Call for Participation: Critical Tools for Machine Learning

We welcome expressions of interest to participate in an online workshop “Critical Tools for Machine Learning:  Figuring, fabulating, situating, diffracting machine learning systems design” (CritML). The workshop will take place on July 11th, as part of the CHItaly conference. The workshop continues and expands on the themes of other events that we organised, particularly within the CF+ project, but goes more into hands-on interventions into machine learning systems design with feminist and other critical tools.

CritML draws on feminist and critical methodologies to construct interdisciplinary interventions in the design of machine learning systems, towards more inclusive, reflective, and contextualized systems design. Tapping into feminist technoscience research, the project takes up concepts of “figuration”, “situating/situated knowledge”, “critical fabulation/speculation” and “diffraction” as theoretical tools that can help re-imagine machine learning systems design as a more contextualized, transdisciplinary process.  

The purpose of this hands-on workshop is to experiment with how machine learning systems can be imagined and designed in a more situated, inclusive, contextualized, and accountable way to reduce the systemic socio-cultural biases and develop more socially responsible frameworks of design. The premise of the work is that while computer science has developed sophisticated technical tools to improve machine learning accuracy and expand application fields, it is facing issues with regards to systemic socio-cultural bias. Critical theories, particularly feminist and postcolonial critical theories, have developed tools to address societal bias and its embeddedness in systems of thought and technology, and to trace how these embeddings give rise to new and reproduce existing hierarchies of power in society.  

This workshop thus aims to translate insights developed by those critical study fields into approaches in machine learning systems design through an experimental workshop. It will be a hands-on workshop and will not require abstract or paper contributions from participants. The idea is to learn about these critical concepts and explore how they can be worked with as interventions in machine learning systems design.  

Practical details: 

Date & place: 11 July 2021 (time TBC), online 

Workshop website:  

Registration: Please note your interest in participating by filling this form:

Please ket us know if you want to participate as soon as possible, preferably before May 20th. The workshop is open to CHItaly participants. However, registrations for single workshops are possible too. Please follow website for more information and registration.  

Publication & follow-up: There will be no collective publication following the workshop, as it is intended more as a hands-on activity. However, the process will be documented and published on the blog for critical computing  

Target audience: This workshop is meant for computer scientists and social scientists who are particularly interested in critical computing and critical design methodologies and human-algorithm interaction as well as participatory algorithmic systems design. 

Organisers: Goda Klumbytė (Gender/Diversity in Informatics Systems, University of Kassel), Claude Draude (Gender/Diversity in Informatics Systems, University of Kassel), Alex Taylor (Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London). The workshop is part of a larger dissertation project “Learning with the Margins: Refiguring Machine Learning Systems Design with Critical Epistemologies”. For more information please contact: