critML Toolbox

critML draws on critical intersectional feminist methodologies to construct interdisciplinary interventions in the design of machine learning systems, towards more inclusive, reflective and contextualized systems design. Currently critML offers a series of workshops that introduce critical concepts from intersectional critical research and provides ways of working with them in ML systems design.  The workshop series propose working with “situated knowledges/situating”, “figurations/figuring”, “diffraction” and “critical fabulation/speculation” as theoretical and methodological tools that can help re-imagine machine learning systems design as a more contextualized, transdisciplinary process.

The purpose of the workshops is to experiment with how machine learning systems can be imagined and designed in a more situated, inclusive, contextualized and accountable way in order to account for the systemic biases and develop more socially responsible frameworks for 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, critical theories, particularly feminist, anti-racist, post/de-colonial work, have developed tools to address systemic bias and intervene in hierarchies of power in society.

The workshop series introduce critical intersectional methodologies as potential design intervention tools and suggest creative ways to translate such methodologies into tools for machine learning systems design.

Workshop process

The workshop process is thoroughly documented in this paper. Images of how each of the workshop days was set up on a digital whiteboard can be found here.

A practical workbook is currently in the making.

Exercise descriptions

Critical concepts can be actualized in the ML design process through exploratory and design exercises. See descriptions of exercises here:

We recommend trying the exercises out after reading the workshop process documentation above – or get in touch with us for facilitation and advice!

See also our paper presentation at FAccT’22:

Reading list

Situated Knowledges:

  • Patricia Hill Collins. (1991). Black Feminist Thought. Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. Routledge, New York. Link to the text online.
  • Donna Haraway. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies 14, 3, 575-599. DOI:
  • Sandra Harding (1992). RETHINKING STANDPOINT EPISTEMOLOGY: WHAT IS ‘STRONG OBJECTIVITY’? The Centennial Review, 36(3), 437-470.
  • Claude Draude, Goda Klumbyte, Phillip Lücking, Pat Treusch (2019). Situated algorithms: a sociotechnical systemic approach to bias. Online Information Review, 44(2), 325-342.
  • Marcel Stoetzler and Nira Yuval-Davis. (2002). Standpoint theory, situated knowledge and the situated imagination. Feminist Theory, 3(3): 315-333. DOI:



  • Karen M. Barad. 2007. Meeting the universe halfway. Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Duke University Press, Durham, N.C. Link to the text online.
  • Lucian Leahu. 2016. Ontological Surprises: A Relational Perspective on Machine Learning. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems – DIS ’16. ACM Press, New York, New York, USA, 182-186. DOI:
  • Loren Britton, Goda Klumbyte, and Claude Draude. 2019. Doing thinking: revisiting computing with artistic research and technofeminism. Digital Creativity 1, 1, 1-16. DOI:

Critical Fabulation/Speculation:

  • Saidiya Hartman. 2008. Venus in Two Acts. Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism 12, 2, 1-14.
  • Daniela Rosner. 2020. Critical Fabulations. Reworking the methods and margins of design. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Link to website.
  • Kirsten Bray and Christina Harrington. 2021. Speculative Blackness: Considering Afrofuturism in the Creation of Inclusive Speculative Design Probes. In Designing Interactive Systems Conference 2021. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1793-1806.
  • Franchesca Spektor & Sarah Fox (2020). The ‘Working Body’: Interrogating and Reimagining the Productivist Impulses of Transhumanism through Crip-Centered Speculative Design. Somatechnics, 10(3), 327-354.