Human Factors in Semantics

Knowledge of each other is knowledge for the machines

about RCIS 2024 JOWO 2024 contact

Introducing the 1st SESsION Workshop:
Exploring ontology-based design interactions for sustainability research
Download the workshop flyer here

What's this workshop about?

Contemporary social ecological research requires collaboration between scientists, policy and decision-makers, citizens, and stakeholders in general, who hold different values, goals, epistemologies, experiences, and understandings of the world. Especially in critical fields such as health care, sustainability, and climate change, the uncertainty, semantic ambiguities, conflicting meanings, and lack of ontological structure hinder the creation of clear and explicit knowledge that can be easily categorised, stored, compared, and reused. Semantic approaches, e.g. formal ontologies and ontology-driven conceptual modelling, offer solutions for aligning and integrating meanings and knowledge systems, yet can be challenging to learn and apply. In this workshop we explore an ontology-based conceptual model for social ecological systems (SESs) integration and query its utility for participatory knowledge co-design. The model brings together two prominent frameworks SESs, and maps their concepts and relationships through ontological analysis. Nonetheless the model itself is complex and its ontological commitments might not be immediately accessible for stakeholders. To overcome these issues, we leverage Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and interaction design techniques to devise participatory workshop activities to interrogate sustainability scenarios through the integrated SESs model and evaluate the model itself. Participants in the workshop will get hands-on experience with card games, object theatre, and role-play as participatory methodologies for embodied sense-making and knowledge co-design.

    Topics of interest:
  1. Participatory modelling;
  2. HCI;
  3. Interaction design;
  4. Conceptual modelling;
  5. Ontologies;
  6. Social and environmental sustainability.

WORKSHOP OUTLINE, 14th of May 2024 (ROOM S1)

09:00 - 09:05 Welcome

09:05 - 09:20 Introduction to Social-Ecological Systems
Speaker: Dr. Greta Adamo

09:20 - 09:35 Introduction to Participatory Sense-making
Speaker: Dr. Max Willis

09:35 - 09:45 Icebreaker role-play interaction
"I am a Concept"

09:45- 10:25 Game and play session 1: SESsION Scripts
"Making sense of an ontology-based Conceptual Model through SESs scenarios"
Exploring SESs scenarios using a conceptual model

10:25-10:30 Activity debrief

10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break

11:00 - 11:40 Game and play session 2: "Risk,Impact, Adaptation, and Mitigation Game"
Incorporating conceptual modelling and ontologies within a game

11:40 - 12:20 Game and play session 3: "Sustainable Development Goals SDG5 Gender Equality and SDG4 Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education"
Exploring ontology-based discourse analysis of gameplay data

12:20 - 12:30 Activity debrief and conclusion

This workshop will be held at RCIS 2024
the 18th International Conference on Research Challenges in Information Sciences
Guimarães, Portugal, 14-17 May, 2024

What is SESsION?

During our postdoctoral research on the island of Madiera, Portugal between 2019 and 2021, we began to engage with social ecological systems (SESs) approaches, which offer ways to study and articulate how the natural ecosystems and human activities are inextricably bound together. In so far as nature is affected by climate change, which itself is driven by technological developments created by humans, the earth itself can be seen as one big SES. Two popular interpretations of SESs are the social ecological systems framework (SESF) and the ecosystem services (ES) cascade; the former emerged from political science and is concerned with the use, sharing, governance and sustainable management of common pool resources. The latter was developed from the field of environmental economics, and focuses on the benefits and values-based provided by nature that affect human well-being. The two approaches produce different forms of data, knowledge and, thus, research outcomes, even as they they are both concerned with sustainable management of SESs.

At the RCIS 2022 conference we presented an initial ontological analysis and integrated perspective which brought the two frameworks together, and at RCIS 2023 we offered an extension paper, which redesigned and extended our initial integrated perspective with a particular focus on technology. This year at RCIS 2024 we will present you with SESsION, the Social Ecological Systems Integrated ONtology and a series of embodied sensemaking activities to make the complex conceptual model and integrated ontology accessible and useable for the generation of ontologically-grounded SESs knowledge.

Embodied sense-making with conceptual models and ontologies for sustainability research

Format and activities

The workshop will be a half-day event organised into several sub-activities. We begin with a simple Getting to Know You exercise and a brief introductory presentation. Subsequent activities are organized as scripts, which set the stage for groups of participants to engage in ontology-based scenario analysis. Activities range from an introduction of the model and its parts using printed artefacts and play tokens to a more in-depth examination of SESs scenarios using the model as a lens, then demonstrating the potential for field-data entry and interoperability, and finally, a reflexive examination of the model itself using the same discursive artefacts as previously to interrogate the concepts and relations of the model itself.

The workshop scripts scaffold increasingly complex knowledge of the model through its use. Throughout this process, we will draw attention to the different aspects of interaction design, which we are operationalizing to facilitate these participatory activities. We discuss one of the main challenges in participation: balancing voices in the commons, and creating an interaction space where all participants feel safe and empowered to share and learn. We demonstrate some basic techniques in dialogue design to account for conflict and dissonance.

The SESsION workshop is organized by
Philosopher and Ontologist Dr. Greta Adamo
and Interaction Designer Dr. Max Willis

Join us! This workshop is a participation event; potential attendees do not need to submit any paper(s) to join the workshop. We will canvas the RCIS community with a short survey and invitation to participate, which will help us to anticipate group sizes and organisation on the day. Anyone who wishes to participate in the activities will be welcome, and each workshop phase will allow people to leave and join as they please. Participants will be invited to co-author an article on the workshop experience and lessons learned on the use of ontologies and ontology-driven conceptual modelling in participatory modelling and knowledge co-design for complex, multi-perspective, and uncertain domains.

To sign up for the workshop or for more information
please email Screenshot