Empathic negotiations through material culture: co-designing and making digital exhibits

Lizette Reitsma, Ann Light, Paul Rodgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article introduces a case study undertaken in the indigenous Penan community of Long Lamai, Upper Baram, Sarawak, Malaysia. In this community, there is concern about the negative image other cultural groups hold of the Penan. This case study explores co-design as a means to invite community members, together with a designer, to explore the identity that they would like to present to people outside the community. In preparing for an exhibition to challenge perceptions, it turned out to be important to embrace the culture of the community to facilitate self-expression, introducing new concepts such as technological interventions and design probes to stimulate reflection and creativity. However, it was indigenous material culture, when actively and encouragingly supported by the designer, that had a key role in developing the co-design and, with it, empathic understanding between designer and community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-274
Number of pages7
JournalDigital Creativity
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2014


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