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From Guests and Guides to Collaborators: Negotiating Roles in Design and Biology Collaborations

Abstract : In recent years, the design community has started envisioning biology as a design medium and designers are entering laboratories to pursue designer-biologist collaborations. To ensure that these collaborations lead to rich outcomes, we need to better understand the roles performed by biologists and designers in these collaborations. In seven case studies of collaborations between designers and biologists, we found that strong role dynamics appeared during the collaboration and can be divided into four phases: discovering, defining, developing and delivering. We show how biologists successively act as guides, influencers, supervisors and librarians while designers act as visitors, apprentices, amateurs and lone makers. We found that, despite their interdisciplinarity, projects followed traditional design project structures. While biologists tended to take the lead on project content, designers framed the projects using their methods and processes.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 17, 2020 - 11:00:53 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 8:30:06 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, November 30, 2020 - 9:00:15 PM

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Marguerite Benony, Nolwenn Maudet. From Guests and Guides to Collaborators: Negotiating Roles in Design and Biology Collaborations. The Design Journal, 2020, 23 (4), pp.557-574. ⟨10.1080/14606925.2020.1762339⟩. ⟨hal-02916775⟩

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