Agencies of Engagement

In April 2011 Proboscis began a collaboration with the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET) and the Crucible Network at the University of Cambridge. The project explored the nature of groups and group behaviours within the context of the university’s communities and the design of software platforms for collaboration. Over the course of the next 6 months Proboscis designed a series of engagements with CARET and others within the university to generate ‘uncommon insights’ into the nature of groups and group behaviours and the processes of designing online collaboration tools for complex communities. The results of the project highlighted a need for different approaches to be adopted around the engagement of users as stakeholders from the outset of software development – creating cultures of co-creative co-design – as well as the need for a new type of creative, socially engaged facilitation for such relationships – a Catalyst or change agent.

Agencies of Engagement is a 4 volume publication created to act as a creative thinking and doing tool – documenting and sharing the processes, tools, methods, insights, observations and recommendations from the project. It is offered as a ‘public good’ for others to learn from, adopt and adapt.

  • Method Stack describes a number of the engagement methods and practices used by Proboscis in our engagement work as well as other tools and sources of inspiration.
  • Project Account sets out the process used in the project as a case study for others to guide their own engagement practices.
  • Drawing Insight illustrates the observations and insights of the project in a simple and accessible way.
  • Catalysing Agency explores the need and concept for using a ‘Catalyst’ (an individual acting as a change agent) to trigger meaningful engagement with wider communities.

Each of the books can be downloaded in our Diffusion eBook format to be printed and hand-made or read online. We have also printed a limited edition set using bookleteer‘s Short Run Printing Service.

Team: Alice Angus, Giles Lane, Frederik Lesage, Hazem Tagiuri & Mandy Tang (Proboscis). Verity Allan, Anne-Sophie de Baets & John Norman (CARET); Alan Blackwell (Crucible).

Partners: CARET; Crucible Network (University of Cambridge)

Commissioned by CARET