Abstract In this paper we explore the practice of ethical responsiveness in Human–Computer Interaction (HCI) research, by presenting an empirical case study with a genocide memorial centre in Rwanda, focusing on researcher practice and experience. Our research investigated how this cultural institution operates, working with local and global communities and organizations to sustain its activities. We introduce our case to create a ‘rich picture’ of the ethical context for consideration. Drawing upon our autoethnographic insights as HCI researchers who were members of a larger project team, we will go on to provide a qualitative account of the ethical sensibilities that we engaged in the course of our case study, and specifically how, in conducting and reporting on the research, we chose to position ourselves relative to the institutional values of the centre and the personally held beliefs of its staff, as our research partners, participants, and stakeholders. We also address how our work dealt with broader ethical concerns of working in socially, culturally and politically sensitive settings. Our paper argument hinges around our developing practice of ‘ethical responsiveness’, grounded in established philosophies. We draw upon Pragmatist and Dialogical ethics to position researcher answerability within relationships between the key research partners and stakeholders. We further conceptualize ethics as a lived and emergent concern made manifest through these relationships, experienced in terms of feeling the ethical weight of being answerable to others and being responsive to this in terms of research process. We arrive at the following conclusion: to be answerable to others is to position yourself politically in relation to others. In closing we discuss the implications of this positioning for doing transnational and value sensitive design research in the HCI field. RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS Examines ethical issues of conducting HCI design research in sensitive settings. Presents a case study critically exploring ethical practice in research partnerships in a transnational, postcolonial computing context. Discusses and integrates pragmatist and dialogical concepts of ‘habit’ and ‘answerability’ to develop a practice of ethical responsiveness for HCI research. Demonstrates how the practice of ethical responsiveness in HCI research can contribute to and extend the discourse on value sensitive design and transnational HCI. 1. INTRODUCTION As digital technologies become increasingly ubiquitous and proliferate globally (Appadurai, 1996), those working in the field of Human–Computer Interaction (HCI) are inevitably studying their use in more diverse contexts and domains, and from more diverse perspectives. Further to this, HCI discourses increasingly attend to the social and cultural dimensions of research engagements. Studies of settings in other countries, or with migrant or diaspora communities, establish transnational research partnerships that express distinctly situated and cross-cultural concerns for engagement ‘out there’ or ‘right here’. Such inquiries also recognize the complex and multi-directional flow of ideas, supported by pervasive technologies, that may collapse traditional cultural boundaries (Irani et al., 2010; Lindtner et al., 2012; Taylor, 2011). With the field’s widened scope, HCI research is increasingly attending to settings with potentially vulnerable or marginalized communities, for example, old age participants in care homes (Vines et al., 2015), individuals with dementia (Wallace et al., 2013), the homeless (Woelfer and Hendry, 2011), incarcerated women (Thieme et al., 2013), women in the workplace (Trauth et al., 2004), and subject matter that authors frame as sensitive (Waycott et al., 2015a, 2015b), such as issues around end-of-life care (Ferguson et al., 2014) or the visiting of memorials and support for grieving (Massimi and Baecker, 2010). In light of this, we are also witnessing a rise in research that seeks to explicitly push the boundaries of what people may consider to be culturally acceptable HCI. For example, researchers have introduced notions of ‘uncomfortable’ interactions (Benford et al., 2015; Deterding et al., 2015; Halbert and Nathan, 2015), challenging the HCI community to consider alternative cultures and value systems in which digital technologies may be encountered, interacted with and designed for; these may engage ‘difficult’ or even ‘taboo’ subject matter (Benford et al., 2015). Critical thinking has been raised around ‘the turn to the cultural’ (ibid) to foreground issues of power and socio-historical, postcolonial perspectives as they shape such values and sensitivities to a given setting (Bardzell and Bardzell, 2011; Bidwell, 2010; Dourish 2010; Irani et al., 2010; Lindtner et al., 2012; Trauth et al., 2004). This research is, in turn, advancing the discourse on value sensitive design (VSD). Operating in a distinctly humanist paradigm, VSD originated as a theoretically grounded approach to HCI accounting for human values in a principled and systematic manner (Friedman et al., 2006). Interpretations of VSD argue for a universal set of values, collectively underpinning orientations to technology use to be fundamentally addressed in design. However in considering cultural diversity and transnational framings, constructive critiques have emerged around core aspects of VSD (Albrechtslund, 2007; Alsheikh et al., 2011; Borning and Muller, 2012; Le Dantec et al., 2009; Saab, 2008). Borning propose a more ‘pluralistic’ approach for identifying and accommodating different value systems at play within a given HCI research setting. Feminist lenses have been brought to this call for pluralism, further expressing a deep concern for the representation of voice in research and researcher positioning and reflexivity (Bardzell and Bardzell, 2011; Bidwell, 2010; Muller, 2011). We build on this discourse about people’s cultural and political sensitivities to research subjects and settings to highlight how they are formed in diverse and particular ways; these sensitivities are culturally situated, with implications for the ethical aspects of research engagements for all concerned. When talking about ‘sensitive settings and subjects’ herein, we refer to how researchers and participants have orientated to their project as raising acute emotions, which may relate to its social, cultural or political dimensions; (we are not suggesting that there is a particular kind of sensitive context that is distinguished from a non-sensitive one, in an objective sense). In the conduct of work that is deemed sensitive, HCI researchers are increasingly encountering ethical challenges that must be addressed, not just to deliver ethical approval for their practice (Munteanu et al., 2015) but also in their personal conduct and subsequent research dissemination (Durrant et al., 2014). Indeed, some draw attention to the differing ethical frameworks that HCI researchers exploring cultural applications of technology must necessarily operate in, often overseen in institutional codes of practice (Benford et al., 2015). Others highlight the typically interventionist nature of HCI research with respect to its orientation towards technology innovation, calling for the field to acknowledge the ethical dimensions of this (Brown et al., 2016). Nuanced debates on ethics within academic discourse (Bruckman, 2014; Nathan et al., 2016), complemented by conference workshops (Branham et al. 2014; Moncur et al., 2012; Waycott et al., 2015a, Waycott et al., 2017) and conference panels (Frauenberger et al., 2017), reflect a growing body of work exploring ethical matters for HCI as they connect to human values. In our research we (the authors) have cultivated an approach to ethical practice that is centrally informed by Pragmatist (LaFollette, 2000) and Dialogical (Renfrew, 2015) philosophies—drawing from John Dewey (1988) and Mikhail Bakhtin (1981), respectively, which we have found particularly useful when applied to a sensitive setting. Drawing upon these philosophies, we have developed a practice of ethical responsiveness that has guided our political positioning in relation to the values held by our research partners, participants and stakeholders. This has addressed practical concerns and fostered empathetic experiences within the cultural encounter. In this paper we provide a case study account of how an approach centred on ethical responsiveness can be adopted to help deal with some of the more practical problems of doing HCI research in a sensitive setting. In the sections to follow, we explicate this approach in an attempt to demonstrate its potential use to HCI as a means to put value sensitive and transnational (and postcolonial) sensibilities into practice. We first introduce our case example, a small genocide memorial centre in Rwanda, Kigali Genocide Memorial (KGM), which offers a ‘rich picture’ of the ethical context for consideration. We then move to describe concepts provided by Pragmatism and Dialogism that have informed our own ethical position as researchers working in that setting. We work through examples of how our ethical sensibilities were developed in the context of the case, and conclude with reflections on the practice of a pragmatist-dialogical ethics and suggestions for how answerability, as a philosophical concept underpinning ethical responsiveness, can be supported within it. 2. OUR CASE STUDY SETTING Our case is drawn from a project called ‘Pervasive Monuments’, which was initiated in 2010. This project aimed to explore the role of digital technologies in supporting the curation of media at memorial sites and settings (following a line of HCI research concerned with memory and memorialization, e.g. Massimi et al., 2011). In particular the research team were interested to understand how small cultural institutions focused on matters of memorialization and commemoration (Friedman and Nathan, 2010; Odom et al., 2010; Yoo et al., 2013), how they leveraged technology to do their work, and how they operated within global and transnational frames of interaction and knowledge exchange. Our specific engagement with KGM within this project stemmed from a longstanding prior relationship that a member of our research team had to KGM and its parent organization the Aegis Trust (Aegis), through his work in genocide education. Initially he had shown interest in the possibilities of exploring mobile technologies in our project, for helping to foster ‘safe-spaces’ amongst students when discussing sensitive material—developing ideas from his previous work on genocide education between the UK and Rwanda, in association with the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE), (Wiesemes, 2011). He knew that KGM had previously shown interest in the use of mobile technologies to support their archiving work, with KGM having previously supported a project to use mobile GPS mapping of grave sites in Rwanda. Given the particularly international outlook and operations of KGM, the staff members’ voiced interests in technology, and their apparent desires to be regarded as a relatively technologically sophisticated operation, our project team were keen to visit with them to see what we could learn from them about their uses of technology to support a cultural institution engaged in practices of memorialization. Of particular note here is that the researchers were not trying to engage with KGM in an HCI for Development (HCI4D) capacity; we did not see them as being in need of ‘development’. We wished to engage with the staff in their capacity as experts in the business of global memorialization, an area we were actively researching. In the following sections we describe some of the features and background of KGM, and the forming of our research partnership, to further ground our case study. 