Author
Borland R.

Year of Publishing
2011

Publisher

Institution

Radical Plumbers and PlayPumps: Objects in Development PhD Thesis

Description:

This thesis analyses the PlayPump, a water pump powered by a children’s roundabout, designed for use in the developing world. The PlayPump has been advanced through the compelling image it suggests to first world audiences, of children’s play effortlessly accomplishing a social good, despite its failures for users on the ground in the developing world. In this thesis, the PlayPump is examined using a framework constructed from the analysis of similarly communicative, multifunctional objects taken from other disciplines and contexts.

Through combined perspectives, the PlayPump is revealed as an object that prioritises benefit to its producers and partners, and the maintenance of its image to audiences, over the needs of users in the developing world.

In closing, a broader view of ‘objects in development’ is proposed, suggesting that objects which act for users and communicate to audiences should be analysed with the same multidisciplinary gaze brought to the analysis of the PlayPump.


Bibliographical Information:

Borland R. (2011) Radical Plumbers and PlayPumps: Objects in Development. PhD Thesis


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