Interviews as a source to experience

To explore ‘witnessed presence’ 21 interviews was carried out in the UK, the Netherlands and in India. Interviews were carried out with designers, social scientists, engineers, artists and business developers. Most interviewed people are fluent in more than one professional language and have a rich experience on which their insights and skills are based. A coherent overview of the research, including film material and transcripts can also be found at:

The interviews had a very open character taking the experience and expertise of the interviewed people as perspective. The interviews can be best characterized as conversations in which current thinking was shared and explored in the different discourses of the different disciplines in which the interviewed people work. Therefore every interview had a different structure even though in all the notion of witnessed presence was addressed. Also in all interviews the different dimensions of witnessed presence, time, place, action and relation, were investigated in relation to the practice and insights of the person who was interviewed.

The specific understanding of a phenomenon and the words that describe this phenomenon in relation to other concepts and phenomena in a specific discipline are diverse and cannot be easily transposed to other disciplines. The understanding of interdisciplinary research in this study builds upon the awareness that such research requires multi-lingual skills as well as an open attitude. When researchers are capable of establishing a trustworthy collaboration between them, interdisciplinary work can add value to each of the disciplines involved as well as that it contributes to knowledge and insight in its own right. In this study the principal investigator, Dr. Caroline Nevejan, can build upon a rich experience of interdisciplinary work and has acquired some multi lingual capacity in this work. Secondly, all of the people she interviewed were willing to endure the un-comfortability that is part of exploring new territories. The fact that the research, aims to contribute to the understanding of human acceptance of autonomous systems, has a clear perspective made it possible to connect concepts and insights form different disciplines as well.

Because all of the interviews were filmed, there was a limited amount of time in which the performance of ‘thinking together’ had to take place. The performance element due to the presence of the camera and cameraman, contributed to the concentrated effort that was made. Another reason for filming the interviews is the spatiotemporal trajectories, that cannot be translated into language as such. The wide-angle filmed material of the interviews provides an impression of the way the people interviewed move and gesticulate while being deeply involved in expressing their views. The reports and transcriptions of the interviews on this site include fragments of the filmed material .