2.1. KGM and the Rwandan genocide In 1994 there was Genocide in Rwanda in which 800 000+ Tutsi, Twa, and ‘Hutu moderates’1 were massacred (Uvin, 1999) and millions of others were injured, displaced or made refugees (Dallaire, 2003). This atrocity stemmed from a history of political and ethnic violence (building upon previous genocidal incidents) and institutionalized prejudice, which had scarred Rwanda since national independence in 1962 and which was the perpetuated legacy of former colonial (European) misrule (Uvin, 1999). The 1994 Genocide was brought to an end through the armed struggle of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The RPF leader Paul Kagame became Vice-President of Rwanda in 1994, and ultimately President in 2000, remaining incumbent and now in his third term at current time of writing. The Republic of Rwanda eschews former ethnic divisions, with a renewed focus on being ‘Rwandan’, a position that is established in citizenship discourses and that has been (not unproblematically) enshrined within law (Republic of Rwanda, 2003).2 This was to ensure that expressions of ethnicity, ethnic divisionism, and (accusations of) genocide denial have substantial legal implications (Buckley-Zistel, 2006). Further to this, the Rwandan administration has been critiqued for suppressing political opposition and democratic process (Human Rights Watch, 2008; Reyntjens, 2010). Inevitably, Rwanda has been defined by the experiences and aftermath of the genocide, but has since been on a development trajectory towards recovery, reconciliation and reconstruction. Such strategic efforts were encapsulated in a government report entitled ‘Rwanda Vision 2020’ (Republic of Rwanda, 2000). In the report, Rwanda is envisioned as a potential ‘knowledge economy’ and an East African ‘IT hub’. Within this context, our partner, KGM, was established in 2004, to be both a memorial centre and a mass grave (with over 250 000 bodies interred) for those who were killed during the 1994 genocide. At the time of our study (2010–2011), KGM was considered, by both Rwandans and international communities, to be the national focal point for memorializing the genocide, and centrally supported by Aegis, a UK-based charity and international non-governmental organisation (NGO). A significant Anglo-Rwandan dialogue shaped KGM’s establishment: Kigali City Council, who were instrumental to the founding of KGM, approached Aegis to help them develop the centre, based on Aegis’ previous experiences of developing the UK’s national holocaust memorial and associated education programmes. Consequently, KGM’s humanitarian remit aligns with that of Aegis: to promote genocide awareness and prevention to international audiences. While Aegis took a key role in developing KGM, the centre was established as an independent entity, was self-funded through charitable donation and with support from a number of organizations,3 and sought to operate with political impartiality. At time of writing it is managed by Aegis Trust on behalf of the National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide (CNLG).4 KGM aims to serve local communities, the East African economic area, and broader international visitors. Our research investigated how this small cultural institution leveraged Information Communications Technology (ICT) to support its activities, which included the archiving of sensitive materials, and how it worked with global scholarly networks and public audiences to sustain its activities (Durrant et al., 2014; Kelleher et al., 2010; Merritt et al., 2012; Wessels et al., 2012). At the time of the study, KGM operated three departments within its organization: Education, Documentation and Social Enterprise. Through these, it ran an extracurricular education programme for Rwandan school children, an international tourism service, various not-for-profit enterprise initiatives, and a social programme for Genocide survivors. KGM also housed a museum exhibition presenting a carefully curated narrative of the events of the Genocide, which included various artefacts and media, but perhaps most controversially, actual (unidentified) human remains of genocide victims. Part of the exhibition depicted comparative genocides around the world to present a common aetiology for genocide. There was also the KGM Documentation Centre (or KGM-DC), which opened in 2010 serving to archive both digital and physical records from the Genocide while also capturing, archiving and publishing online, video-based survivor testimonies (Kelleher et al., 2010)5. Apart from a few international visitors volunteering for Aegis, the KGM staff were Genocide survivors, having encountered the violence first-hand. As such they were personally committed to the work of remembering and representing those who were massacred, and held a significant voice amongst the survivor community. Given the trauma felt by many Rwandans and the government stance on divisionism, discussion about the Genocide remains difficult 20+ years on for Rwandans—emotionally, politically, and legally. Consequently, conducting academic research in this setting was understood from the outset to be a potentially politically fraught endeavour that raised serious ethical considerations because of the extremely sensitive subject matter and the broader socio-political atmosphere within Rwanda; it has been recognized by others that negotiating such political sensitivities in the Rwandan context brings with it practical issues and risks for conducting research (King, 2013; Thomson, 2011, 2010). KGM staff members who would be our research participants were dealing with a potentially contested history around violent death and many had personal relationships to the subject matter (as Genocide survivors); we understood that for them to talk about their work in relation to the Genocide may feel difficult and involve a sense of personal risk. Also, when conducting a risk assessment about a planned field visit to Rwanda for our study, our University further raised discussion about the personal risk faced by us as researchers on visiting, which had to be attended to. 2.2. HCI research on the Rwandan genocide While the subject of genocide and post-conflict settings remain relatively underexplored in the HCI field, the Rwandan Genocide context has been specifically engaged by one notable project (Friedman et al., 2010, 2016; Nathan and Friedman, 2010; Yoo et al., 2013, 2016). This project responded to a vision to make available online information (in the form of video media) in a collection entitled Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and significantly investigated the sociotechnical challenge of developing a sustainable ‘multi-lifespan’ system (Friedman and Nathan, 2010) that would make this information accessible by—and of interest to—people across generations and to those in future generations.6 This work has deeply explored socio-historical and political dimensions of engagement, harnessing VSD with the ‘explicit intention to create an information system to support long-term societal change’ (Friedman et al., 2010, p. 2834). While the research goals were different to ours because Friedman and colleagues aimed to design supportive tools and systems for appropriation by Rwandan communities and organizations, the project shares some concerns of our project in attempts to understand how ICT mediates Rwandans’ pursuit of remembrance and reconciliation. Like us, these researchers addressed ethical challenges concerning cross-cultural dialogue with their partners that are peculiar to the context of this transnational, post-conflict setting (Friedman et al., 2016). 