In March, I moved to Umeå, in Northern Sweden to take up a professorship in Design for Sustainability at the Umeå Institute of Design, at Umeå University. I maintain a position at SDU, to work with my amazing colleagues in the MERE research group, and continue my work on FUSILLI, an EU project on food system transition that runs January 2021 through December 2024 (I’m a Work Package Leader and local coordinator on the project). Life is good. Sweden is a revelation. As an Australian in Europe, I have always missed large skies and omnipresent nature. Umeå has these things and more. Lovely people, a vibrant restaurant scene, stunning nature, a world-class academic environment, and a relaxed pace of life. I am excited to build my research group here, and to grow in collaboration with my colleagues and collaborators across the university, as well as at SDU in Denmark, and elsewhere.
There are so many things on the horizon, I will simply mention one lovely thing that happened recently:
Food for Thought: Using food as the locus for thinking.
ABSTRACT: Every person eats and has some kind of competence around eating. People eat for nourishment, sensual fulfilment and socialization. All 17 of the UN’s sustainability goals can be linked to food, and the food system is now recognised as a major driver of climate change due to changes in land use, depletion of freshwater resources, and pollution of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Food is personally, socially, politically and ecologically potent, making it an important vector through which to reimagine and redesign everyday interactions. In recent years, my research has taken a turn towards food as the vector through which to conduct diverse enquiries. This turn builds on professional culinary experience from my life before becoming a researcher and an ongoing, passionate interest in food as an aesthetically sophisticated, sensorially rich social glue. It extends my work in embodied design and commitment to more sustainable ways of approaching designing, designing research and living. In this proposal I provide an overview of my food-related research enquiries… (full text)
Professor Luiz Marcelo de CARVALHO. Department of Education, Institute of Biosciences, University Estadual Paulista, Brazil.
We also had an interactive poster session, so we could engage with the research of different committee members. I presented the following, highlighting the three research apprenticeship projects I have run since 2016 under the monikers biohack*kolding and Food for Thought:
A lot has happened. Here’s my half-yearly round-up, with the most recent at the top:
July & August, research writing | in a mobile office: touring the Scottish Highlands
I am extremely fortunate to be spending three weeks over July and August touring the Scottish Highlands on my motorbike. It’s my favourite way of engaging in deep reflection and writing. I find writing hard. Being able to spend a couple of hours a day immersed in rugged wilderness, wending my way around remote locations on my lovely F700GS motorbike is an extremely embodied, satisfying and productive way to undertake my thinking. I’m working on a lot of things simultaneously: funding applications, journal articles and conference submissions. Sometimes I wonder if that’s so smart, but it seems to be what I always do.
July 7 & 8, Art Laboratory Berlin, Shared Habitats workshop: (Un)Real Ecologies – Microplastics (with Kat Austen & Nana MacLean) I had the great pleasure of being invited by Christian de Lutz and Regine Rapp to participate in the (Un)Real Ecologies workshop on microplastics, organised together with DIY Hack the Panke. The workshop is the first action in the Shared Habitats project, a network collaboration funded by Nordic Culture Point, building on the Nordic-Baltic BioMedia Network funding we received last year (more on that soon).
Photos courtesy Kat Austen
Plastic has pervaded water, soil and our bodies. It is the new icon of our time. During the (Un)Real Ecologies: Microplastics workshop we will explore the presence of microplastics in the Panke River, near Art Laboratory Berlin. How do organisms and microorganisms exist with and construct with these human-made materials? We will interrogate the water samples, to discover a new understanding of the reality of the Panke’s ecosystem, with plastic present and wholly a part of it – a microcosm that allows us to ask: “what is nature?”
Documentation of the workshop can be viewed here, including the different prototcols we used to detect and measure microplastics.
July 5 & 6, Bauhaus University, Weimar: [dis]solving boundaries I was honoured to be an invited speaker at a symposium organised for the 10th anniversary of the Bauhaus University Young Bauhaus Research Centre. [dis]solving boundaries brought together emerging and senior researchers working at the boundaries of politics, design, disciplines and experience.
