Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The Ethical Implications of HCI's Turn to the Cultural

Benford, Steve; Greenhalgh, Chris; Anderson, Bob; Jacobs, Rachel; Golembewski, Michael; Jirotka, Marina; Stahl, Bernd Carsten; Timmermans, Job; Giannachi, Gabriella; Adams, Matt; Farr, Ju Row; Tandavanitj, Nick; Jennings, Kirsty


Dunford Chair in Computer Science

Bob Anderson

Rachel Jacobs

Michael Golembewski

Marina Jirotka

Bernd Carsten Stahl

Job Timmermans

Gabriella Giannachi

Matt Adams

Ju Row Farr

Nick Tandavanitj

Kirsty Jennings


We explore the ethical implications of HCI’s turn to the ‘cultural’. This is motivated by an awareness of how cultural applications, in our case interactive performances, raise ethical issues that may challenge established research ethics processes. We review research ethics, HCI’s engagement with ethics and the ethics of theatrical performance. Following an approach grounded in Responsible Research Innovation, we present the findings from a workshop in which artists, curators, commissioners, and researchers explored ethical challenges revealed by four case studies. We identify six ethical challenges for HCI’s engagement with cultural applications: transgression, boundaries, consent, withdrawal, data, and integrity. We discuss two broader implications of these: managing tensions between multiple overlapping ethical frames; and the importance of managing ethical challenges during and after an experience as well as beforehand. Finally, we discuss how our findings extend previous discussions of Value Sensitive Design in HCI.


Golembewski, M., Benford, S., Greenhalgh, C., Anderson, B., Jacobs, R., Golembewski, M., …Jennings, K. (2015). The Ethical Implications of HCI's Turn to the Cultural. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 22(5), 1-37.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Aug 1, 2015
Publication Date Aug 1, 2015
Deposit Date Oct 22, 2015
Publicly Available Date Oct 22, 2015
Journal ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Print ISSN 1073-0516
Electronic ISSN 1557-7325
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 5
Article Number 24
Pages 1-37
Keywords Art, performance, ethics, uncomfortable interactions, discomfort, con- sent, withdrawal, boundaries, transgression, integrity, Blast Theory, Active Ingredient, Urban Angel, Thrill Laboratory, research in the wild
Public URL
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:
Additional Information © ACM, 2015. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, v. 22, no. 5, August 2015.


TOCHI ethics published - our version.pdf (8.6 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

You might also like

Downloadable Citations