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Lecture: "Writ large: Towards a grammar of coordinative artifacts," Kjeld Schmidt
Lecture: "Writ large: Towards a grammar of coordinative artifacts," Kjeld Schmidt
WhenThursday, Jan 30, 2020, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room126
Event typesLectures/Seminars, Special Events
Event sponsors
Target AudienceOpen to the public

Please join Human Centered Design & Engineering for a special event  with the Department's Winter 2020 Department's Distinguished Speaker.

A History of Computing and Automation

Kjeld Schmidt

Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, and University of Siegen, Germany

Enter a modern workplace, look around and look carefully, and you will notice a profusion of inscriptions of the most modest and unassuming kind. We are not here primarily referring to the mountains of text produced and perused as part of everyday work (such as letters, emails, notes, reports, contracts), which naturally typically are at the center of practitioners’ attention, but to an assortment of inconspicuous and mundane semiotic artifacts, such as fault report forms, folders, binder labels, part routing schemes, kanban cards, identification codes, and so on that have been specially designed to facilitate the coordination and integration of cooperative work activities. We call this vast and heterogeneous family of specialized artifacts ‘coordinative artifacts’ (Schmidt & Wagner, 2004).

Though quite unremarkable, such artifacts play an essential role in enabling workers in modern work settings in the coordination and integration of cooperative work activities and have of course been a permanent topic on the agenda of CSCW research from the very beginning. Nevertheless, the manner in which these coordinative artifacts fulfill that role has not been subjected to systematic analysis. Based on a number of ethnographic and similar in-depth studies of cooperative work in different domains of work (in particular manufacturing, software engineering, architectural design, oncology treatment, and ICD pacemaker treatment) the talk will attempt to identify and describe the logics of the practices of designing and using such coordinative artifacts.

About the speaker

Kjeld Schmidt is Professor of Work, Organization, and Technology at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, and Senior Professor at the University of Siegen, Germany.

Initially a software programmer (1965-72), Schmidt studied sociology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and obtained his MSc degree in sociology from the University of Lund, Sweden, in 1974.
Schmidt has been involved in the research area of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) since the 1980s and has played a key role in defining the field.

Bridging from philosophy to sociology to computer science and encompassing ethnographic studies, conceptual analysis, and development of demonstrator prototypes, his research primarily has centered on the conceptual foundations of CSCW research. He is the author of Cooperative Work and Coordinative Practices (Springer 2011). In addition, he has published 70+ peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers, and book chapters and has co-edited 27 books and special issues of scholarly journals. Kjeld Schmidt has been Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) since its launch in 1992 and has at the same time been centrally involved in organizing a large number of CSCW conferences.
Schmidt was awarded the honorary title of dr.scient.soc. in 2007 and in 2013 he received the EUSSET-IISI Life Time Achievement Award.

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