Training School Madeira, November 2017

CA16121 Training School:

On the collaborative economy. Learning from critical perspectives

  • Dates: November 20-24, 2017
  • Venue: Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

This document details the Training School (TS) “On the collaborative economy. Learning from critical perspectives”, organized in the context of the COST Action CA16121, “From Sharing to Caring: Examining Socio-Technical Aspects of the Collaborative Economy”. The TS relates directly to the core theme of the CA, the collaborative economy, and it does so by questioning the contemporary paradigms in design and human-computer interaction through critical perspectives. The general goal of the TS is to provide early career researchers with multidisciplinary perspectives that they can fruitfully relate to in their research. The group of instructors includes social scientists, technologists, designers, and scholars in the humanities, to cover diverse aspects of research activities, while focusing on the collaborative economy, from framing the social relevance of research activities to writing and reporting results.



The main goal of the CA16121 is to propose a rich characterization of the collaborative economy phenomenon, including the understanding of the socio-technical aspects of existing platforms and the design of future ones. A necessary step in this direction is to discuss and critique elements of the current discourse on the collaborative economy, proposing a richer definition and characterization of the phenomenon and elaborating a research agenda for the design of future technological platforms.

In order to achieve this goal, it is first of all necessary to understand the contemporary form of capitalism, in which the capital intensive forms of the collaborative economy, often labeled as “sharing economy”, flourish. It is a matter of deconstructing platform capitalism, its data-intensive business models, and the relationship these platforms establish with labor and workers’ subjectivities. Moreover, contemporary businesses based on digital platforms, social media in particular, act more and more often as media companies; their data-driven models structure social relations and the media landscape in ways that affect the collective capacity to act upon reliable information and media content.

These developments of digital platforms require using a critical lens for looking at  actual technical practices and suggesting a way forward toward more socially aware practices that can be labeled as critical technical practices. Such practices would entail a renewed relation among design, social theory, and writing, to achieve sustainability for critically-oriented projects that question contemporary capitalism in the light of a socially-oriented collaborative economy. This is not a task that can be addressed inside the boundary of a single academic discipline and, therefore, a multidisciplinary approach to research problems is required.

For this reason, the proposed TS combines contributions from design, social sciences, and literature, in an effort to provide PhD students and early career researchers with the coordinates to frame research and design projects related to the collaborative economy in a wide perspective. It does so by mixing lectures by established academics and hands-on activities to critically interrogate platform capitalism and to learn about research strategies for investigating and promoting the collaborative economy. Lecturing and hands-on activities will be complemented by group discussions, moderated by instructors, on the research projects of the participants in order to stimulate a lively intellectual exchange among the participants.


Monday, 20th

  • 10.00 – 11.00 Opening lecture, Platform Capitalism and the subjectivities of labor (Annalisa Murgia)
  • 11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
  • 11.30 – 13.00 Critical Technical Practices and the collaborative economy. An introduction (Chris Csíkszentmihályi)
  • 13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break
  • 14.00 – 16.00 Group discussion

Tuesday, 21st

  • 10.00 – 11.00 Critical Design Practices and the collaborative economy (James Auger)
  • 11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
  • 11.30 – 13.00 Group discussion
  • 13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break
  • 14.00 – 16.00 Critical Design Practices – hands-on activities (Enrique Encinas)

Wednesday, 22nd

  • 10.00 – 11.00 Critical Social Theory, IT design, and the collaborative economy (Maurizio Teli)
  • 11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
  • 11.30 – 13.00 Group discussion
  • 13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break
  • 14.00 – 16.00 Critical Social Theory and IT design – hands-on activities (Peter Lyle)

Thursday, 23rd

  • 10.00 – 11.00 Critical Writing on the collaborative economy (Julian Hanna)
  • 11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
  • 11.30 – 13.00 Group discussion
  • 13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break
  • 14.00 – 16.00 Critical Writing – hands-on activities (Mariacristina Sciannamblo)

Friday, 24th

  • 10.00 – 11.00 Critical Technical Practices and the collaborative economy – a round table (All the instructors)
  • 11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
  • 11.30 – 13.00 Closing Lecture: Sustainable Critical Projects in the collaborative economy (Dariusz Jemielniak)