2.3. On doing transnational HCI As introduced above, a considerable body of recent HCI work recognizes the complex and multicultural flows of people, ideas and technologies across the world, and how both local and global processes of cultural engagement shape the use and appropriation of ICT (Irani et al., 2010; Lindtner et al., 2012; Taylor, 2011). Adopting postcolonial sensibilities, Vertesi and colleagues frame three questions for researchers doing transnational HCI that we address in our case: What methods can we use to manage research and design in complex and sensitive locales? How can we responsibly design for users and communities that span across and negotiate borders? How do we take into account international implications for adoption of our artefacts and findings? (Vertesi et al., 2011, p. 63) Such questioning bears relevance to our study because KGM operates through transnational partnerships, in terms of the foundational relationship with Aegis and also universities and archives in other countries (Durrant et al., 2014; Kelleher et al., 2010). Moreover, the Rwandan Genocide continues to affect people both local and remote to the Kigali site of KGM. Further to contributing a case study account herein, we also give serious attention to the ethics of practicing transnational HCI, an aspect that is arguably underexplored to date. 2.4. Partnering with KGM Turning back to reporting on our case, the Pervasive Monuments research team at our University was interdisciplinary, comprising a genocide education expert, a designer (Author 1) a psychologist (Author 2), a computer scientist, and an economist specializing in development and social enterprise. Three of the team members self-identified as professional HCI practitioners, including ourselves (the authors); all the team members were British apart from the education expert who was Belgian. We adopted a phenomenological, practice-based approach to the project for reasons that we elaborate in the next section. The project start date coincided with the opening of the KGM-DC archive. It seemed evident that KGM would be an appropriate research partner for us on the Pervasive Monuments project, as a fitting example of a self-sustaining cultural institution that was leveraging ICT to support its work within international networks. While there to learn about KGM’s relationships to technology we had initial ideas that one way to reciprocally explore this might be to work up a collaborative project that leveraged mobile technologies in support of the work that KGM were conducting. However, this plan was revised significantly in the course of our engagement as we learnt more about the nature of their work. Members of the research team visited KGM in Rwanda early in 2010 to do sensitizing observational work, and a subsequent meeting was held between this paper’s authors and two directors of the Aegis Trust in the UK. Our education expert had previously advised us that Aegis contacts could serve as gatekeepers for forming partnerships with KGM staff, and this proved to be the case. Following this meeting, our formal research partnership with KGM and Aegis was established (hereafter Aegis-KGM). The team went on to design and conduct a study in collaboration with Aegis-KGM. Consent was established at the initial meeting for reporting on all of our interactions with Aegis-KGM staff. In the main part of this paper we describe critical instances in the process that illuminate how our ethical practice as researchers was developed and expressed. We first set out the two philosophies that informed our sensibilities, before describing how we put these into practice. 3. A PRAGMATIST-DIALOGICAL ETHICS OF LIVING IN THE WORLD WITH OTHERS Conducting this research with KGM required us, the researchers, to carefully draw on a sense of personal ethics mutually shared within the interdisciplinary team. Grounded in our shared methodological commitment to phenomenology, we oriented to ethics from the outset in terms of our lived experiences—as a group of individuals—of being in the world with others. This was motivated by our shared professional interest in doing interaction design research and seeking to understand how people and environments interact. Moreover, finding direction from two theoretical positions that align with the phenomenological, that is, Pragmatism and Dialogism, we understood ethics to be a situated, relational activity in which researchers, research partners, participants and stakeholders become answerable to one another as they live in the world together. A pragmatist-dialogical methodology was deemed appropriate given the project’s focus on understanding cultural engagement and community in relation to supportive technology, and the transnational dialogue that we anticipated holding with partners based in other countries. In this overall approach we were guided by foundational work by John McCarthy and Peter Wright (McCarthy and Wright, 2004, 2015; Wright and McCarthy, 2010) that has brought together and interpreted Pragmatism and Dialogism for pursuing ‘humanistic’ HCI inquiry. McCarthy and Wright configure an ‘ethics of participation’ that is about ‘mutual learning’ in an ‘open, empathetic and critical relationship’ in which one is ‘able to understand how the other sees the world and to respond to that understanding from one’s own subjective position’ (2015, p.20). However, the philosophical exploration of a pragmatist-dialogical ethics remains largely unarticulated in HCI; and we now describe the conceptual tools that we have drawn upon to formulate it for the purposes of our project. 3.1. Pragmatist ethics Our understanding of pragmatist7ethics has been largely drawn from Hugh LaFollette (2000) who bases his work on readings of Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy and asserts the pragmatist belief that practice is primary to the development of understanding: ‘meaningful inquiry originates in practice’ (LaFollette, 2000, p. 400). As such, theorizing grows out of lived experience and is part of it; and in turn, moral advance, as an ethical way of knowing, ‘emerges’ from experience rather than being brought to it via some prior, objective criteria that may be assumed, pre-emptively, to be ‘applicable’. LaFollette argues that, in the pragmatist view, such moral criteria—if they exist at all—should be taken as ‘heuristics isolating morally relevant features of action—features people should consider in making moral decisions’ (LaFollette, 2000, p. 401). For LaFollette (2000, p. 406), habits are vital to a pragmatist ethics: ‘understanding the nature of habit illuminates morality’; and ‘Habits are the primary vehicles for transmitting our past choices into present action’ (p. 404). After Dewey (1988), LaFollette further develops the idea that, within and emerging out of experience, deliberation over moral choice and action is ‘vital’ and deeply shaped by our social and cultural habits while also reflecting the great diversity and particularity of individual experiences; specifically, the activity of deliberation ‘is not normally to directly guide action, but to shape and reinforce habits, and therefore to indirectly guide action’ (2000, p. 401). LaFollette argues that habits represent a potential orientation towards continual reflexive questioning of one’s value positions; the pragmatist ethical position is to inculcate a habit of assessing one’s ethical positioning. Pragmatism, and, in turn, a pragmatist ethics, acknowledges that ethical judgments are relative, without being relativistic, and are strongly intersubjective, while acknowledging individual difference. Even disagreements between people are integral and constructive to moral advancement, and therefore ethical practice must accommodate this dissonance. This pragmatist view of ethical sensibilities being worked out through experience and deliberative practice, and being in dialogue with others resonates strongly with the work of Mikhail Bakhtin on Dialogism (Bakhtin, 1981) and his development of a dialogical ethics (Renfrew, 2015), which we turn to next. 3.2. Dialogical ethics Dialogism proposes that all language and thought is dynamic and relational—expressed in relation to others. It emphasizes the significance of self-other relationships for making sense of personal experience and is the basis for developing empathy. As with the pragmatist view, the dialogical conception of personhood has aesthetic and moral dimensions about learning to live in the world with others, being ‘answerable’ to others; again, the lived experience of self-other relations promotes epistemological growth in the person, a sense of moral advance. ‘The subject of this real life, who has the ability to give value to knowledge, make it knowledge and understanding ‘for me’, is not just a consciousness, but an answerable consciousness, who ‘undersigns’ his or her action in the process of consciously performing it.’(Renfrew, 2015: 29) Feeling the ethical ‘weight’ or ‘colouring’ of an individual’s relationships with others actually enables that person to gain self-knowledge, and affinity or ‘dialogical understanding’ with others. Pragmatist ethics rejects a notion of fixed moral criteria and epistemological assumptions about the nature of truth. Along similar lines, dialogical ethics emphasizes contingency and the ‘unfinalisability’ of thoughts and actions. From a dialogical perspective, history is open-ended and ‘truth’ is constituted dialogically and intersubjectively (Bell and Gardiner, 1998). Social scientists and humanities scholars have studied Bakhtin’s work in conjunction with pragmatist accounts (by Dewey, 1988; Mead, 1934 and others) to reflect on and develop a notion of transcultural ethics based on the concept of answerability, of ‘how we should act towards other cultures’. Greg Nielsen (2002) for example has made sense of answerability in relation to postcolonial democracy and citizenship, and self-other relations in terms of ‘demos’ (the individual’s relationship to a political community) and ‘ethnos’ (a collective identity that has a historical and cultural specificity). We include an extended passage from Nielsen’s reasoning that has informed our sense of cultivating a ‘habit’ of ethical responsiveness, reflected upon in particular in the latter phases of our analysis when considering dissemination. At a societal level, a dialogic approach to the culture and politics of the nation carries forward several important assumptions from the level of interaction but also requires conceptual adjustments or shifts. An important reason that structures such as the nation persist as a form of community, social organization, or society, (even though some of the most horrific kinds of criminal violence and genocide have been committed in its name) is that it is not possible for a social actor to learn dialogue without having been socialized. … (T)he relation between ethnos and demos can be considered dialogical to the extent that their internal differences can divide actors in various camps when public deliberations between distinct communities cannot be resolved. At the same time, the tension generated between groups can also be thought through dialogically in that such tensions become the reference point for new ways of posing questions. (Nielsen, 2002, p. 149–150) Bridging a concern for the societal with the interpersonal, Nielsen suggests that a transcultural ethics from the pragmatist-dialogical perspective acknowledges how ‘cultures enter into