The focus on gender helps us understand cultural, social, aesthetic, technological diversity in design and analyse how design work is shaped and practiced.

Gender as a concept ...

... is an important analytical tool on a variety of levels:

  • Women's presence in different design fields (IT design, multimedia production, interaction design, architecture, installation art ...), with the aim of e.g. identifying what attracts women into these fields, how they position themselves in them, which skills they develop, the obstacles they encounter, and their coping strategies.
  • Gendered design practices, with the aim of understanding diversity on the level of design methods (e.g. in which ways user experiences are accounted for), technological choices, project management, design objectives, and application area.
  • Feminist theory, with the aim of enriching our theoretical understanding of gender and design practice in the tradition of "grounded theory".
  • Our main research methods are work ethnography and biographical interviews. Ethnography involves understanding the world from the point-of-view of those studied. It is concerned with the detailed investigation of the interaction of people with each other and with the material environment. We use (video supported) observation in combination with in-depth interviews for capturing in detail the complexity of work practices as well as the culture of the organization. The aim of biographical interviews is to develop an understanding of a person's biography or trajectory - her development as based on opportunities, choices, and strategies, with a special interest in transitions and detours their implication for the person's biography.

Who are we?

Andrea Birbaumer is a researcher at the Institute of Design and Assessment of Technology of Vienna University of Technology. She is an occupational and health psychologist. She is working mainly with qualitative research methods on the topics women and work (biography, career-planning, work environment, new ways of working, education), women and information technologies (access, chances and risks), women in industry (mentoring, support, coaching).

Hilda Tellioglu is an assistant professor at the Institute of Design and Assessment of Technology of Vienna University of Technology. She is a computer scientist. She has been involved with both research and teaching on: software engineering, systems design, computer support for co-operative work in systems design, in health care work and in architectural planning, gender issues in computer science. She is the co-developer of telm@.

Marianne Tolar is a PhD Candidate at the Institute for Design and Assessment of Technology at Vienna University of Technology. She holds a Master of Computer Science, as well as a diploma of the post-graduate programme in Sociology from the Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna. Her professional experience includes working as a researcher in projects on telework, public electronic spaces and education. Recently, she was involved in the project WWW-ICT.

Ina Wagner is professor for Multidisciplinary Systems Design and Computer-Supported Co-operative Work (CSCW) and Head of the Institute of Design and Assessment of Technology of Vienna University of Technology. She holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Vienna. She has written on a variety of technology-related issues, amongst them a feminist perspective in science and technology, ethical and political issues in systems design, computer-support of hospital work and of architectural design and planning.

Where can you find us?

Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Design and Assessment of Technology, Multidisciplinary Design Group

Argentinierstrasse 8/187
A-1040, Vienna, Austria
Secr.:+43.1.588 01.18702
Fax:+43.1.588 01.18799