensive oeuvre that examines the role of ethnography in design. He has also served on numerous conference programme committees as an AC, an SC or a chair. And all of this is aside from the huge volume of work he’s done as a reviewer and an editor along the way. Together with Mark Rouncefield and Richard Bentley he systematically ran tutorials on the use of ethnography at CSCW and ECSCW from 1992 to 1999 and has continued to provide such tutorials and masterclasses to the community ever since. And none of this begins to touch the role he has played as a lecturer over the years. Dave has a lively intellect and he’s interested in virtually everything. He has a phenomenal capacity to listen to anyone and send them away feeling better about what they are doing and he exhibits a tireless attention to bringing people on. He is a natural pedagogue with a remarkable ability to engage students, but his particular gift is to engage people in seemingly incidental, but profoundly inspirational conversations. Numerous people have benefited from his advice over the years and long may they continue to do so.

2017 EUSSET-IISI Lifetime Achievement Award to Mark Ackerman

Mark Ackerman's influence in the CSCW community can be traced back to his work in the Answer Garden projects and the seminal papers related to it. This work opened the research field of knowledge sharing from a CSCW/practice perspective, with a distinct socio-technical approach which was not only sensitive to but also able to overcome many problems of the mainstream positivist approach to Knowledge Management. Already the Answer Garden work show features that have characterized  his whole career: development of novel concepts to describe and understand a new phenomenon; construction of innovative computer systems based on those concepts and experimenting with them; and high-quality ethnographies of real-life complex settings both to inform the concept formation and to see what happens in real life when new systems are actually used. Such a "complete" approach is not for reaping rapid benefits; it needs long-term committment and resources. Correspondingly, the development of such an approach needs both a vision and skills, capability and dedication to realize the vision, and such a combination is scarce.

Mark has been publishing actively, and a significant number of his papers are been well received and cited around the world, making him one of the most cited researchers within the CSCW community. His influence is not limited to CSCW, but he can be seen in general as one of the best known academics pursuing a practice-based approach to human-centered computing.

Mark has also been working tirelessly for the research community both in editorial and chairing roles in a number of central journals and conferences, and as a permanent reviewer and PC member for all central publication forums. In particular he has served as an important bridge between European and US research communities.

2015 EUSSET-IISI Lifetime Achievement Award to Susanne Bødker and Christian Heath

Susanne Bødker and Christian Heath have been and are two central figures in shaping a research agenda for the design of socially embedded technologies over a number of years. They represent two lines of research which each had a tremendous influence on the European CSCW tradition. Susanne represents the Participatory Design tradition and Christian the interaction analytic approach in ethnomethodology.

Susanne Bødker’s influence in the CSCW community can be traced back to her work in the Utopia project - the seminal approach to worker-oriented design of collaborative technologies in the printing industries. Strongly influenced by Kristen Nygaard’s approach to critical computing, Susanne and her colleagues set an agenda for participatory design within the CSCW community, an agenda that continues to have a powerful influence. Her work within the Scandinavian School of participatory design offered a radically new approach to design practices in the field of computing by recognizing the political nature of design and the importance of ‘taking sides’ in that politics. Equally importantly, Susanne was one of the first researchers to recognize the need for a new theoretical and conceptual base in relation to a new computing paradigm. Along with others, she applied the theoretical lens of activity theory to the analysis of and designing for cooperative work. Her widely cited PhD thesis: “Through the interface” represents a major theoretical contribution to the field of human centered computing.

Susanne has also played a major role in the institutional setting of our field. She represents a research environment that has been very active in disseminating the empirical and conceptual contributions made by the fields of CSCW, PD and HCI by energetic support for conferences and meetings which are vital to the building of a research community that combines computer science with the social sciences. Through a large number of conferences (the decennial Århus conferences, ECSCW and PD conferences), and a generous use of visiting positions, she has contributed to the large international network of CSCW/HCI/PD researchers around the world.

Christian Heath’s influence in the CSCW community can be traced back at least to the seminal papers written with Paul Luff on collaborative work in the London Underground. These papers set an agenda for CSCW research in more than one way. Firstly, they had a profound methodological importance in that they were probably the first examples of the use of video for investigation. It is easy to forget what a revolutionary step this was at the time. Nevertheless, largely due to that path-breaking work, video analysis is now routinely embedded in areas like interaction analysis; user experience design; ethnographic work, and so on.

Secondly, and no less importantly, these papers had huge analytic consequences. For the first time, we had a clear statement of the importance of timeliness and elegance in cooperative and coordinative work and a demonstration of how that interactional elegance can, with careful study, be recognised in the most subtle of glances, gestures and gazes. The point here is that economy, ecology and elegance are visible features of the local rationality that members exhibit. Sophisticated video analytic, conversation analytic and ethnographic techniques are used here to reveal something to us of the ‘resources, practices and reasoning’ that are brought to bear on the emerging situation. Such matters turn out to be hugely consequential in the effective design of cooperative technologies. Following the London Underground study, Heath’s group at King College has, inter alia, studied museums and art galleries; medical work; optometry; architectural practice; command and control centers, and public science. The group has also published a number of important books outlining approaches to workplace studies, including Video in Qualitative Research (2010), Technology in Action (2000) and Workplace Studies (2000).

