Workshop: Participatory Moves as Parasitic Relations in Senior Healthcare – 1 June 2012

Organized by Peter Lutz and sponsored by CareMoves (EU Project)

– 1 June 2012 – 9:00 am to 4:30 pm – ITU Design Lab  (registration is full)

This experimental workshop establishes a dialogue on research ‘participation’ in senior healthcare practice including ethnography, design and policy. Its impetus is the observation that participatory research practices often configure or ‘aspire’ older people as ‘active seniors’ for ‘user-driven’ healthcare initiatives (Lutz et al 2012). Yet these same aspirations may overlook, neglect or misrepresent (less) active older people with greater cognitive, social and/or physical challenges. Such aspirations, one could argue, determine the relational play or frictions between ‘parts and wholes’ – i.e. which participations are included, left aside, or reconfigured anew.  Here the notion of parasitic relations, which stems from Michael Serres’ treatment of the ‘parasite’ as well as George Marcus’ workshop concept of ‘para-sites’ (sites beside or in the field site proper), is used to explore the phenomenon of participation. In other words, parasitic relations are figured as metaphorical feeding with or beside the multiple ways participation moves. This includes the different ways participatory agencies – human and non-human – flow, shift, cut, entangle and potentially transform in the context of participatory research. Discussions will be based on empirical cases and methodological experimentations. Possible questions for this workshop include: How might parasitic relations refigure conceptualizations of participation and field sites? Moreover, how might parasitic relations entangle the participatory entities in senior healthcare practice (bodies, technologies, policies, routines, et cetera) which we study, design and otherwise shape? This workshop will appeal to those working along the intersections of design, innovation, aging, healthcare policy and ethnographic research methodology. Since this is an experimental workshop, participants are asked to bring an open mind (and heart) about the generative potentials of the exercise! Most workshop participants have experience with some combination of healthcare policy, design and/or ethnography.



  • Peter Danholt, Aarhus University – Parasitic Relations in/of Diabetes Practices
  • Marie Ertner, IT University of Copenhagen – Design Enactments of ‘The Elderly’
  • Daniel López, Vrije Universiteit Brussels – Biopolitical interferences


  • Casper Bruun Jensen, IT University of Copenhagen – Brown’s keynote
  • Joachim Halse, Danish School of Design – Wilkie’s keynote
  • Dick Willems, University of Amsterdam – Roundtable

More Info

Posted in Events, News.