Meet Liesbeth Huybrechts. She works with ‘Scripting’ closer relations between participation and decision-making

picture Liesbeth Huybrechts Copenhagen.jpg

Liesbeth is a visiting researcher at KADK and IT-University Copenhagen until the end of august 2015. Read more about her research here:

In my Postdoctoral research a the department of Architecture of the University of Hasselt, group ArcK/Spatial Capacity building ( ), I am involved in participatory design research on public services, spatial and digital infrastructures for communities, housing, work, health or education on the scale of cities and rural areas. My research addresses the fact that in the heads of participants in participatory processes, participatory activities do not always contribute clearly to decision-making. In three case studies I hypothesise that bringing participatory processes more explicitly in the public debate can enhance its relation with decision-making.


In the first two cases, I provocatively experiment with traditional mass media – who are often seen as non-participatory as they work for the masses – to ‘dramatically script’ (Goffman, 1986) reflections, actions and public debates on spatial change in participatory ways. In The Other Market (TRADERS, ITN Marie Curie) we set up a Living Lab in Genk to investigate how we can engage -often marginalized groups of- citizens in the public debate around work spaces and platforms and its surrounding conditions and to co-create proposals for future work spaces and platforms. We address these questions via a series of public multimedial radio-debates/gameshows on work, taking place on a mobile market stand, in a shop-front and on a digital platform. In Future Fictions Godsheide (a village part of City of Hasselt) we have been co-creating spatial proposals together with citizens, policy makers, property developers and local organisations who were disappointed by past participatory processes, using a newspaper that was publicly spread. The proposals on spatial change took the form of articles about the future of Godsheide, combined with performances of the proposals that were used as pictorial representations of the participatory processes (see Image). The third case, Mobile Design Lab (2013-…) addresses how the integration of people from ethnic-cultural minorities can inspire different designs of spatial and digital healthcare infrastructures in the city of Genk. The first phase of the project focused on researching and designing communication tools that can support the debate between these groups and care workers on how they perceive and value healthcare.

During my research stay at ITU and KADK I want to further focus on this relation between participatory processes and decision-making. I will further research and design some handlebars to discuss the relations between participatory processes and decision-making, focussing on – among others – the participatory processes in the European project ‘Give and Take’ and an exploratory project on the Integration of new immigrants in Copenhagens’ healthcare system. I will also deepen the content of a collaborative research proposal between the University of Hasselt, University of East London, ITU and KADK on so-called LIVE projects, where students engage for longer periods of time in design research projects that are bottom-up defined by societal actors, working with real contexts within concrete time-, material- and financial boundaries.

You can contact Liesbeth at: liesbeth.huybrechts [at]

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