Materiality in probes: Three perspectives for co-exploring patient democracy

Eva Knutz, Thomas Markussen, Signe Mårbjerg Thomsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The overall aim of this paper is to increase designers’ understanding
of how materiality can be of value in probing. Initially, we position
ourselves in relation to existing approaches to probing. Hereafter, we
introduce three different theoretical perspectives on materiality in
order to make some useful conceptual distinctions. The explanatory
strength of each perspective is then exemplified through a case study,
where probing was used extensively as a method of co-exploring
cancer patients’ individual and social needs. The contribution of
the paper lies in offering a detailed understanding of how the
materialising of probes can be used as different modes of inquiry
in co-exploring activities. Through these, we define a more holistic
picture of the cancer patient in a societal context both as individual, as
family member, as patient and as citizen, in relation to how individual
participation in own treatment might be configured.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)142-162
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Probing, Co-Exploring, Social Design, Patient-Centred Care
  • probing
  • Materiality
  • design for well-being
  • design & democracy
  • material participation

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