This one-day workshop invites discussion on the various socio-technical processes and dynamics that characterise scale and scaling in local, community-sited initiatives. Seeking to move beyond a view of scale as mere growth in numbers and a matter of technology-mediated replication, the workshop aims at developing a nuanced vocabulary to talk about various forms of scale and practices of scaling in CSCW research. It will bring together interdisciplinary scholars, activists, practitioners  and representatives of the public sector who wish to question and further develop the notion of scale generally associated with processes of upscaling. The workshop provides a forum to discuss: i) concepts, theories and empirical cases that broaden our view of what constitutes scale; and ii) the implications for CSCW research in assessing the long-term impact and sustenance of socio-technical innovations. The workshop will accommodate up to twenty participants and will be run virtually. 

Workshop Goals

The goals for the workshop include: 

  • Identifying research areas, theories and empirical cases that help expand accounts of what constitutes scale and scaling; 
  • Developing a vocabulary to talk about different forms of scale;
  • Highlighting the various dimensions along which scaling processes and dynamics can be articulated and understood; 
  • Discussing the role of digital technologies and existing infrastructures  in enabling, or hindering, scaling processes;
  • Discussing the relationships between a multifaceted notion of scale and impact. Can the circulation of an idea be regarded as an indication of impact despite the different ways of organizing and mobilizing work between local initiatives?
  • Outlining elements of socio-technical interventions that are challenging to replicate; 
  • Unpacking the connections between bottom-up initiatives and public organizations and their relevance in providing CSCW research with more nuanced accounts of scaling;
  • Encouraging interactions and collaborations between researchers, practitioners and activists for whom aspects of scale are central to mobilize and sustain action over time; 
  • Supporting and scaffolding collaborations beyond the time frame of the workshop.