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Surrendering to and Tracing Uncertainty


Uncertainty and Possibility:
New Approaches to Future Making in Design Anthropology

Authors: Jackson, T., Akama, Y., Pink, S. and Sumartojo, S.
Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date: 2018

About the book

written by Yoko Akama, Sarah Pink and Shanti Sumartojo

Uncertainty and possibility are emerging as both theoretical concepts and fields of empirical investigation, as scholars and practitioners seek new creative, hopeful and speculative modes of understanding and intervening in a world of crisis. This book offers new perspectives on the central issues of uncertainty and possibility, and identifies new research methods which take advantage of disruptive and experimental techniques. Advancing a practical agenda for future making, it reveals how uncertainty can be engaged as a generative 'technology' for understanding, researching and intervening in the world. Drawing on key themes in creative methodologies, such as making, essaying, inhabiting and attuning, chapters explore contemporary sites of practice. The book looks at maker spaces and technology design, the imaginaries of architectural design, the temporalities of built cultural heritage, and interdisciplinary making and performing. Based on the authors' own academic work and their applied research with a range of different organizations, Uncertainty and Possibility outlines new opportunities for research and intervention. It is essential reading for students, scholars and practitioners in design anthropology and human-centred design.

About the chapter

The chapter I co-authored is based upon a workshop which took place at Temple Works. This event brought together a number of scholars from a range of different disciplines and institutions with the intention of exploring the theme of uncertainty within an uncertain space.


Although somewhat tangential to the primary theoretical and methodological contributions introduced in this practice-led PhD, this book chapter might be considered an original and significant publication, and certainly represents a contribution to knowledge outside of the expected remit of this project. The concept of embracing uncertainty as a positive aspect of design thinking could have impact within many different academic and commercial contexts.

The writing of this chapter was also a valuable learning experience. This was the first time I had produced academic writing collaboratively with another scholar and I came to understand the challenges of maintaining a consistent 'voice' throughout the text. However, Yoko Akama was very generous with her time, offering encouragement and constructive feedback throughout the process and I am very proud of the resulting publication.