Here we present some key points that establish our working culture as a research group and as teachers. We are aiming for creating a -unfortunately still a counter- culture for our group within the dominant work culture. Following points reflect our current practice, and are always open to suggestions and comments.

Our commitments for student wellbeing:

All members of futurewell act as allies, and are ready to support students, to voice their concerns about the issues in the university. 

We support student activities, and organise student/faculty together activities. 

We apply an open policy for grading, clearly indicating what each work is graded for (including all creative courses). Students are usually given the opportunity to make revisions during pre-defined timeframes to enhance their learning (Though revisions may not always mean increasing a grade). 

We are working on making our syllabi as open as possible, as we see syllabi as a ‘document of negotiation’. 

We appreciate and evaluate the feedback coming from students on the course content and our teaching methods. We collect qualitative feedback from students, wish lists and evaluate them carefully for each course, making relevant changes for the next semesters. 

We support students to work on the projects (e.g. graduation projects) that they find meaningful and have fun, as soon as we are convinced on the “social” aspect and their relation to design. 

Our commitments for employee’s wellbeing:

Futurewell is defined by collaborative work and collaborative success. We work hard with internal and external deadlines, collaborators, and in long term projects, and this may become stressful easily. Talking about how the work is distributed openly, and giving a hand to each other whenever needed (reading someone’s draft, taking over a recitation hour etc.) are things to warm up practicing reciprocity at work.

We believe no deadline is more important than our wellbeing. We respect our and other’s time, and everyone’s out-of-work commitments. We define and hold *internal* deadlines by using clear indicators to what and when we expect from each other. 

Though we cannot forbid a definition of hard work with ‘more than necessary’ working hours, our definition of success is something that is set and perceived differently from individual to individual. It is everyone’s own responsibility to define their success criteria and manage their time, dividing between different roles.

External expectations from individuals may affect the distribution of overall workload within the group. We suggest opening up such requests to the discussion with the group before accepting them. 

We aim to build trust relationships, where we see each other as full humans, including imperfection. So, we celebrate our effort, contributions, failures, rejections and what we are learning from those. 

We value feedback. We establish open and dynamic communication channels within the research group. 

For our research and collaborations, we prefer and support each other to work on topics and projects that matters for us, that we associate, find meaningful and have fun. Even if there is a pre-given structure, we as researchers question those, trying to find an approach to impact the projects for a better future for all.

We respect everyone’s opinions and differences.

We support travels, visiting researcher, artist in residence applications, and planned leave. Noone is punished for wishing for better, more engaging conditions for themselves. Still, for the health and well-being of the remaining persons, and for sustaining beyond the institution relationships, well in-advance notices (min 6 months for planned and paid leave) are crucial if you plan to relocate, pause or leave. In case of conflicts, discussions are conducted openly with everyone’s involvement. Though we can not avoid things happen, we believe listening to the other side is a key for personal growth and empathy.

Our Work Culture:

As a core research group, we have lab meetings (now online via Zoom) at 10:00 am from monday to thursday, sometimes extended to people that we collaborate with, work & study students. 

There are work hierarchies, and tasks or leadership roles to be owned. Still, this does not mean there needs to be human hierarchies based on some assumptions. We eat, talk, watch, socialise together.  We do not impose pre-defined hierarchical language (You/you, sen/Siz), everybody’s free to choose the form to talk to each other, as soon as it is comfortable for both sides. If not otherwise mentioned “first name” is ok. 

We use trello and slack to organise our daily work.(Please suggest us other tools)

You are not allowed to do the followings in our lab:

Use discriminatory examples, or ask for something based on prejudgements on the others.

Compare yourself with others on what you achieved (e.g. paper acceptances, grades).

Engage in harassment speech (e.g.: being ageist, sexist and so on, one example ageist sentence: “May be you are too old/senior to become a TA for that course/to start a new project”).

Other well-being violating acts (e.g.: mansplaining, seniorsplaining etc.).

References (please let us know, if you have good sources):

Jessica Hammer, Alexandra To, and Erica Principe Cruz. 2020. Lab Counterculture. In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems(CHI EA ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1–14. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3334480.3381824

Zeynep Yildiz, Özge Subasi: Disabled and Design Researcher: An Unexpected Relationship?. Conference on Designing Interactive Systems 2020: xx-xx [forthcoming]