Call for Research Assistants – Fall 2022

Multiple RA Positions for Fall 2022 with Critical by Design research team

The Critical By Design interdisciplinary research group is hiring Research Assistants at the Master’s and PhD levels to join our 5-year project on responsible innovation and Critical Design.

**Update 08/22/22: We are also encouraging upper year undergraduate students and international students to apply!

The team’s immediate goal is to establish benchmarks for responsible innovation based on standards of inclusivity, diversity, equity, and attention toward social, psychological, and environmental impacts of technology. Ultimately, the team will create pedagogical tools and resources (workshops, videos, online modules, community portals, etc.) that help tech researchers and professionals integrate ethical considerations more carefully into their workflow.

Students from all faculties are invited to apply as we are seeking to create a diverse student team to complement our cross-disciplinary agenda. Research Assistants will join the team in Year 1 to conduct a review of responsible innovation toolkits and literature, interface with potential stakeholders (faculty, students, tech professionals), identify possible areas for intervention, and begin the process of designing responsible innovation resources. Candidates should demonstrate a passion for responsible innovation and/or critical design theories and methods and must be open to interdisciplinary ways of thinking and working.

Full-time assignments for the 2022/2023 academic year are for two semesters (10 hours/week x 12 weeks/semester) with a salary of $6,848/term(Master’s) or $8,148/term (PhD). Part-time applicants will also be considered and are encouraged to apply. Selected candidates will have an opportunity to extend their position beyond Year 1, based on performance, for up to 5 years. Appropriate compensation for undergraduate applicants can be arranged.

To apply, please submit the following to Professor Marcel O’Gorman (marcel@uwaterloo.ca) by August 27, 2022:

  • a cover letter of maximum 2 pages outlining your reasons for wishing to join the research team, describing any relevant areas of interest and expertise, and stating your academic status (MA/PhD? Year of study?) and program of study(faculty, department,area of specialization),
  • an up-to-date CV
  • any other materials or details that help demonstrate your passion for responsible innovation and/or critical design

The research team is committed to principles of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), and these standards will be followed throughout the hiring process and during the tenure of each student’s assistantship.We will provide training in EDI to students and work to promote a safe, collaborative work environment.

Infrastructural 8-bit Games

For ENGL 799, Winter 2019: Critical Media Infrastructures, students submitted mini projects composed of several parts: they selected old pieces of media or technology that are no longer in use, created miniature Bitsy games that highlight aspects of the selected device’s infrastructural histories, subjects, or contexts.

Sid Heeg, Farming Evolved

“Farming Evolved” is an exploration of how the dairy farm landscape has changed in the past century with changes in technology. From the traditional milk can to the robotic milkers, discover how work demands on the farm have changed by exploring three different dairy farm layouts.

AC Atienza, Directional Input Museum

Many people assume that new tech is strictly better than old tech, but is this always the case? The first game is a test of two ways of inputting directions, while the second is an exploratory museum. These games celebrate the different ways we’ve historically selected directions in videogames, and asks what kind of economy, social system, user demographic, etc may encourage the revival of tech we thought were “old”. Could your next project benefit from re-adopting one of these systems?

Play part two here.

Emily Acton, Pokemon Junk Drawer

Pokémon Junk Drawer explores the problems of planned obsolescence in videogame hardware. Drawing from the central “catch ’em all” ethos of the iconic Pokémon Red, players embark on a quest to repair the protagonist’s old gaming console, collecting electronic “junk” along the way. “Pokémon Junk Drawer” seeks to ask: how long can the owner of a videogame enjoy their property before it dies? And, once it breaks, how far will the player have to go to sustain their former experience?

Lia Black, No Print Media

No Print Media! interrogates the transition from print to digital forms and the invisibility of digital forms’ underlying infrastructure. While digital forms avoid the deforestation and oil consumption in the production of print media, they are not devoid of environmental implications. No Print Media! draws the player’s attention to these implications, not to make a statement about whether print or digital forms are preferable, but rather to raise consumer awareness of the underlying processes behind these digital forms.

Brian Freiter, Museum of Typewriter History

Learn about technologies that culminate in the form of the modern keyboard. See what worked and what did not.