AHO PhD Colloquium 2017 - Abstracts

Eirik Bøhn - The book and the reading room: Jacopo Manilli writing the Villa Borghese

With its abundant collection of ancient statuary and modern paintings, the Villa Borghese in Rome constituted something of an Early Modern visual catalogue of Roman myths and history and the narratives of Scripture, laid out in an ordered and contained space. Writing in 1650, Jacopo Manilli, who presided over the villa’s vast collection of artefacts, described it as a “compendium of the ancient magnificence of Rome”, amplifying the recurrent Early Modern analogy between books and buildings.

The statement appears in Manilli’s guidebook to the villa, the first such book dedicated to a single, secular architectural site in Italy. Spanning nearly 200 pages, the guidebook adds up to an exhaustive list of artefacts, lending order to the villa’s plethora of disparate objects, accumulated piecemeal and essentially displaced, described along an itinerary through space. If the Villa Borghese constituted the ‘book of ancient Rome’, Manilli provided its ordering and exegesis in octavo.
This colloquium presentation considers the makeup of the guidebook and the relationship to the site to which it is dedicated, briefly surveying Manilli’s book as a feature in the landscape of mid-century print and publishing in Rome. Conceived as a substitute for costly additions and alteration to the collections, Manilli’s book was an important device for the glorification of his patron, Marcantonio Borghese, and with copies appearing in numerous British collections, the author’s explicit ambition to preserve the collection and increase the fame of the site through print seems fulfilled. The presentation therefore considers the guidebook as an iterant inventory among a growing number of travelling texts that disseminated collections in the middle of the seventeenth century.

Beata Labuhn - Environment(s) in Christian Norberg-Schulz´s Editorship for Byggekunst (1963-1978)

In his article “Works and Environments (…)” Ellefsen describes how the ideas of the Norwegian architect-historian Norberg-Schulz (1926-2000) have influenced the Norwegian architectural scene during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s via diverse roles Norberg-Schulz was playing as practicing architect, author of books on architectural history and theory, as editor of Byggekunst and Arkitektnytt and as lecturer at the Oslo School of Architecture (Ellefsen, 2009). This PhD-research reverses the question of how Norberg-Schulz influenced his environment and instead asks the opposite, namely how the Norwegian environment has influenced Norberg-Schulz´s thinking. The hypothesis is that the Norwegian physical environment and the Norwegian intellectual climate during the 1960s and 1970s both played an important role in the shift in his thinking towards the development of his genius loci theory.

Keeping in mind that Norberg-Schulz was influenced by many people and by many places, the PhD research takes his editorship for Byggekunst as a starting point and focusses on the interaction between Norberg-Schulz and three kinds of environments: the physical environment of Norway and its architecture, the socio-political-cultural climate of Norway during the 1960s and 1970s and the intellectual environment of the books that Norberg-Schulz read and held in his private library. The research focusses primarily on the material from Byggekunst during Norberg-Schulz’s editorship in the years 1963 and 1978 and in the preceding period of authorship from 1952 till 1963. The research draws additionally from Norberg-Schulz´s books, his personal notes and the personal library from the Norberg-Schulz Collection in the National Museum of Architecture and Design in Oslo and from the Getty Institute in Los Angeles, as well from the information acquired during interviews with Norberg-Schulz’s students and colleagues. This material is considered against the backdrop of the editorial cultures of the 1960s and 1970s.

Sverre Bjerkeset - Case selection in an ethnographic study of urban public space

The omnipresence of strangers. This urban experience par excellence was crucial for pioneering German sociologist Georg Simmel in attributing a ‘blasé attitude’ to the city dweller; a defensive reaction to stimulus overload expressed in an apparent indifference to surrounding people, things, and events. Later scholars have stressed that what attracts people the most about urban life, is precisely the co-presence of other people.

However one might see it: to actually interact with strangers, most individuals would need a reason to do so. The PhD thesis in question investigates such reasons, or conditions, that support interaction among strangers in urban public space. It does so based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, in which also pertinent physical-spatial features are taken into account, in Norway’s capital city Oslo. Apart from more specific goals, and in light of the findings, an overall goal of the project is to examine fundamental issues of public space and publicness in a contemporary urban context in Norway and beyond. 