James Auger is a designer who was a research associate at Media Lab Europe and worked at the Issey Miyake Design Studio in Tokyo as a guest designer. A leading member of the Royal College of Art’s Design Interactions for over a decade, James taught on the MA programme and developed critical and speculative approaches to design and technology.  James is an external examiner at Edinburgh College of Design, visiting professor at HEAD, Geneva and on the judging panel of IF Design awards. James joined M-ITI in 2015 as an Associate Professor with research focus on the potential of the Island as an experimental living laboratory combining fictional, factual and functional multi-scale energy-related proposals.

Chris Csíkszentmihályi is a technologist, humanist, designer, and artist, focused on information and communications technologies for political change, and assisting communities in mitigating the negative aspects of globalism.  He is currently Scientific Head and ERA Chair at Madeira-ITI.  Prior to that, he cofounded and directed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Civic Media, dedicated to developing technologies that strengthen communities, and also founded the MIT Media Lab’s Computing Culture group, which worked to create unique media technologies for socio-cultural and political applications. He has taught at MIT, RPI, UCSD, Parsons, Art Center, Turku, and other universities.

Enrique Encinas is a designer who studied electrical engineering in ETSIT (Madrid), semiconductor tech in NTU (Taiwan) and participatory design in SDU (Denmark). He has briefly supported artists in Medialab Prado (Madrid) and technical systems in Vodafone Spain. Now he is working on a PhD by researching the region of the design spectrum where fiction is most visible. His work has been presented in conferences like CHI, DIS, GROUP, TEI, PINC, Research Through Design,  and others.

Julian Hanna is an Assistant Professor at M-ITI. His work focuses on intersections between culture, politics, and technology. After completing his PhD at the University of Glasgow, Julian taught at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and the University of Lisbon. He has written extensively about modernism and the avant-garde, with a particular focus on movements, networks, and manifestos. Since joining M-ITI his research has expanded to include design fiction, interactive storytelling, and other creative facets of HCI. He co-authors a critical futures blog with James Auger.

Peter Lyle is a postdoctoral researcher at M-ITI. He has a background in HCI, interaction design, participatory design, and urban informatics. He has contributed to understanding how communities interact with constellations of technology as ‘artifact ecologies’. His current research focuses on employing a participatory design process toward a technology platform for precarious workers and other marginalised communities in Europe as part of the H2020 PIE News/Commonfare project.

Mariacristina Sciannamblo is a postdoctoral researcher at M-ITI. She has a background in Science and Technology Studies, Feminist Technoscience Studies, and Media Studies. Her PhD research revolved around the gender-informed and feminist critique of Information Technology (IT), and around the understanding of how computer-supported cooperative work tools shape organizations. Currently, she works within the European-funded project PIE News/Commonfare, with a focus on public engagement in participatory design projects that aim at addressing critical social issues such as low income, precariousness, and unemployment.

Maurizio Teli has been working interdisciplinarily for more than ten years. His current research revolves around sociologically-informed Participatory Design. He has recently published a co-authored Routledge monograph and journal and conference articles oriented to bring political economy back into Participatory Design. He is Research and Innovation Coordinator of the H2020 PIE News/Commonfare project, aiming at rethinking welfare provisions in the age of platform capitalism.

Invited Instructors

Annalisa Murgia is Associate Professor at the Work and Employment Relations Division of the Leeds University Business School. Her research focuses on the phenomenon of hybridisation of employment relations and subjectivities in knowledge societies. She has published several works on this topic, including the co-edited volumes “Mapping Precariousness, Labour Insecurity and Uncertain Livelihoods” (Routledge, 2017) and “Platform Capitalism e confini del lavoro negli spazi digitali” (Mimesis, 2016). She is currently the Principal Investigator of the ERC Starting Grant 2016 project SHARE – Seizing the Hybrid Areas of work by Re-presenting self-Employment.