Christian’s overall contribution to research is by no means limited to technological matters. His book, Dynamics of Auction (2013), is a study of auction rooms which deals in fine arts and antiques. It is a brilliant example of how descriptions of work practices can challenge the orthodoxies of economic theory.

2013 EUSSET-IISI Lifetime Achievement Award to Liam Bannon and Kjeld Schmidt

Kjeld Schmidt and Liam Bannon were largely responsible for the creation and development of European CSCW research as a distinctive research arena, one in which attention to practice became regarded as fundamental to the design of socio-technical systems. Both have made a foundational contribution to the critical challenge that this European perspective has brought to design thinking. Not least, they have established and maintained a level of scholarship that is seldom equalled in the interdisciplinary arena. They were jointly and separately influential in the establishing of the both well-regarded and influential CSCW journal, of which Professor Schmidt has been the long- standing editor, and of the biennial ECSCW conference series. Their continued influence is evidenced by the enviable number of citations attached to a wide- ranging set of papers that they have contributed, separately and together, to CSCW and HCI. Their clarity of thought and purpose  has been an inspiration to a generation of scholars and practitioners.

Liam Bannon was born in 1953 in Dublin, Ireland, and studied psychology and computer science at University College, Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin, followed by a PhD in experimental psychology from the University of Western Ontario, Canada in 1981. An early interest in artificial intelligence in the 70’s was replaced by the study of human factors in computing in the 80’s. He worked with Don Norman’s group at UCSD in the early days of the HCI field, stressing the role of the computer as a communication and collaboration tool/medium, and then came to Scandinavia in the late 80’s to learn about Scandinavian approaches to participatory design, working mainly at Aarhus University. Liam has also worked at a large number of research institutes and Universities  in the US and Europe over the years. From 1993-2009, Liam worked at the University of Limerick, Ireland, as Professor and Founding Director of the Interaction Design Centre. He has articulated an approach to human-centred design based on augmentation rather than substitution as an alternative to the prevailing "ambient intelligence" paradigm.   

Kjeld Schmidt was born in 1945 in Esbjerg, Denmark. Initially a software programmer (1965-72), he was awarded the MSc degree in sociology from the University of Lund, Sweden, in 1974. After a decade of research focusing on processes of socio-economic transformation, he decided in 1985 to devote his energies to the — then only emerging — area of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), first as a researcher in private industry but from 1989 at Risø National Laboratory. From 1998, he has held faculty positions at universities in the Copenhagen area and is now professor of Work, Organization, and Technology at Copenhagen Business School. — Schmidt has been the Editor-in-Chief of the CSCW Journal since 1992. His main scholarly contributions to CSCW have been centered on what can be termed its conceptual foundations. In this line of work, he has, for example, contributed to the clarification of key concepts such as ‘work’, ‘cooperative work’, ‘awareness’, ‘knowledge’, and ‘practice’. In his technology-oriented research, he has been deeply involved in the development of computational technologies that will enable ordinary workers to express and execute the protocols of their coordinative practices such as workflows and classification schemes in a fully distributed and flexible manner.

2011 EUSSET-IISI Lifetime Achievement Award to Ms. Prof. Dr. Christiane Floyd

Floyd received the EUSSET-IISI Lifetime Achievement Award especially for the following merits:

  • Development of an alternative research paradigm in the field of software engineering which has opened the thitherto dominantly limited to technological questions discourse for socio-informatic questions
  • Inclusion of cybernetics as a second order (self-organization theory) in theorizing of informatics
  • Engagement concerning the development of international course offerings and PhD programs in socio-informatics, especially of the international Woman’s University and a PhD program at the University of Addis Abeba.
  • Long lasting political engagement for a user-friendly design of the information society, especially in the forum ‘Computer Scientists for Peace and Social Responsibility’ (FIfF).

Born 1943 in Vienna, Christiane Floyd started her mathematic studies at the University of Vienna in 1961 and received the doctor’s degree in 1966. In 1968, she worked as scientific assistant at the Stanford University alongside the development of an Algol-60-Compiler for the Siemens Central Laboratory in Munich. Later, she became leader of the field ‘method development‘ at Softlab in Munich. In 1975 she presented the first worldwide development environment called Maestro I at the Siemens trade fair. As the first woman in the German-speaking area, she began her career as professor at the Faculty of Informatics at the TU Berlin in 1978. In 1991, the University of Hamburg called – and she started to lead the field of software technology (SWT) at the Faculty of Informatics. One of the essential achievements of her work was the STEPS process model understanding software development as an evolutionary activity which involves user in the design process. Concerning the conceptual foundation of such a social embedded understanding of software engineering, Floyd reverted to the theory of self-organized systems.