Stir it up by using innovative design research methods to further narrow, explore, and develop ideas for the future of your topic.

Stir Sessions


The Stir sessions are the main focus of the symposium. Participants bring their expertise and experiences from their disciplines into the session. They work in collaboration with each other to explore new ways to approach big issues (Learning, Eating, Conserving, Moving, and Living).
While the Moderators facilitate, Consultants are available to provide information if necessary, but it is the participants who drive the direction of the session. The focus is primarily to explore the processes of how to approach these topics. There are no “right” answers – just how do we all work together? How do we each look at these topics differently? Could we learn from each other in a way that would be beneficial for later collaboration? Each group then visualizes their process and outcome to present to the rest of the participants – but, don’t worry you’re not alone to document this!

A Visualizer is also present in each Stir session. They are charged with observing the process and documenting it to be included in the conference proceedings to be published after the symposium.

Check out some Sketchnotes from the 2011 Stir Symposium on

“As a practicing researcher who was just visualizing stuff, I was eager to see a more meta analysis on how different tool kits work for different people/topics/environments, etc. It was fun though, and I think the attendees who don't necessarily have participatory design research experience learned a lot.”

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