Diffraction-in-action: Designerly Explorations of Agential Realism Through Lived Data

Pedro Sanches, Noura Howell, Vasiliki Tsaknaki, Tom Jenkins, Karey Helms

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Recent design research has shown an interest in diffraction and agential realism, which promise to offer generative alternatives when designing with data that resist treating data as objective or neutral. We explore engaging diffractively with ‘lived data’to surface felt and prospective aspects of data as it is entangled in everyday lives of designers. This paper presents five biodata-based case studies demonstrating how design researchers can create knowledge about human bodies and behaviors via strategies that allow them to engage data diffractively. These studies suggest that designers can find insights for designing with data as it is lived by working with it in a slow, open-ended fashion that leaves room for messiness and time for discovering difference. Finally, we discuss the role of ambiguous, open-ended data interpretations to help surface different meanings and entanglements of data in everyday lives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2022 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2022)
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date30 Apr 2022
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-9157-3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2022
EventCHI '22: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20225 May 2022


ConferenceCHI '22
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Internet address


  • Biodata
  • material
  • bodies
  • data
  • collaboration
  • empathy
  • being-with
  • more-than-human
  • design
  • design research


Dive into the research topics of 'Diffraction-in-action: Designerly Explorations of Agential Realism Through Lived Data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this