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Photo of Yoko Akama RMIT Melbourne and Ann Light, Malmö University

An academic friendship

Yoko and Ann met at a PDC conference in Sydney just over 10 years ago and almost immediately started writing together. Over the years, they evolved an academic friendship that has seen 8 formal publications and much more collaboration, with an increasingly experimental agenda. Writing mostly about participatory design in communities, their matters of concern and care align and part in ways that catalyse curiosity and have led them to consider the politics of practice that can often be missed in traditional reporting. Committing to live in mutually respectful difference, they explore first-person narrative and autobiography mixed with conventional accounts, accentuating the nuanced complexities of engagement, inclusion, readiness and contingency.

Pushing the boundaries of designing together

Here, they reflect, in conversation, over these 10 years of wresting meaning from experience, recording practice, collaborating over distance and pushing the boundaries of designing together, discussing influences and inheritances across continents and cultures, and considering future plans for what has become an unexpected and successful, but utterly non-exclusive, writing partnership. They share what they have learnt through exploring each other’s practices, about each other, their work and themselves. Themes and questions are welcome from all attendees and will shape the direction of their discussions. Respective: belonging or relating separately to each of two or more people or things.

With: Yoko Akama RMIT Melbourne and Ann Light, Malmö University