Artful Integration Award, 12th Participatory Design Conference,
The Artful Integration Award was initiated at PDC in 2004, motivated by the idea that our efforts to change dominant regimes of design need to include shifting the focus of reward and recognition for design away from what we might call the 'heroic designer/glitzy artifact’ tradition, onto something more consistent with the principals and practices of participatory design. The idea was an award that would go to a group of people who together had worked out, in an exceptionally creative way, a new and useful configuration of artifacts and practices. No single element of the design might be particularly extraordinary in itself, but the aims of the design, the relationships involved, and the process would be.
The 2012 Artful Integration Award was presented to the project:
Siida: Playing the past, battling for the future
Daniel Mikkelsen, Managing Director, Copyleft Solutions accepted the award on August 16th, 2012
Statement by the Principal Researchers, Assoc. Prof. Britt Kramvig, University of Tromsø and Assoc. Prof. Torun G. Ekeland, Finnmark University College
The project (se also the Siida website) can be framed as a product embedding the intention to promote justice for people and their places. Our starting point was just that. We wanted to frame Sápmi / The high North … as a place where different people have travelled and different people have lived for centuries; where specific rituals, hunting practices and other ways of living within the arctic landscape could be articulated as different, but not different in exotic ways. We set out to create a multiplayer online game that could bring complexities … that could be recognized as both then and there, and as here and now – a form of historical consciousness where we needed to ensure that pasts, and by that our collective memories, are open and multiple and not closed by … grand narratives.
We began in 2002 at the starting point of what now has become evident as “the new politics of the high North.” We felt a new worry: the discourse of oil and gas: Statoil was on the verge of establishing political alliances in the region, to create new political as well as financial support toward the construction of Europe’s first export facility for cooled, liquid natural gas, (LNG) on Melkøya in Finnmark. How could we mobilise a collective cultural consciousness that would engage with this mult-headed hydra of industrial development?
As researchers coming from archaeology and anthropology, as well being concerned both on the ground and with the imaged production of present and past in Sápmi, we saw the creation of an educational game as a promising tool to reach out to youngsters at lower secondary school. We asked ourselves how digital games could be introduced and how they would work in a multicultural classroom. Not only multicultural as you find it in the High North: but taking stories from Sápmi and making them relevant for the ongoing otherness done in many classrooms in contemporary Norwegian society.
Our aspiration was to turn the pupils into the position of ‘a player’ in the larger sense of a person in the arctic landscape, and by this direct their attention toward the contemporary challenges of the North. As persons within the game they were supposed to become part of a migrating siida enacting collective practices of people who had lived, hunted, migrated, performed religious rituals and created communities in a past arctic landscape. We wanted to highlight that cultures are highly flexible entities, and this is no less true for Saami cultures. This contrasts with representations of the Saami found in much educational programs and teaching material, which often are presenting Sami culture and history in a narrow mythical way.
In an odd way developing the game became the game we developed: the different routes and fields of knowledge that got into motion in the research and development project was just like the routes and fields of the game itself. The process of making a game can be seen as a knowing encounter – which is what the game itself is doing .... Doing the design projects in ways that emphasised points of disjuncture made it possible for the innovations process to run.