Four public spaces have been explored. Besides all being centrally located public squares with adjacent pedestrianised zones, the main criteria for their selection is their different characteristics and corresponding potential to generate a breadth of data. Amongst other things, these differences relate to location in the urban structure, urban form, overall neighborhood profile, and user profile. Two of the cases were continued from a study I did prior to commencing the PhD. The other two were appended to broaden the scope of the study and increase the representativeness of the findings.

Having completed most of the planned fieldwork, and entering a phase of data organisation and focused analysis, I face some methodological choices. Importantly: Would the study benefit from mainly focusing on the two original cases, prioritising depth and ‘thick descriptions’? Or, should I still include the two other ones, and perhaps also data gathered in other, similar (Oslo) settings, thus rather follow the phenomenon (interaction among strangers) across a number of cases/settings? Alternatively, opt for a combination of both?

Jonathan Romm - Practitioners’ Perspectives on The Radical’s Dilemma: Redesign Health Care from the Inside or Outside?

In recent years, there has been growing investment in service design as a means to transform healthcare. While literature has begun to discuss the value of this creative and collaborative practice in the healthcare context, there has been little understanding to date of the nuanced dynamics of doing this work from a practitioner’s perspective. As such, this chapter weaves together the narratives of seven practitioners who employ service design within the healthcare context. The dialogue that emerges reveals the inherent tensions amid healthcare redesign processes, sparking deep reflection on the intricacies and complexities of service design. Through the voices of these practitioners, we hear how they work through three central paradoxes of healthcare redesign: 1) enacting the inside-outsider; 2) creating radical-incremental change; and 3) catalysing top-up dynamics. By building a greater understanding of these tensions and paradoxes, this research does not offer solutions, but rather opens for new future possibilities amid the complexity of this work.

Preliminary abstract of book chapter by Romm, J. and Vink, J. for: Service Design and Service Thinking in Healthcare and Hospital Management, Springer – Edited by Mario Pfannstiel and Christoph Rasche.

Karianne Rygh - Supporting co-design in complex healthcare systems through the affordances and metaphors of tangible tools

The healthcare challenges of our society are placing increasing pressure on limited resources available due to an aging population and a substantial growth in patients with chronic diseases (Engström 2014). Service design and co-design are therefore increasingly being called upon to offer approaches and methods to facilitate collaboration and to harness available resources (Baxter, Mugglestone, and Maher 2014). The use of communication tools during design processes has been regarded as an effective means to bridge the evidence based culture of the medical world with the working cultures, perspectives and languages of the other fields. However, there is a lack of discourse in terms of what actually makes such tools successful, in other words, what designed attributes of specifically tangible tools, lead to successful outcomes.

Tangible tools (i.e. design games, artefacts, boundary objects, cultural probes) can facilitate the development of a common language, a shared understanding and a shared vision between diverse stakeholders. In addition, they are a means for service designers to intervene in complex contexts using design thinking (Buchanan 2014; Kimbell 2011, 2012) systemic design approaches (Sevaldson 2011, 2010). One aspect of tangible tools that seems to be of importance is the use of affordances and metaphors. These interrelated terms can offer great potential for enabling co-design processes through offering a means to represent and visualize abstract ideas or modes of thinking, as well as documenting and describing outcomes of co-design processes. Unsuccessful workshop interventions challenge the trust that service designers have built with participating stakeholders. There is therefore a need for a framework and design specifications to support designers in their process of designing successful tools for co-design in complex systems. This contribution to the RSD6 symposium presents several examples of tangible tools that illustrate the use of affordances and metaphors, highlighting where design specifications for tangible tools are needed and where they could be beneficial.

Frida Almqvist - Designing for service implementation: Exploring the service design handover

Service design has had great focus on the early stages of the innovation process, but there has been limited focus on its later phases. This PhD work examines the later phases, with an emphasis on user involvement, and a particular focus upon the handover from service designers, before leaving a project. This is identified as a critical aspect of the later phases and my work critically examines what a service design handover is, and might be. Theoretical perspectives are combined with interviews, in the context of Norwegian service development projects in public services and within healthcare. Findings indicate a need for both an improvement in, and a harmonization of service design handovers; this is embodied in what I call a service design roadmap. Such roadmaps might support development teams receiving service design handovers, and enable them to better make use of the material during the later phases.