contact with one another and take on elements from each other without ceasing to be themselves’ (ibid). The ethical dialogue respects others’ different cultural, political views. Taken together, Pragmatism and Dialogism share a practical ethics of intersubjectivity that gives serious attention to ‘the presence and significance of the living, speaking subject’ (Bell and Gardiner, 1998, p. 6), recognizing this subject as politically, socially and culturally positioned, agentic, and answerable to others. We relate this to our answerability to our research partners, recognizing that this has implications for how we habitually open ourselves up to be ethically responsive and reflexively position our research activities in dialogue with others. The discussion of ethics within HCI is not novel and our approach sits in complement to others that adopt cultural, critical and postcolonial research framings. However, while feminist ethics (Bardzell and Bardzell, 2011) necessarily sensitizes the researcher to issues of power relations, gender politics and implicit assumptions of difference and entitlement, a pragmatist-dialogical approach foregrounds the felt-life of participants and researchers, providing more experiential accounts of reflexive understanding and constructive conflict (Nielsen, 2002). Whereas situational ethics have been described (Munteanu et al., 2015) as a means for dealing with the pragmatic concerns of doing research (i.e. the situational contingencies of real-world research practices and dealing with ethics review boards), our approach is explicitly informed by pragmatist philosophy. Therefore, in reporting our case study of doing transnational, value sensitive HCI research, we offer a novel contribution to HCI discourse that not only pulls focus on the explicitly ethical dimensions of research practice, but further explores how the felt weight of answerability within it has supported us in cultivating a habit of ethical responsiveness. 4. ETHICAL RESPONSIVENESS IN PRACTICE: EXAMPLES FROM OUR CASE In this section we present a qualitative account of three instances from our case study to demonstrate critical stages in the research process whereby we cultivated a habit of ethical responsiveness and put it into practice. This account comprises the combined autoethnographic reflections and insights of us, the authors, based on our shared experiences of being involved in designing and conducting the research, and our analytic sensibilities and understandings that were collectively developed in the process. As such, we are concerned to not represent in this paper the felt experiences and personal sense making of the other team members. In terms of our procedure, we emphasize that the team worked together during the study including during the data analysis phase; in line with our phenomenological approach, team members individually coded transcripts and then held a number of group analysis sessions to collectively make sense of the codes in conjunction with other ethnographic materials (diary entries, notes, photographs, videos) provided by the individual researchers. Each team member brought their own disciplinary perspective to bear on the data and findings. Our account herein reflects a meta-analysis of the study. We now present three instances in the research process that demonstrate how a practice of ethical responsiveness was developed and how it shaped our research conduct. Example 1 Forming a research partnership In this example we describe the first meeting that we held with Aegis directors late in 2010. The meeting was held at the UK Holocaust Centre in Laxton, run by Aegis. The purpose of this meeting was to: open up a dialogue between Aegis and our research team about the project and its objectives; propose establishing a research partnership with Aegis and KGM; and suggest the co-design of a study (already provisionally configured) that reflected a work programme of perceived mutual benefit. We considered this meeting as an opportunity to describe the various expertise and resources that we had to offer at our University, and the potential routes for progressing research. We framed our intended output in terms of delivering research understandings about how memorialization activities at KGM and their relationship to global academic networks might inform an HCI research agenda, and suggested exploring possible opportunities for technological collaboration at KGM as a way to begin to explore this. We described our provisional study design, which included plans to hold a workshop at the KGM site in Kigali to engage staff in the Pervasive Monuments project aims and frame discussion on current and potential technology involvement in KGM work. Guided by insight held by our education expert about KGM interests, we planned to focus the workshop on mobile technology and location-based services. In swift response to our plans, the directors suggested that we, instead, organize and conduct three separate day-long workshops (akin to group interviews), each on the following subjects that mirror the organization of work at KGM: (i) Documentation, data collection and knowledge management; (ii) Education, training and learning resource management; and (iii) Social enterprise. One of the directors advised that different groups of local Rwandan stakeholders should attend each meeting, based on relevant expertise. This included suggesting a representative from KIE to attend the workshop on Education. He further advised that the relevant ‘department heads’ at KGM would be best placed to suggest whom these stakeholders should be, and for these heads to form ‘key contacts’ for us to co-organize the workshops with. Consequently, our study design was grounded in an exploration of three KGM work activities mapping to three key KGM departments, in liaison with the key contacts heading up each department. Our discussion at Laxton moved on to address the political sensitivities of the work being conducted at KGM that informed practices of knowledge handling at the institution. The directors suggested that the main priority (of Aegis and of KGM) is to collect, archive and teach information about the genocide, and to make this publicly accessible in way that communicated a sense of neutrality and transparency. They highlighted that this ensured the endorsement of their activities by the government in Rwanda. The directors also emphasized that the handling of genocide information is, necessarily, not always straightforward and unmediated. There are cases in which the core staff members must make difficult and nuanced editorial decisions about what to edit and publish of archival content, or what to teach. One director stressed that there is ‘a body of people dedicated to this work’ and that they need to be trained. The other added that associations like the survivor network Ibuka provide a steer on this if needed and that decisions about the development of KGM resources are often discussed with local stakeholders (e.g. KIE). These comments led us to better understand how the KGM work is conducted, guided, and motivated within a number of trusted relationships. Of particular interest to us was the how Aegis-KGM was operating with the attention of government officials while maximizing public outreach. We started to understand how the institution built trust with various key stakeholders, including the government and local survivor networks, based on a track record of responsibility, best-practice and humanitarian remit; this is what made it possible for KGM to be endorsed to put information into the public sphere and into the national school curricula. What we illustrate here is how our dialogue with the directors highlighted their professional commitment, institutional values, ethical issues, and an area of mutual interest to take forward in the research, specifically, to understand how the KGM work may be better supported by technology in the context of needing to negotiate complex stakeholder relationships. Communicating their activities with transparency seemed to be of significant personal and professional value to them, something that we needed to work with (rather than in relation to), to be able to offer something to them as an organization. The Aegis directors further suggested that our original project proposal of prototyping and deploying novel configurations of ICT in collaboration with KGM could be problematic for various socio-political reasons, not least because these technologies may involve handling information in the public sphere in new ways that opened up ambiguity around genocide-related data. For example, technologies that appeared to lack robustness or that might involve public interaction with archived data would bring with them an inherent uncertainty about the data. For example, presenting a digital file such as a photo, online, while asking the public to add information (e.g. questioning who is in the photo? What date is this? Where was it taken?)