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Provocative Designs for End of Life Reflection

Presented by Bruce Tharp and Stephanie Tharp

Despite the prevalence and great repute of “provocation" to improve people’s reflection on death and dying, little is settled regarding best practices. As discursive designs (critical design, speculative design, design fiction) are often presented as not fully functioning, merely speculative, and not necessarily even earnest proposals, they can be seen as “safe” and unshackled from the common mechanisms and attitudes toward ethical oversight. More so than advocating codes of conduct and standards, vigorous, longitudinal, reflective, inclusive, and consensual debate is posited as a responsible path forward for a community of practice. This interactive 90-minute workshop contributes to what that might involve and help to evolve. Participants will be introduced to one practical and one ethical framework to help discuss, evaluate, and re-design some of the real world artifact examples that are on display in the DeathXDesignXCulture exhibitions. The goal is to generate robust debate around specific cases and contexts to understand better where the ethical “line” might be. Oh, and we will be using the humor of stand-up comedians to open up the dialogue.