Tuesday 12pm, 8 May 2018

Sarah fox pic

Managerial Visions: Interrogating “self-governance,” IoT, and the public restroom

Sarah Fox

PhD Candidate and Visiting Scholar - University of Washington


In this talk, Sarah Fox will describe research interrogating the pervasive but under-examined domain of public restroom technologies within and beyond the city of Seattle, Washington. Drawing on a mix of participant observation, interviews, and discourse analysis, she will discuss forms of governance that surface within public restrooms. Over the course of the research, internet of things technologies (IoT)—or, connected devices imbued with computational capacity—at first seeming distant and fantastic within these sites, become increasingly close to hand through the imaginings of far off hygiene product manufacturers that guide local care efforts. Fox will use this case study to examine the managerial oversight involved in the care and upkeep of public sites, processes that prove increasingly critical to design scholarship as it attends to computer-mediated collaboration beyond white-collar professionals.


Sarah Fox is a PhD candidate in Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington, as well as a Visiting Scholar in the Hybrid Ecologies Lab at the University of California, Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. Her research investigates the social and political circumstances of technology development, with an emphasis on practices at the periphery of industrial production, from feminist making and hacking to collaborative development of menstrual infrastructure. Her work has earned awards in leading computing venues including ACM CSCW, CHI, and DIS, and has been featured in special issues of the Journal of Peer Production and New Media and Society. She holds a Master's degree in Digital Media from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she was a part of the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing. She has worked in design research at Microsoft Research, Google, and Intel Labs.