The abstract for my talk:
Food for Thought ~ from the planetary to the personal We live in challenging times. Humanity’s material practices are destroying the ecologies that we rely on to thrive, impacting every living entity on the planet. We cannot keep living the way that we have been living. This means that we cannot keep designing the way we have been designing. But how do we design new imaginaries and practices? How do we transform the dominant status quo?Increasingly, artists and designers are working with other species to develop material alternatives. The new practices and associated politics that are emerging, are not yet well mapped and pathways for transformational change—for the moment—remain elusive. Food for Thought grapples with this problematic by taking food and eating as starting points for thinking about what we might wear, eat and grow. Eating is intimate, mundane—socially, culturally and politically potent—aesthetically rich and essential to life. Food for Thought asks how shared and complementary concerns around food and eating might better entangle the desires of different living beings on our fragile planet. Can we eat to thrive, flourish, and grow together? Can food provide a much needed frame for thinking? Can it help us to dissolve the artificial boundaries we place around our personhood, that prevent us from more productively entangling ourselves in the ecologies of which we are [a]part? The research posits food as a powerful locus for situated, material thinking and co-production of knowledge. Through performed, participatory encounters, it looks at technologies and ecologies, to re-make material imaginaries and practices, to re-orient them more powerfully towards ecological flourishing. The objective is to better understand how to fruitfully converge design, science and civic imaginaries, to—literally and metaphorically, materially and relationally—grow alternate material futures that productively entangle imaginaries and real-world practices.
June 24–29, DRS2018 Limerick, Ireland I attended the Design Research SocietyAnnual Conference, where I co-hosted a conversation with Peter Buwert and Ian Lambert of Edinburgh Napier University and Ann Light of Sussex University, UK. Abstract + citation links below. The conversation continues on Medium.
The Ascendency of Process over Outcome: considering the challenges of how to present the object of research through design.
Research through Design is a process that has been absorbed into the mainstream but without consideration of what it fully entails. In this Conversation, we go back to the original sense of the term and look at how each of us might interpret and apply it in our work so that the notion of process is foregrounded. For some, this means taking the learning from processes that have not developed as expected. For others, it is about how societal or personal process itself may be designed. How can process itself be captured and presented? How can research whose primary material is inherently immaterial be adequately presented? The challenge is to find ways of presenting a dynamic narrative of research process, which remains accessible after the fact. The snap-shots and freeze-frames of still/video photography and artefacts produced and recorded during the research process are a trail of evidence left behind after the crime. How do we catch the research redhanded? In what ways can the dynamic immaterial research narrative be presented as its own ‘artefact’ rather than having to rely on second-hand documentation?
Citation: Buwert, P., Lambert, I., Light, A., Wilde, D: The Ascendency of Process over Outcome: considering the challenges of how to present the object of research through design. DRS2018, The Design Research Society Conference (2018). DRS link + more on Medium.
June 25, ENEC Cost Action CA16299, Country Report for Denmark The main aim of the ENEC (European Network for Environmental Citizenship through Formal and Non-Formal Education) Action is to enable scientific developments in the field of Environmental Citizenship leading to new conceptualizations and new products and thereby contributing to strengthening European research and innovation capacities in the field.
Today, we submitted the SWOT report on Environmental Citizenship Education in Denmark, detailing the current state of affairs. The report synthesises detailed feedback from seven experts: two decision-makers in NGOs, an academic researcher, two decision-makers in Educational Professional Society, an educator specialised in secondary education, and a policy-maker from the Danish Ministry for Education. The country report will be published as a chapter in the forthcoming book on environmental citizenship education in European. We thank our experts heartily for their contribution.
June 19–25, ITPD exams Four of my five Masters students completed their theses, all achieving the highest grade in the Danish system (woohoo!). Well done Aleksander Borislavov Novakov and Ivan Nikolaev Nikolov who undertook a joint thesis, Larissa Vivian Nägele, and Theresia Torenholt. Camilla Schibsbye is on track to complete in August.
June 8–13, DIS2018, Hong Kong The ACM Designing Interactive Systems conference took place in Hong Kong this year. I was a key author of three contributions:
Exploring Aesthetic Enhancement of Wearable Technologies for Deaf Women
The Quietude project uses making, participation and co-design to collectively imagine a more sustainable, aesthetically enriched future for deaf women, by developing wearables that respond to the women’s needs and desires: those that are well known, and those that may be only dimly glimpsed. We present our motivation and process, and describe our first workshop that brought together deaf women, ethicists, makers, designers and technology experts. The workshop led to the design and development of an ecology of jewellery products: fashionable accessories that enhance the experience of deaf women by translating sounds into vibration, light patterns and shape change. We reflect on the opportunities and challenges of developing aesthetically rich wearables for deaf women, using experimental participatory design methods, and the value of considering disability as an opportunity for wearables design, rather than as an issue that needs to be addressed or solved.
