Involving Syrian Refugees in Design Research: Lessons Learnt from the Field

Reem Talhouk, Madeline Balaam, Austin Toombs, Andrew Garbett, Chaza Akik, Hala Ghattas, Vera Araujo-Soares, Balsam Ahmad, Kyle Montague

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


With the Syrian crisis entering its 8th year, refugees have become the focus of research across multiple disciplines, including design and HCI research. While some researchers have reflected upon designing with refugees, these accounts have been limited to conducting design workshops in formal spaces. Through reflecting on our experiences of conducting design research in informal refugee settlements in Lebanon we unpack lessons learnt, design practices and research approaches that facilitate design engagements with refugees. We highlight the value in participants configuring the design space, using a dialogical approach as well as creating a safe space for both participants and the researcher. We also reflect on the roles that researchers may take on when conducting similar research. By doing so we contribute specific design practices that may be transferrable to other similar contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS 2019
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings of the 2019 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference
EditorsSteve Harrison, Shaowen Bardzell
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450358507
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventDesigning Interactive Systems (DIS) 2019: Contesting Borders and Intersections - San Diego, United States
Duration: 23 Jun 201928 Jun 2019


ConferenceDesigning Interactive Systems (DIS) 2019
Abbreviated titleDIS 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address


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