"Research With the People, Not About the People"

A look back at the SecHuman & CASA Spring School "Practicing security hands-on. Methods and practice of inclusive security".

Work with Lego figures in the workshop

Copyright: RUB, Marquard

From 15th to 17th May 2023 the SecHuman & CASA Spring School "Practicing security hands-on. Methods and practice of inclusive security" took place at the Ruhr University Bochum. IT security PhD researchers and international students from multiple disciplines of the Ruhr-Universität came together, exploring, discovering and discussing IT security problems and co-creating answers. Prof. Lizzie Coles-Kemp and Dr. Laura Shipp from Royal Holloway University London shared their expertise in inclusive security and led the participants through the valuable processes of participatory IT security research. The workshop was captured in a graphic recording by illustrator Eva Ewerhart that can be found here.

Here, some of the participants share their experiences, summing up the workshop:

Annalina Buckmann, PhD at the Cluster of Excellence CASA: "In 'digital first' societies, the security of technology and the security of people are intertwined. Engaging security therefore means engaging people. Including people into the process and working together by means of participatory methods requires trust, empathy, and curiosity. Cultivating these skills is essential to have conversations on eye level about digital security, and to develop human-centred approaches – be it in society, in organizations, in communities or teams. The opportunity to co-develop this Spring School, and to facilitate engagements between people, has been a truly humbling and insightful experience. I am thankful to each and every one willing to participate and engage with each other, and showing it is worth taking the plunge. Let’s keep this conversation going!"

Sophia Okyere, Master student at Ruhr University Bochum: "The workshop was a lot of interaction with students from different fields, but they all were curious about the importance of digital security. In this rapidly evolving technology world, in which there is a possible risk to online safety, I find it very useful, informative and relevant. As far as intellectual quality was concerned, it was a wonderful event. Thanks to the organisers."

René Walendy, PhD at the research college SecHuman: "Coming from a technologist domain, I've gained valuable insights into the intricate relationships between technology and society, and how to consider them early in the security research and design phase. I extend my gratitude to all of the international students who engaged with us over the past two days. As IT security professionals, I think we need to do more work towards acknowledging the complexities of social aspects in IT security and privacy in our research. Even coming from hardware security research, the methods discussed in the last couple of days are invaluable for community building in this field. The discussions we had together were a great start to a conversation that I hope we can carry forward in our interdisciplinary research school."

Amrit Jena, Master student at Ruhr University Bochum: "It was a wonderful experience for me, maybe one of the most unique workshops I have attended so far. It was wonderful in terms of the team-building activities and intensive involvement of the guest participants like us and never felt like we don't belong to this space/the field of study even for a single second. The best thing I learned personally is how the diverse perspective of each individual of a team can be handled nicely to shape it into something nice and interesting at the end."

Further information about the research college SecHuman

General note: In case of using gender-assigning attributes we include all those who consider themselves in this gender regardless of their own biological sex.