Solidarity and commons organizations in Europe, in many cases operating under the umbrella of Social and Solidar- ity Economy (SSE) or of a new (digital) cooperative move- ment, are committed to building a more socially just society through a better configuration of democracy and economy. One of the key elements of their success, is the way that in very practical and creative ways materialise their own societal imaginaries in the form of democratically run and collectively owned (digital) cooperatives, self-organised and informal social clinics, or fair trade no-middlemen initiatives. Such examples of prefigurative social movements have a lot in common (at least in terms of a shared value system and societal goals) with politically-motivated HCI research, while also offering HCI researchers very practical examples of socio-technical infrastructures able to transform (public or common) services.

In this position paper, through my more recent work with social movements and commons organisations, I briefly comment on: (i) PAR and design methods for engaging in such contexts through open source prototyping, tooling and visioning and civic research spin-offs; and (ii) current and ongoing technological agendas able to support the scaling out of such transformative practices.

This paper was part of the CHI 2020 Activism Workshop “Moving Forward Together: Effective Activism for Change”

Full paper here