Citation: Wilde, D., Marti, P. Exploring Aesthetic Enhancement of Wearable Technologies for Deaf Women. DIS2018, In Proc. Designing Interactive Systems. ACM (2018): 201–213.ACM link
Visualising the landscape of Human-Food Interaction research
While conducting a review of food-related technology research, we discovered that activity in this area is skyrocketing across a broad range of disciplinary interests and concerns. The dynamic and heterogeneous nature of the research presents a challenge to scholars wishing to critically engage with prior work, identify gaps and ensure impact. In response to this challenge, we are developing an online visualisation tool: an app that affords diffractive reading of the literature, mapping interferences and differences from varied perspectives. We present our first iteration of the app, which enables scholars to navigate the literature through seven lenses-focus, agency, domain, date of publication, author keywords, and publication venue and type. Here we present the first iteration of the app, toward receiving critical input from concerned researchers, to validate our approach and ensure relevance moving forward.
Citation: Bertran, F. A., Jhaveri, S., Lutz, R., Isbister, K., Wilde, D. Visualising the landscape of Human-Food Interaction research. DIS2018, In Proc. Designing Interactive Systems. ACM (2018): 243–248. ACM link
Hand-making food ideals: crafting the design of future food-related technologies
Much technology is designed to help people enact processes faster and more precisely. Yet, these advantages can come at the cost of other, perhaps less tangible, values. In this workshop, we aim to articulate values associated with handmade through a co-creative exploration in the food domain. Our objective is to explore the potential of integrating such values into future food-related technologies. In a full day workshop we will: critically reflect on the notion of handmade; engage actively with food-production, plating and consumption-as design material; and conduct collective discussions around the values that these processes and materials can embody when attended to through lenses other than efficiency. By handmaking: touching, smelling, tasting, listening, speaking and enacting choreographies with the materials at hand, we hope to deepen the discussion of the meaning associated with the handmade and bring a richness to ways that designers imagine future food-related technologies.
Citation: Vannucci, E., Bertran, F. A., Marshall, J., Wilde, D. Hand-making food ideals: crafting the design of future food-related technologies. DIS2018, In Proc. Designing Interactive Systems. ACM (2018): 419–422. ACM link Workshop website: handmakingfood.wordpress.com.
June 4, Food for Thought: Research apprentices book submission This semester I worked with six very talented Research Apprentices: Jekaterina Aleksejeva, Jaleh Berhravan, Paul Biedermann, Iulia Gavriliuc, Ona Orlovaite and Valeria Vismara. Today they submitted their hand-made book, Food for Thought: Your Guide for Creating Bioplastics. Fantastic work!
March 15 one-off distributed event: BioShades As part of TCBL—the EU Textile and Clothing Business Labs initiative, in collaboration with Fabricademy and WAAG, we co-hosted the one-off BioShades workshop and talks in the BodyBioSoft Lab.
The second meeting of The European Network for Environmental Citizenship COST Action CA16229 took place in Cyprus. It was a great opportunity to continue conversations begun in Brussels in October last year, hear early country reports, map out upcoming actions for our working group: Primary Non-Formal Education (NB in Denmark, Primary Education is up to 15 years old), and begin structuring the forthcoming book.
February & March: Wearable Futures & Food for Thought A new batch of students on the wearables course. Always exciting. A key driver of the course will be to investigate how wearable (design) fictions can help us to think about alternative nows.