—which is helpful to support archiving of the file—gives rise to the possibility of the wrong information being provided, or ambiguous or conflicting information being provided. And once this has happened the digital object becomes a questionable artefact. Herein lies a risk. Those who may seek to diminish the ‘facts’ of the genocide (an act transgressing Rwanda’s legal code) may capitalize on these sources of uncertainty. This would put those submitting or managing data at risk of complicity, but also, importantly, might impact on the perceived authority of KGM as guardians of the legitimate narrative of the genocide, which could have far reaching political implications for their institutional sustainability. This political concern had ethical weight and implied a re-positioning of criteria in what we had provisionally planned: if we were to develop new technology concepts with KGM as part of our study, it was likely that we would not be able to deploy these in the real-world (especially not experimental or otherwise fallible technologies); rather we would have to do internal user evaluations or ‘proof-of-concept’ tests that included simulation, or working with different content to that generated and archived at KGM. And there was another significant revision of plans to make; we realized that there were important research questions around the complex role and use of existing ICT at KGM within the political and historic situation it operates, which needed to be properly understood before considering appropriate design spaces for additional technological configurations. The Laxton meeting resulted in the directors requesting: a more detailed work-plan; and our delivery of an internal report. They saw practical value in the report as offering them a documentation of the institution’s current work activities from an ‘outsider perspective’, an external validation which would not only help to promote their work but also provide a form of quality assurance, of use when approaching external funding bodies. In sum, our planned research activities, including our original objectives, needed to be adapted significantly in response to this early meeting with the partners. Our developing understanding of ethical issues at play led us to attend to what values our partners held for their work, and the value they sought from the partnership with us, and to respond to these; the proposed ‘interventionist’ approach (Brown et al., 2016) needed to be revised. Significant for the broader ethical concerns we discuss later in this paper, the Laxton meeting formed, in practice, part of our research process and we gathered ethnographic insight from it. But the meeting preceded the design of the study method constituting the formal empirical engagement and data collection for which we subsequently obtained ethical approval. Example 2 Visiting KGM Following Laxton, the Aegis directors made introductions to the three key contacts and we organized Skype meetings with each, with the aim to plan when to visit KGM to conduct the workshops, how each should be planned, and who should be invited to attend. The Skype calls were followed up with email communications before we arrived at KGM in Kigali in March 2011. In the following we describe our visit to KGM, pulling focus on the ‘Education workshop’ that took place on the third day of our visit and was the first of the three workshops conducted. 4.1. Making introductions Three members of the research team (including this paper’s authors), visited KGM to conduct the workshops and do observational field work. We met with our KGM contacts and visited the memorial grounds, KGM-DC, and museum spaces. We also attended a weekly staff meeting, after which we presented staff with examples of work from our research group, as ‘technology demonstrators’, positioned as points of reference for later discussions in the workshops and to foster mutual understanding in discussing our respective areas of work. 4.2. Education workshop Four research participants were present at the Education workshop. The current head of the Education department was a Canadian working voluntarily for Aegis, and she was joined by three Rwandans: two KGM employees—‘KGM Education Officers’ (hereafter referred to as KGM-Eos)—who were history teachers by training and who comprise, with the head, KGM’s Education team; and a KIE representative (a history lecturer and Catholic priest). The Rwandan participants were trilingual (in Kinyarwandan, French, and English). The genocide education expert on our team joined via Skype. The workshop was held in a room at KGM where the Education team routinely held ‘educational focus groups’. Those present sat with us in a circle of chairs. The workshop was conducted like a group interview and structured around an informal schedule of questions. Discussion was held in English and the session was video recorded with participants’ informed consent for later analysis. While the opening question from us researchers was directed at the KGM Education team, it was the external KIE representative who stepped in to answer and open up discussion. He began by emphasizing the importance and role of KIE in Rwanda: ‘KIE is only the one official institution of education; it belongs to the government of Rwanda.’ He added, ‘People here know KIE and its aim’, establishing KIE’s visibility. He made some effort to frame the challenges of genocide education within Rwandan society: ‘The main challenge is education because genocide is rooted in parents, rooted in families’. In explicating his position, the representative described an ongoing presence of ‘genocide ideology’ in Rwandan schools, and national endeavours (facilitated by KIE), to promote genocide education and awareness through the school curriculum: ‘When reach the schools, you reach the parents.’ The KIE representative was an important visitor to KGM. He had a previous connection to our University, and indeed our education expert (on Skype) knew of him but had not previously interacted with him. We had been informed by our key contacts that KIE was an important stakeholder for KGM, but it had been effortful to maintain links between the institution because of staff changes/movements and general capacity and availability at each respective institution. The KIE representative was also a former teacher of the two KGM-Eos. Consequently, we found ourselves in an unforeseen position of needing to balance voices at the workshop. The KIE representative offered some useful context for genocide education in Rwanda, but could tell us less about how the KGM education team did their job. Nonetheless, given the complexity of the relationships at play, we felt obliged to support extended dialogue between the KIE representative and the KGM staff members to accommodate their ongoing relationship building. The two KGM-Eos were invited to comment on this overview of the national challenges for education, and then describe how the KGM Education programme was initiated. KGM-EO1 said it was Government-endorsed and dovetailed with the national political endeavour to provide genocide education, promoting awareness and reflection in conjunction with endeavours to commemorate. KGM-EO2 described the programme’s features. It provides mainly two parts: the one part is of Rwandan history—what has happened, from postcolonial, colonial period, and after independence; and the second part is problem solving and critical thinking. … We use Powerpoint, and we have some (filmed) speech from the former President, former leaders from the genocide period. We give the students time to discuss. Building on this, the KIE representative talked about the challenge of ‘opening’ students’ minds in Rwanda to understanding history to address the issue of genocide ideology, and how this was supported by Internet-enabled and video technology. The main problem is history, how we teach history. As a lecturer, I find in my class sometimes students are not opened about the topic. When I speak about Hutu, about the Tutsi, I find that they don’t want to speak. Then with technology, I find that our students need to be opened, to see what happened in other parts of the world. By e-learning, by video, they have witness to other people and they find Rwanda is not the lone country which suffered. … Then, with e-learning, I find that our students are now opened. The KIE representative highlighted the need for students (i.e. secondary school pupils) to be freed from the ‘intellectual prison’ (in his words) in which they found themselves. E-learning and video, he said, facilitated this freeing process by opening up transnational dialogue. He also pointed out: ‘the role of the Internet is very big because the youth is very interested’, to which the KGM-Eos both nodded. This exchange between the KGM-Eos and the KIE representative was important for us to experience as it afforded insight into the sensitivities at play within the Rwandan educational sector: it foregrounded for us what were described as the ‘social processes’ (KIE representative) of fostering ‘critical dialogue’ (KGM-EO2) and how this was mediated by technology use. The significance of the survivor identity was raised; all three Rwandans present were genocide survivors, and the KGM-Eos conveyed a sense of personal-political commitment, ‘to fight against genocide ideology’ (KGM-EO2) by facilitating discussion with the students in the ‘safe space’ of the KGM centre (Wiesemes, 2011), and being equipped to do so by both their personal experience and training. As discussion elaborated on use of ICT in education, the participants at first responded positively, particularly the KGM-Eos. It was not clear though the extent to which a positive view on technology was however, something that the Eos saw as a polite response (given we were positioned as design researchers). As far as technology is concerned with this programme, we all agree that technology can help. For example, people from rural areas can access the (KGM-DC) archive through (the) Internet and I’m sure that hopefully very soon people will get Internet as much as possible [claps], cause the Government of Rwanda has invested in fibre optic cables, so if that one starts working, that will be important. Rwanda is to provide strong Internet access. So technology is kind of to support us in this education. (KGM-EO1) The KGM Education Head (KGM-EH) was also positive about the potential of mobile technology for generally mobilizing people to express the anti-genocide message—at events or online. She conveyed the value of the newly available KGM-DC as a teaching resource. However, the discussion moved on to discuss many of the infrastructural barriers to actually delivering digital experiences within Rwanda, as KGM-EO2 conveyed. It can be possible but we must think: ‘which number of population have mobile phones?’ Even in secondary school when we asked if they have email address, they tell you, ‘you know what, we don’t have electricity. The KGM staff repeatedly conveyed that the Internet infrastructure is currently ‘just not there’, compounded by electricity problems. Economic issues and poverty created further barriers, as KGM-EO1 stressed: ‘you may have Internet near to you but when you have no money you are not connected’; ‘airtime costs money.’ Talk also conveyed how these barriers could foster various forms of division and exclusivity amongst the stakeholders in the learning programmes. The KGM-EH voiced concerns about the risk of Internet use in the programme being seen by Rwandans to foster ‘discrimination’ against the poor to which the KIE representative immediately agreed: ‘It’s destructive!’