A theory instrument for reimagining embodied practices

Ayşe Özge Ağça*, Jelle van Dijk, Jacob Buur, Harun Kaygan

*Corresponding author for this work

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Embodied Sensemaking Theory describes how people make sense in ongoing interactions with the social and material world. It has potential in projects aimed at changing embodied practices. However, designers often find it challenging to use this complex theory. We build on recent research on tangible ‘Theory Instruments’ for designers. We designed a Theory Instrument for embodied sensemaking with design students who design for social interactions and with young people who investigate their energy consumption. Our analysis of 12 experimental sessions shows how Embodied Sensemaking Theory helps reimagine human practices towards more sustainable futures. Our contribution is two-fold: We show that experiential actions (e.g. weaving lines, shaping textiles, wearing bodybands), rather than the tangible things as such, can represent theory key-aspects in use. We develop a logic of how to disentangle the complexity of lifeworld, socially situated practices, skills and affordances, action-perception couplings, rules and signs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDRS2024 : Boston
EditorsC. Gray, P. Hekkert, L. Forlano, P. Ciuccarelli
Place of PublicationBoston
PublisherDesign Research Society
Publication date2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024
EventDesign Research Society International Conference 2024 - College of Arts, Media, and Design, Northeastern University, Boston, United States
Duration: 24. Jun 202428. Jun 2024


ConferenceDesign Research Society International Conference 2024
LocationCollege of Arts, Media, and Design, Northeastern University
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • embodied practices
  • design process
  • tangible interaction
  • young people
  • embodied cognition


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