Dariusz Jemielniak is Full Professor of Management at Kozminski University (Poland) where he heads NeRDS (New Research on Digital Societies) group, and faculty associate in Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University (USA). He is the author of “Common Knowledge?” (2014, Stanford University Press), winner international and national awards. He has been an open knowledge activist for over a decade, and in 2015 he joined Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. He had annual appointments at Cornell University, Harvard University, University of California Berkeley, MIT. He developed and sold 3 startups, including the most popular online dictionary in Poland, His research interests include open collaboration, peer production, sharing economy, open source.


As a multidisciplinary endeavour, the training activity welcomes a diverse group of attendees, coming from very different fields, including human-computer interaction, computer supported cooperative work, participatory design, sociology, anthropology, and many others. Independently of their disciplinary background, the attendees should share an interest in critical approaches to technology and society and/or in questioning the contemporary forms of the collaborative economy.

Participants coming from countries participating in the COST Action CA16121, “From Sharing to Caring: Examining Socio-Technical Aspects of the Collaborative Economy”, whose applications for participation are accepted, may receive financial contribution in the form of a COST Trainee Grant up to €550 per person (for a maximum of 26 participants).  This will support the cost of travel, accommodation and meals.  There are no participation fees.

In order to receive the Trainee Grant, all attendees must register for an e-COST profile at  and add their bank details to their e-COST profile prior to receiving their e-COST invitation.  All attendees must sign the attendance list on each day that they attend the event.

Participants that are eligible for the Trainee Grant:

  1.    Trainees from COST action members countries.
  2.    Trainees from Approved NNC institutions.

We welcome local students to also apply to attend the training, however spaces are limited, and allocation will be considered in line with the selection process as outlined below.  Local students are not eligible for a Trainee Grant, however there are still no fees for attending the training.

Scientifically, the prospective participants should submit: 1) a 1 page motivation letter, clarifying if the applicant qualifies for a  COST grant; 2) a 2 pages description of their research project; 3) a 2 pages CV including recent publications or other relevant academic achievements (e.g. exhibitions). All the documentation should be sent to the following email address by August 11th, 2017.

The applications will be evaluated by a committee constituted by three of the instructors according to the following criteria: 1) the relevance of the TS for the applicant’s research project; 2) foreseeable benefit of attendance for the professional development of the applicant; 3) the applicant’s career stage as presented in their CV; 4) the COST “Excellence and Inclusiveness” policy. A reasonable country distribution of trainees will also be considered.


  • Closing date for applications: August 11th, 2017
  • Notification of acceptance: August 25th, 2017
  • Confirmation of participation: September 6th, 2017
  • Training activity: November 20-24th, 2017


The Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (M-ITI) is a non-profit innovation institute of the University of Madeira (UMa), emerging from the association of the University of Madeira, the Regional Agency for RTD+I and Carnegie Mellon University. It is located in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, an outermost region of Europe. M-ITI was conceived in 2000, formally integrated as a research group in 2007, and established as an Innovation Institute in 2010. M-ITI has also been a member of the national Laboratory for Robotics and Systems in Engineering and Science (LARSyS) since 2011.

M-ITI is a centre of design for global change, creating socio-technical systems suited to holistic challenges, in particular: the distribution and use of natural resources, the societal and personal use of energy, global inequality of resources and opportunities, and the relationship of production and consumption, as they all require serious reform. Strategically placed at the intersection of the American, European and African sides of the Atlantic, M-iti is poised to play a crucial role in connecting, exchanging, and contributing to the innovation across the continents with which Portugal enjoys a strong relationship. As a multi-disciplinary centre combining natural and social scientists, engineers, humanists, designers, and artists, its output are be focused on the area of applied science and human-centred technology.

About Madeira

Madeira is one of the autonomous outer regions of Portugal, and thus part of the European Community. The archipelago of Madeira is situated in the Atlantic ocean, about 1.5 hour’s flight distance from mainland Portugal.  The island and it´s capital Funchal are popular holiday destinations and it is well connected to the continent with frequent short flights to Lisbon International Airport (11 per day), and regular direct connections to other major cities in Portugal and to London, Amsterdam, Berlin and other European cities.

Madeira offers a compelling combination of all year round warm temperatures, breath-taking scenery, great food, a relaxed lifestyle and rich local colour. The picturesque city of Funchal has a port and promenade, quaint and narrow winding streets, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.

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