. The KGM-EH suggested how technology adoption in teaching could inadvertently foster similar divisions, asserting that the provision of technology-based teaching fosters particular expectations of teachers’ performance, related to concerns for the legitimacy and quality of teaching in the absence of technology. She emphasized the efficacy of physical resources because of their material robustness and accessibility; the KGM-Eos nodded emphatically. We found this part of the discussion particularly illuminating because it gave us insight into the careful situating of people and resources to enable the efficacious delivery of the education programme by the right people, and the desire to approach the subject through robust media. The KGM-EH emphasized how physical collocation supported teaching and learning: ‘We are not going to learn genocide education and community cohesion from a computer, this is something you learn from relationships;’ that is, HCI was a secondary concern to human-to-human interaction in the educational context. With no small irony, understanding the nuances of this view through collocated, face-to-face discussion with the KGM educators felt critical for us to be able to respond appropriately to the setting. Moreover, the Skype connection was poor at the workshop, so the genocide educator on our team found it hard to contribute remotely to the discussion. The point made by the KGM-EH resonated with the KIE representative, who then considered culture and ethnicity. Sometimes there is a lack of physical contact because technology is somehow struggling with physical, emotional, social contact. … It is very, very dangerous for us struggling for our African tradition, because there is—we cut—we cut history—there is no process. At this point we were mindful of a shift in the message being expressed, given the KIE representative’s previous talk of his positive experiences of using digital technologies to provide connections with the UK, for establishing transcultural dialogues expressly for the purposes of ‘opening students up’ to a deeper understanding of the genocide. We found the KGM-EH respond in turn with a similar view, expressing what she felt was the negative influence of ‘Westerners’. One of the reasons Westerners come to Africa is that they don’t find their life meaningful, they don’t feel connected to community, to their history… In the west, technology has destroyed community. So kids don’t wanna talk to each other, they just wanna be online. That is a huge social problem right now. She was explicit in positioning herself within this comment as a ‘westerner’ and ‘foreigner’ adopting a relatively technophobic stance. Next, she positioned us researchers as foreigners like her, reminding us that this positioning would afford us a particular view. I think it comes down to things that are so basic that, you know, coming from UK you don’t think about them! I mean, I know there’s poverty in the UK and I know people can’t afford technology and you know and it’s not all what one thinks, but here it’s so basic that you wanna use the phone technology cause that’s much wider than the Internet for people—people don’t have home computers you know in the same way. Particularly relevant here was our positioning as outsiders. We were particularly conscious of this going into the field setting, knowing we could have chosen to approach the field site differently, in ways that might have reduced our distance (e.g. through a classic ethnographic approach that would have been more embedded). However, we had been specifically asked to take the role of external observers running workshops because that would be of constructive value for KGM. Adopting the institutional approach of transparency, we had allowed ourselves to be framed this way, knowing that while this offered some sense of transparency about our study of the setting, it would inevitably distance us from our research participants. This had been a practical decision about gaining access to the site on the participants’ terms, and was something that we had to reflexively consider during the workshop and when analysing the data. We closed the workshop discussion with the shared understanding that the KGM Education programme formed, in no small part, a social process of interpersonal, face-to-face dialogue and embodied interaction that endeavoured to support students ‘being opened to’ new perspectives on history. We found the KGM team needing to carefully construct the learning context mindful that it may be augmented but also complicated by pervasive technology mediation—for both logistical communications and emotional engagement. This ambivalence and complexity surrounding technology adoption was also voiced in the other two workshops held at KGM, on (KGM-DC) Documentation and Social Enterprise. Our ethical practice in this Rwandan setting was to enable multiple, conflicting values to be expressed at both an intra- and interpersonal level, by assembling people who hadn’t previously met, and by scaffolding turn taking. We had to recognize the expressions of otherness and conflict as a constructive activity (after Nielsen, 2002) through which all those assembled could be ‘opened to new perspectives’ (on HCI); and to respond to any tensions emerging about cultural difference ways that invited the posing of new questions rather than the distancing of people and the closing down of conversation. For example, our flexible positioning as outsiders in this workshop—as UK academic researchers, not teachers in Rwanda—helped facilitate dialogical exchange between the KIE representative and the KGM staff about what values and experiences they shared. Our positioning was to some extent identified and shaped through researcher deliberation and reflexivity, for example in between the three workshops. However it was developed by being open to learn and respond to ethical issues as they emerged in a given workshop, and being flexible to adapt the study procedure in the moment, to find a constructive outcome for all involved. Example 3 Disseminating outputs When we returned from Rwanda with our field materials and interview data, we reflected on our experiences and how these could shape the analytic phase of the research. We analysed the data with two kinds of output and audience in mind: preparing an internal report for Aegis-KGM; and writing academic papers for the international HCI community. We focussed on delivering research insight along two strands, to provide: a descriptive account of KGM staff practices and endeavours, as captured in the workshops and ancillary engagements with staff at the centre, for readers of the internal report; and (for all audiences) an analytic account, positioned in terms of our expertise within an international HCI scholarly network, of the voiced challenges faced by KGM staff members for using pervasive technology in their work along with opportunities offered up for enabling or supporting it. When preparing the internal report, we further utilized our outsider perspective, which was shaped by subsequent interactions with KGM staff. We positioned ourselves as international academic visitors to the centre, reflecting back to Aegis-KGM our more touristic visitor impressions of KGM on the one hand and our role as external facilitators on the other (i.e. when documenting the workshops). We chose to frame the description of the work in terms of KGM’s pioneering strategies and techniques, devised in extraordinary circumstances that are innovative and of serious interest to HCI researchers working in a global economy. We felt self-conscious and sharply answerable when writing the report about how individual staff members (who were named) were represented, and how ‘what they said’ was captured in the context of a narrative account composed by us. This is because they may read the report, and their managers may read what they voiced along with KGM stakeholders. To ensure a sustainable partnership with KGM, we felt we needed to be seen to understand and to be respectful in our reporting of events. This report was delivered to our key contacts at Aegis and KGM a few months following the Rwanda visit. In disseminating materials for the HCI community, we felt answerable in different ways. Mindful of the fragile political stability in Rwanda, our sense of continuing responsibility to KGM staff was sharpened by the prospect of individual members’ voices being publically disseminated as representative of the institution. All names were anonymised for publication, however in a small cultural institution like KGM, individuals—and especially directors and managers—remain identifiable. We felt obliged to take care in representing others’ accounts to consider the implications of them being ‘public facing’. Our process of writing academic papers also raised ethical questions of: who is legitimized to work with the data and report on it within the research partnership, and to know how to enact care in the analysis and reporting. This involved us empathizing with the staff concern for the responsible handling of the KGM materials and humanitarian message. We realized that it was not possible to generate transferable considerations for the HCI community by assuming a universal approach to values and beliefs that may direct future technology design (Borning and Muller, 2012; Durrant et al., 2014). Acknowledging the sensitive and politically charged nature of the data we collected, the process of academic writing illuminated tensions on what it meant for us to guide ‘other’ HCI design researchers about supporting forms of cultural engagement in a transnational frame of interaction beyond the specificity of our setting. In an ethical move that responded to these concerns and insights, our academic paper arguments to date have featured a significant methodological component. Grounded in our experiences of conducting the study, we have presented accounts of our empirical findings in the context of the values and politics that significantly impacted our procedure, from data collection through to analysis. In doing so we aimed to make a contribution to the HCI field that advances the discourse around VSD. This line of argument enabled us to demonstrate transparency and rigour in our academic outputs, while enacting the sense of commitment we had made to our partners to respect their institutional values in the academic account. From this position we were motivated to communicate the complexity of the KGM context as a case example of what it means to do HCI research in value sensitive settings, emphasizing our interpretative stance (Durrant et al., 2014). 