PhD Thesis

My PhD thesis: „Homes for Life and Other Stories – The Use and Evaluation of Design Fiction as a Means to Understand Senstive Setting: a Case Study of Exploring Technologies for Dementia Care“ is available here.

Abstract: Design fictions are used in HCI to position emerging technologies in fictional future worlds, through which the complexities of our relationships with technologies can be represented, explored and experienced. They promise to stimulate discussions about sensitive topics, such as the future of technology-enabled care, a complex area with contrasting emotional, social and practical views and wishes. However, the term design fiction is currently associated with a wide range of uses, and artefacts. It is also linked to contrasting philosophies and frameworks, which are often not made explicit, as I show in an initial survey with practitioners. This makes it difficult to identify what makes a design fiction good or effective for different purposes. This thesis aims to answer the research question: How can design fiction be used and evaluated in understanding sensitive settings? I turn to the Constructive Design Research framework and adapt it to classify how design fiction is used in HCI. I outline how design fiction can be used in the showroom approach, where it is most commonly placed, but also how it can be used as a lab and field approach to gather insights into the responses to design fictions. I developed design fictions and explored how they can be used to further discussions around the use of monitoring technologies in dementia care: an area challenging to research because of ethical issues associated with deployment studies of prototype technologies. The contribution of this thesis is threefold: first, a methodological contribution into the use of design fiction in HCI and an evaluation of the Constructive Design Research framework as a means to classify research through design fiction. Second, insights into participants’ views and wishes about technology-led care in regards to dementia. Third, a design contribution of artefacts that can be used to stimulate further debate around the topic.


Sandjar Kozubaev, Chris Elsden, Noura Howell, Marie Louise Juul Sondergaard, Nick Merrill, Britta Schulte, and Richmond Y. Wong. 2020. Expanding Modes of Reflection in Design Futuring. (2020). DOI: Full text available here.

Renee Noortman, Britta F. Schulte, Paul Marshall, Saskia Bakker, and Anna L. Cox. 2019. HawkEye – Deploying a Design Fiction Probe. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’19), ACM, New York, NY, USA, 422:1–422:14. DOI: Full text available here.

Britta F. Schulte, Zuzanna Lechelt, and Aneesha Singh. 2018. Giving up Control – A Speculative Air Pollution Mask to Reflect on Autonomy and Technology Design. In Proceedings of the 19th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility  – DIS ’18, ACM Press, Hong Kong, China, 177–181. DOI: Full text available here.

Britta F. Schulte, Paul Marshall, and Anna L. Cox. 2016. Homes For Life: A Design Fiction Probe. In Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, ACM, Gothenburg, Sweden, 80. DOI: Full text available here.

Britta F. Schulte. 2016. Using design fiction to reflect on autonomy in smart technology for people living with dementia. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing: Adjunct, ACM, 1110–1113. DOI: Full text available here.

Britta Friederike Schulte. 2015. Designing garments for people with dementia: Innovative practice. Dementia 14, 5 (2015), 691–695.

Britta Friederike Schulte. 2013. Designing Guiding Garments for People Affected by Dementias. In Human Factors in Computing and Informatics (Lecture Notes in Computer Science), Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 657–663. Pre-print available here.

Fiction & Design Work

The Secret – Flash Fiction, published in the anthology: Virtual Futures: Near-Future Fictions vol. 1, 2019 ed. by Dan O’Hara, Tom Ward & Stephen Oram, available here. A reading of the story can be found here.

The Drop – Flash Fiction, published in the zine: Menstruation Conversation, ed. 2018, by Keira Edwards-Huolohan, available here.

Walk on Water – Short Story, published in the online anthology: Novelty Magazine, vol 10, 2017, available here.

Stitches of Protest – Knitting Pattern, published in the zine: Storied Stitches vol 2, ed by Valentina Castro, available here.

Close to the Heart: a Memory Sweater – Knitting Pattern, published in Strange Materials: Storytelling through Textiles, 2014, ed. by Leanne Prain, available here.