Tagung – „Computing is Work!“
Donnerstag, 06. - Samstag, 08. Juli 2017

This conference, the launch event for the Social Studies of Information group in the Siegen University iSchool, brings together a distinguished group of international scholars to examine different aspects of computing and its history through the lens of work. We humans spend most of our waking lives working. Work includes cultural, intellectual, managerial, and emotional labor as well as physical toil. Despite this, most work by humanities and media scholars implicitly treats the study of work as marginal or uninteresting. Even the study of “digital practices” rarely engages with the specifics of the workplace, despite the importance of distributed micro-practices like clickworking. Information technology underpins the transformation of work today, as it has it in the past.

We welcome interdisciplinary contributions that address computing as work practice, both on a local, situated, infrastructural level. Speakers will be exploring many kinds of work, from the work of computerized literary production to the work of scientific research. We believe that close attention to the social processes of work has the cross-cutting potential to integrate a variety of historical, social and ethnographic research approaches, from labor history to the scientific ethnography to the study of media practices as cooperative accomplishments, into a revealing whole.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Matthew Jones, James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization, Columbia University.
  • Matthew Kirschenbaum, Professor of English, University of Maryland.
  • Fred Turner, Professor of Communication, Stanford University.
  • Kjeld Schmidt, Professor of Work, Technology & Organization, Copenhagen Business

Participation is free. Please register in advance with Anja Höse: anja.hoese@sfb1187.uni-siegen.de.

Supported by the Siegen University iSchool, the Collaborative Research Centre “Media of
Cooperation”, Siegen and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research North Rhine-



Below you will find videos of most of the panels and discussion from the program.


Scientific Workplaces

Structuring Labor

CSCW as Theory and Practice


Institutions and Markets

Fun and Games

Art and Literature

Closing Remarks


Universität Siegen
Campus Am Herrengarten
AH 217/218
Am Herrengarten 3
57068 Siegen


July 6, Thursday (Artur-Woll-Haus)

Opening Remarks: Computing is Work! , Thomas Haigh (Wisconsin–Milwaukee/Siegen) and Sebastian Giessmann (Siegen)
Round Table: Computer Supported Cooperative Work as Theory and Practice , Erhard Schüttpelz / Volker Wulf (Siegen)
Keynote: Data Mining is Work: Scaling Algorithms, Overcoming Friction, Redefining Knowledge, Matthew Jones (Columbia)
[Panel: Scientific Workplaces] Work will be 3D: Imaginary Workplaces and Volumetric Displays // Archiving is Work, Archaeology Even More, Jens Schröter (Bonn) // Gerard Alberts (Amsterdam)
[Panel: Structuring Labor] Women at Work: Decoding Femininity in Computing in India // Documentation is Work: Flowcharts as Temporal Boundary Objects, Roli Varma (New Mexico) // Nathan Ensmenger (Indiana)

July 7, Friday (Artur-Woll-Haus and Museum für Gegenwartskunst) -- Please consult the program available for download for details on the venues!

Keynote: Coordination is Work: The Problem of Computerizing Coordinative Practices, Kjeld Schmidt (Copenhagen)
[Panel: Workflows] ”Muddling through” is Work: a Plea for Workflow Oriented Computing // Stopping Fake News is Work, Kari Kuutti (Oulo) // Maria Haigh (Milwaukee / Siegen)
[Panel: Institutions and Markets] Copycatting is Work: The Diverse Labours of the Shenzhen Electronics Markets // Networking is Work: How Computing Institutions Matter even When Networks Fail, Hallam Stevens (Nanyang) // Ben Peters (Tulsa)
Keynote: Bohemia is Work: Reimagining Art and Labor Inside Facebook, Fred Turner (Stanford) PLEASE NOTE: This talk will be given at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst

July 8, Saturday (Artur-Woll-Haus)

[Panel: Fun and Games] Leisure is Work: The Making of the Soviet Computing Collectives // Games are Work: Notes from the "Little Silicone Valley", Ksenia Tatarchenko (Geneva) // Laine Nooney (Georgia Tech)
Closing Remarks, Thomas Haigh (Wisconsin–Milwaukee/Siegen) and Sebastian Giessmann (Siegen)
Keynote: (Even) Literature is Work! Word Processing and Literary Labor, Matthew Kirschenbaum (Maryland)


SFB 1187 - Medien der Kooperation
Thomas Haigh
SFB 1187 - Medien der Kooperation
Sebastian Gießmann

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