5. ON PRACTICING ETHICAL RESPONSIVENESS IN HCI RESEARCH 5.1. Introduction We now turn to discuss in more detail how we cultivated a habit of ethical responsiveness in our research process, shaped by feeling answerable to both the research context and to those whom we met in our work. In doing so we summarize the conceptual underpinnings of our pragmatist-dialogical approach, and consider how ethical responsiveness may be enacted by other HCI researchers as part of a developing practice. Ethical Responsiveness has pragmatist-dialogical foundations. LaFollette (2000), developing Dewey’s arguments, focuses heavily on the idea that one might come to adopt a ‘habit’ of reflexive ethical consideration, and that this habitual activity underlines a moral position—that by continually considering ethics in the course of the research one will deepen one’s felt sense of answerability (after Bakhtin) in response to the setting. In our three examples just given, we have described our openness to understanding and responding to the ethical concerns of others in the course of our research process, for example in our focus of interest, our plans, and our dissemination strategy. This responsiveness was guided by deliberation and reflexivity, as features of good practice. 5.2. Establish ‘dialogical understanding’ with partners for research design While our research team had plans for how a study with KGM could form part of the Pervasive Monuments project, both its conceptual framing and design were shaped significantly through an unfolding dialogue with our partners. It was through the empirical engagement that we came to understand the ethical issues involved for our research. Our trajectory of sense making aligned with the pragmatist-dialogical belief that practice is primary and that human understanding is inevitably open-ended; our ethical sensibilities on how to engage with our subject emerged from our experience of working with our partners—and most of all from meeting them, face-to-face, as they took turns to talk about personally held values that connected with the work of their institutions. Arguably, developing dialogical understanding with research partners may require multiple diverse stakeholder engagements, over time. This point resonates with accounts by Susan Thomson (2010, 2011) about appropriate research conduct in Rwanda and other transnational, post-conflict settings. Addressing practical concerns for researchers developing study proposals in such settings, there may, however, remain challenges for facilitating multiple engagements within a given project timeline. Formal policies may present constraints; university risk assessments, institutional ethics approval processes, and permits and permissions granted by foreign government departments may determine if-and-when visits to other countries or particular sites can take place. There may also be economic factors preventing repeat visits to sites. Such constraints can close down opportunities for dialogue. The communication and sense making that took place face-to-face at Laxton and at the Education Workshop in Kigali was far ‘richer’ than the Skype calls and emails that were held between the UK and Rwanda, before and after our visit to KGM; and certainly we would have liked to have been able to hold more collocated meetings with our partners than we could. There is great scope within the HCI field to critically explore the role of telecommunications and tools, like Skype, for affording remote engagement with transnational partners as part of an ethical practice to achieve dialogical understanding. 5.3. Anticipate changes to research activities through ‘deliberation’ The pragmatist-dialogical approach is characterized by the reflective practitioner who learns from experience in developing their ethical sensibilities. On a practical level, this can mean being open to redefining the scope or focus of the research in response to the unfolding engagement. For example, our first meeting at Laxton, described above, was originally approached as a planning meeting and not part of the empirical data collection. And yet the discussion proved hugely significant for us in developing empirical understanding. This kind of scenario raises interesting implications for how research studies are designed in line with institutional ethics guidelines, such as those in place at universities for acquiring ethical approval in advance of a study (Benford et al., 2015; Brown et al., 2016; Munteanu et al., 2015). Making amendments to ethical protocols can take time and cause disruption to project timelines. As Brown et al. (2016) have suggested, ethical research practice may be productively informed by considering institutional assessments of risk and value plus personal assessments of risk and value—a reflexive, deliberative exercise—in order to progress a given study. Considering transferable insights for the HCI field, we highlight here the need for researchers, when designing their studies and ethical protocols, to factor in deliberative activities and to prepare for contingency in their research plans. 5.4. Identify values within the research context that have ‘ethical weight’ Our ethical practice in the reported study was cultivated around key concepts voiced by our participants at the time, that is, valued features of KGM activities that have ethical weight. Firstly, KGM staff members and stakeholders expressed working to ‘open up’, foster and manage a ‘critical dialogue’ about the Rwandan genocide, with both local communities and international audiences, to meet KGM’s humanitarian remit of genocide prevention—aligned with national agendas of memorialization, commemoration, reconciliation and renewal. Secondly, we observed how this overarching endeavour, as a critical dialogue, also formed a ‘social process’, for example though the KGM-Eos’ facilitation of critical thinking about genocide history, face-to-face, in what they hoped to create as a ‘safe space’ in the centre. Thirdly, we observed how this social process had to be ‘carefully managed by experts’ who understood and represent the overarching institutional endeavour and who are perceived to have legitimacy to ‘give authorial voice’ to the process. Aegis-KGM staff expressed being personally and institutionally committed to delivering a particular narrative around genocide education specifically to counter anti-genocide ideology and genocide denial. This needed to be delivered in conjunction with the complex task of fostering critical thinking. Staff members expressed that the partners and stakeholders that they worked with—local and international—necessarily should have affinity with these values and processes. Therefore, as part of developing dialogical understanding with our partners, we also identified with these values and processes. Practicing ethical responsiveness as an HCI researcher involves understanding the values that your partners are expressing in relation to the research subject, and in the context of understanding the multiple differing value judgments of others. We suggest that HCI researchers adopting pragmatist-dialogical sensibilities would seek to understand ethical tensions and concerns within an organization, and the relative weighting of these, in order to understand when barriers between appropriate and inappropriate conduct may be transgressed. 5.5. Recognize what it means to ‘be answerable to others’ We became sensitized to these valued features of our partners’ organizational conduct through working with them. Our first ethical step was to recognize how, through our research partnership, we became part of KGM’s mesh of stakeholder connections, relationships and political alignments—that we became answerable to Aegis-KGM and a part of the rich picture we were studying. We recognized that we had political agency in how we composed and disseminated accounts of KGM work and values; this would have potential consequences for the institution and the individuals working within it or with it; our political positioning is therefore important. Also, we recognized that we are in a human trust relationship with the staff and stakeholders; this was felt most acutely at the face-to-face meetings. Trust needed to be developed within our ethical practice. We depended on this trust to gain access to the setting, and our contract also depended on Aegis-KGM receiving some benefit from partnering with us. During our engagement we developed the sense to not just ‘lay bare’ our observations in the pursuit of new knowledge that, in analytic terms, simply addressed our project aims. Rather, ethical responsiveness was cultivated to work up accounts of understanding to which we felt answerable: about how this work that KGM does, to articulate and enact its institutional values, may be supported by digital technology. We continue to acknowledge herein that our research must not work against the Aegis-KGM humanitarian endeavour. Leading from this, we encourage HCI researchers to foster a sense of answerability by which you make yourself accountable to your field settings, and to your partners and participants. It is important that researchers consider the perspective of ‘the other’ to ask if they are appropriately caring for their participants’ interests. Furthermore, the means to evaluate this should be built into the research plan. 5.6. Foster transcultural ethics by recognizing otherness The conceptual tools of Pragmatism and Dialogism enabled us to cultivate ethical responsiveness around the transnational dimensions of our partner relationships. The interpretations of LaFollette, Nielsen, and other humanities scholars on transcultural ethics (Min, 2001; Thomson, 2011) have helped us make sense of our experiences in the field of being positioned as ‘outsiders’ and ‘foreigners’, which we originally found distancing and constraining to our attempts to develop empathy and shared understanding. In our analytic phase, we recognized that there may inevitably be tensions arising from cultural difference—as played out when we were reminded in the Education workshop that ‘we could