Design and Deploying Tools to ‘Actively Engaging Nature’: The My Naturewatch Project as an Agent for Engagement

Phillips, Robert; Abbas-Nazari, Amina; Tooze, James; Gaver, William; Boucher, Andy; Ovalle, Liliana; Sheen, Andy; Brown, Dean; Matsuda, Naho and Vanis, Michail. 2019. 'Design and Deploying Tools to ‘Actively Engaging Nature’: The My Naturewatch Project as an Agent for Engagement'. In: HCII 2019: Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population. Design for the Elderly and Technology Acceptance. Orlando, Florida, United States 26-31 July 2019. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

‘Shifting Baseline Syndrome’ is highly apparent in the context of
generational shifts in work and life patterns that reduce interaction with and knowledge of the natural world, and therefore expectations of it. This is exacerbated by changes in the natural world itself due to climate change, biodiversity decline and a range of anthropogenic factors. Distributed and accessible technologies,
and grass roots approaches provide fresh opportunities for interactions, which enable active engagement in ecological scenarios. The My NatureWatch project uses digital devices to collect visual content about UK wildlife, promoting ‘active engagements with nature’. The project embodies Inclusive
Design in the Digital Age, as the activity; engages a wide demographic community, can be used by all, provided user led agency and produced methodological design lessons.

The article frames My Naturewatch as an agent for active designed engagements with nature. The research objective is to comprehend ‘how to design tools for positive nature engagement’ holding value for; (1) academic communities as validated methodologies (2) the public through access to enabling technologies, content and knowledge (3) industry in the form of new; experiences, engagements and commerce. The approach is specifically designed to yield insights from a multitude of engagements, through the deployment of accessible, lowcost products. Project reporting documents the benefits, pitfalls and opportunities in the aforementioned engagement uncovered through design-led approaches. Insights are gathered from public/community facing workshops, wildlife experts, ecologists, economists, educators and wildlife NGO’s. The engagement methodologies are compared highlighting which initiative yielded ‘Active Engagement with Nature’.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Identification Number (DOI):


User centred design, Nature, Engagement, DIY

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Design > Interaction Research Studio


29 July 2019Completed
8 June 2019Published
19 March 2019Accepted

Event Location:

Orlando, Florida, United States

Date range:

26-31 July 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

25 Oct 2019 15:38

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2021 10:53


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