School of Computing

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Prime Minister of Greece visits Open Lab: Athens

The Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, was given an introduction to Open Lab: Athens as part of a visit to the Impact Hub in Athens.

Dr Vasilis Vlachokyriakos (pictured with Mr Tsipras), who leads Open Lab: Athens (part of Digital Civics), said: "Open Lab: Athens is our attempt to engage with the social solidarity economy in Greece in order to capture social innovation through design and be inspired to build innovative technological platforms based on the values and self-organisation practices of these organisations.

"Our goal is to extend the social and solidarity economy through technology by designing and developing digital systems for self-organisation practices and systems that will embed the values of equality, solidarity and horizontal participation.

"Methodologically, Open Lab: Athens exemplifies a different (richer) way of undertaking long-term embedded Digital Civics research with a prime interest to resource the organisations and context that we engage with rather than ‘use’ as a deployment context. Our hypothesis here is that the design of systems that resource an alternative economy of practices will look very different from systems designed for typical one-off deployments or for established (neo-liberal) economies based on competition and efficiency.

"Such an approach, requires us to constantly reflect on our political stances and affiliations, to engage in the co-creation of an economy rather than being the observers, to develop trust with the contexts of civic importance, to co-develop common projects and timescales, ultimately, this ‘embeddedness’ allows us to understand as much as we can (even though we are the ‘privileged’ ones) the motivations and struggles of these people and use our skills to co-construct a more socially just economy."

Open Lab is an interaction design and ubiquitous computing research group. Established in 2008, the group is led by Patrick Olivier and has a core team of around 80 researchers.

published on: 26 September 2017