Aesthetics, Cosmopolitics and Design









Collaborative Imaging: The Communicative Practice of Hand Sketching in Experimental Physics

Judith Marlen Dobler

University Potsdam, Germany

Keywords: collaboration, digital imaging practices, hand sketching, ethnography


This paper presents on-going ethnographic fieldwork in design research conducted in an x-ray laboratory. The study investigates physicists’ hand sketching as a collaborative imaging practice and depicts collaborative drawing as a distinct form of knowledge in between the spaces of notation and verbal articulation. Physicists’ collaborative sketching is captured through methods taken from design research and STS, including participant observation, videography and drawings by the design researcher. In order to analyse the functions of the collaborative sketching, three key aspects of the research are discussed in this paper. First, the spaces and materiality of the laboratory are observed. Second, the hybrid practices combine old and new technologies and (non)-human agencies. And third, knowledge is transferred through sketches as “enabling objects” of communication. Finally, it is argued that the observed collaboration resembles a complex communication system that can be explained through a visual typology. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Dobler, J.M. (2016). Collaborative Imaging: The communicative practice of hand sketching in experimental physics . Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

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