only ever develop a partial understanding of the setting’, but that we should accept and respect how we have been positioned by others because this is how our partners made sense of things within the relationship. Building on the excerpt by Nielsen (2002, given above), we recognized difference and respected the unequivocally individual perspective of an other—for example, recognizing that a researcher from a British university may never really know the life of a Rwandan genocide survivor—could be worked out through dialogue to achieve a constructive outcome: a richer understanding within the relationship about where one another is coming from: ‘we never cease to be ourselves’ but the apparent tensions on difference can be worked out in terms of ‘new ways of posing questions’ (ibid). In this constructive mind set, the conversation at the workshop about technology-mediated education presented an invitation to those present to think about their practices in new ways that may be valued by them. It provided a critical-reflective opportunity for them to assert what they believe in and for us researchers in turn to assert how we do VSD research in a transnational context. Furthermore, within the workshops, while it was not possible due to the constraints of time and composition to create a ‘safe space’ (Wiesemes, 2011) as per the regular practices of the KGM education team, we did construct what felt like an effective ‘dialogical space’. This allowed multiple voices (of the participating staff, researchers and external perspectives) to be reflexively examined without immediate recourse, with opportunity for deliberation when addressing individual positions on shared interests. Arguably, after Nielsen (2002), this space, created as a product of being ethically responsive in the research process, enabled demos (e.g. humanitarian agenda; ‘we are all Rwandans’) and ethnos (being African; being ‘westerners’; being a visitor) to be brought into dialogue, enacting and mirroring the kind of social process that the Education staff also valued in their work. This example from the workshop demonstrates more broadly that conflicting or outsider perspectives can be constructively engaged in dialogue for fostering or deepening self-knowledge. McCarthy and Wright have produced seminal work in the HCI field (2004, 2015) demonstrating the value of pragmatist-dialogical philosophy to research for advancing participatory approaches; herein we demonstrate how the same philosophical orientation can be brought to a practice of ethical responsiveness through a workshop technique in a transnational research context, to facilitate multiple perspective taking in discussions of identity and otherness. 5.7. ‘Cultivate a perspective’ that reflects shared understanding with partners Later in analysing the study data and considering dissemination, this sense of cultural exchange was further respected. For the report to Aegis-KGM to have practical value as a product of the outsider perspective, it needed to highlight our overlapping professional interests within the scholarly network to describe the opportunities and challenges for the centre’s work activities that were voiced at the workshops. In all phases of dissemination, we have self-identified as visiting researchers making an empathetic connection with KGM’s humanitarian values, as members of an international audience that KGM endeavoured to mobilize to its cause. By contrast, in disseminating our work to the academic HCI community, we have needed to balance this commitment to the cause with academic rigour. In forming our paper arguments, we have been reflexive and deliberative about how our analytic work is informed by our research partnership, and, how Aegis-KGM values (both institutional and personal) are represented in our interpretations and in academic paper arguments. In turn, our intended academic contributions to VSD discourse reflect this deliberation and reflexivity, showing how HCI researchers must at times choose and respond to a set of values amongst competing alternatives (Durrant et al., 2014). As we continue to work through processes of disseminating the Pervasive Monuments work, long after the project’s completion, we remain actively engaged in the ethical consideration of our research subject and empirical materials, which are shaped and modified by changing circumstances. Since conducting the research, some staff members working with our partners have moved into new work, and we have also moved to work at new institutions, impacting upon the nature of our partner relationships within the global scholarly network. But we remain answerable to Aegis-KGM and conscious that our accounts of the study sit in time and somewhere along a trajectory of the institution’s ongoing development and within the Rwandan national initiative towards reconciliation and reconstruction. Leading from this, we encourage HCI researchers to be open and prepared for the changing significance of their research over time and, to give serious consideration to managing the ongoing appropriation of empirical materials to different audiences as a feature of ethical practice. Attending to consent around such activity as time passes and circumstances change, should form part of this practice of ethical responsiveness. 5.8. Summary: engaging values in a transnational HCI context Conducting ethical research is not just about adhering to guidelines or procedures, it is what constitutes good practice (Bruckman, 2014; Waycott et al., 2017). In the pragmatist-dialogical terms explicated in this paper, ethical practice forms a moral habit that is responsive to, and cultivated through the experience of conducting research. In our research process we thought carefully about how we could position ourselves constructively for our partners, as scholars within a global scholarly network. We also thought sensitively about how to compose our research accounts to represent the survivor community within Rwanda, involving reflection upon how genocide histories and media are made sense of by both local and global cultures to speak to certain values that we continue to be committed to align with. And we felt the ethical weight of answerability within our partner relationships as impetus for cultivating a habit of ethical responsiveness that directed the course of the research. We have synthesized our insights for other HCI researchers to consider in their own ethical practice. We have offered conceptual tools for recognizing how cultures and moral criteria are not fixed, and how they may interact and be dynamically positioned in relation to each other for developing value judgments, for expressing affinity and difference, and for making socio-political commitments. After Irani et al. (2010), we recognize that our field settings and orientations to them are always changing and emerging dynamically through our interactions with them. The generative view of culture suggested by the postcolonial perspective allows designers to recognize their work not as designing appropriately for static, nationally-bound cultures, but instead as interventions both in conversation with and transformative of existing cultural practices (p. 1314). Supported by our examples in this paper, we have argued that practicing ethical responsiveness supports dialogical exchange within researcher-participant relations. This practice gains new significance when considering transnational, post-conflict contexts of interaction in which multiple expressions of value and identity are engaged on sensitive subjects that may be challenging to talk about to particular others. 6. CONCLUSION In this paper we have described our experience, as HCI design researchers, of developing a pragmatist-dialogical practice, or ‘habit’, of ethical responsiveness to study the relationships between technology and processes of memorialization and genocide education in the sensitive setting of KGM in Rwanda. Drawing upon Pragmatist and Dialogical concepts, we have presented a qualitative account of a research study conducted in dialogue with staff and stakeholders within the transnational Aegis-KGM partnership. Using the rich context of our case, we have described our openness to understand the ethical issues at play during the research process, and how we were responsive to these in our practice, altering our study design. We have demonstrated how these ethics were connected to particular values held by the institution and its staff, and how our felt sense of answerability to our partners led us to position ourselves and our work relative to these values. We have further described how this sense of ethical responsiveness has guided our modes of analysis to deliver methodological understanding about doing VSD and transnational HCI. We suggest that transferable insights may be drawn from this account for others working in the HCI field. We may suggest in closing that as a researcher you can’t just lay things bare in the pursuit of new knowledge. You are in partner relationships that presume, within your contract, some trust and respect about political positioning. As we worked with our partners to develop a means to engage in design research, we chose to be respectful of the institutional values of Aegis-KGM, which was reflected in the arguments of our academic papers. This was an outcome of researcher reflexivity and deliberation, and continuing to feel answerable to our partners, participants and to our academic community. FUNDING This work was funded by Horizon: Digital Economy Hub at the University of Nottingham EPSRC Grant (EP/G065802/1) and The Leverhulme Trust (ECF-2012-642). Footnotes 1 Hutu Moderates are commonly given as those Rwandans, classified as Hutus who either sought to protect or otherwise aid Tutsis being targeted by the Genocide, or who were seen as politically dissident to the then Government regime. 2 Discourse around a Rwandan identity has been subject to some recent controversy with the 2013 Government launch of the Ndi Umunyarwanda Program, which seeks to encourage Hutus to apologize for and take responsibility for the ‘Genocide against the Tutsi’s’—in a move which has been criticized as returning to discourse around ethnic identities—but which was framed as a means for opening dialogue around the past. 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