+ a new batch of research apprentices. Here’s the project pitch they responded to:
Food for Thought Eating is a fundamental human activity—everybody eats, not only to survive, but also to thrive personally, socially and culturally. Food for thought asks how our material engagements with food might be more nourishing. Our aims over the four months will be to make and grow edible cutlery and tableware; and understand cultural issues and opportunities for uptake. We will undertake material explorations and cultural investigations to reflect on these questions. We will also learn techniques for measuring micro-plastics in the food chain, as we seek to understand where alternative material practices might have an impact. Initial outcomes will be tested at the 4th international symposium of the Nordic-Baltic BioMedia Network FOOD+[material practices], in Kolding April 5–7, 2018. The symposium will bring together leading artists and design researchers from the Nordic and Baltic region, Germany and Switzerland, who use doing-it-together biology as cultural and material practice. To complete the research, our findings—reflections and recipes for both material and cultural transformation—will be collected as a recipe book. No previous experience with doing-it-together biology is required, but a keen interest in material interactions and participatory forms of Research through Design will be of benefit, as will graphic design and visual documentation skills. There are many challenges facing humans today. Not least, the climate crisis and the mass migration of peoples that prompt us to ask how humans might live, in order that we—and our planet, rich with diverse species—might flourish. Food for thought engages with this question directly, using food as a starting point from which to explore more sustainable material engagements around the everyday, intimate, mundane—socially, culturally and politically potent—act of eating.
February 16–17, DIYbio meeting #3, Stavanger, NO The third DIYbio meeting took place over two days in Stavanger, hosted by the amazing Hege Tapio, of i/o/lab senter for framtidskunst. The event included a workshop on Bioluminescence, at Creator Makerspace, an Art & Science Cocktail evening at a venue called Tou Scene, with talks by myself, Miga Gapševičius, Martin Malthe Borch, and Kristina Lindström—video of the talks is available here, and a network meeting to unpack a bit more parallel, intersecting, complementary and divergent interests of the network members.
Right now I’m in Barcelona, getting ready to deliver a course in Participatory Action Research through Design. It’s an extended version of the course I ran last year, and will keep me busy for the next ten days!
The new wearables course will start when I get back to Kolding. This year we’re looking at Wearable fictions, and how situating wearable (design) fictions into real world spaces can help shake up the designers’ capacity for world-making / future-making.
Many other things in the works. I’ll try to update a little more regularly this year.
Much has happened since my last post. Here’s an overview, working backwards, beginning with a photo of our most recent designer in residence at the BodyBioSoft Lab, Charlotte Werth:
November & December, BodyBioSoftLab Charlotte Werth was designer in residence in the BodyBioSoft lab, learning how to dye textiles using bacteria, and undertaking different print experiments.
November 30: Affective Interfaces Seminar at ITU Copenhagen Affective Interfaces brought together scholars, designers and artists in a joint exploration of the interfacial engagements and arrangements conditioning our everyday lives by focusing on the affective modulations effectuated by electronic, digital and architectural interfaces on a cultural, aesthetic and political level.
November 14–18 Quietude 2nd workshop in Siena, Italy. This time held at Siena Art Institute, an organisation frequented by the Italian deaf community. So instead of bringing them to us, we went to them. Small steps in collaborative democracy.
October: Enhancing Silence receives Lighthouse funding! The Enhancing Silence project, which builds on the work being undertaken in Italy for Quietude, received internal seed funding from SDU! The project officially launched in November. Over the first few months we are making links with partners in the deaf community in Denmark. Our first interventions will be in May/June 2018 (watch this space)
September 26, 2017–March 28, 2018 Waag’s Fabricademy
I will be following Waag’s Fabricademy, continuing the research I’ve been doing into the pedagogical strengths and challenges of open source education (see Kolding Biohack Academy)
September 4-5, Creative Tastebuds, Århus.
Ferran Altarriba Bertran and I submitted an abstract on Participatory Research through Gastronomy Design. The article will be published in a special issue of the International Journal of Food Design. Here’s the abstract:
Participation and play take many forms in the preparation and eating of food, yet have unexplored potential in the context of gastronomy. To address this gap, we combined participatory Research through Design and play theory to develop a new method for gastronomy design. We interviewed stakeholders and identified four overlooked opportunities to extend play in gastronomy: (1) eliciting play beyond surprise and make-believe; (2) facilitating socialisation through emergent forms of play; (3) using common eating rituals as inspiration for gastronomy; and (4) using play to enhance degustation. We conducted a series of dinners, designed with and for experts, enthusiasts and novices to explore these opportunities; and tested broad applicability of our method through a workshop with student chefs and game designers. Participatory Research through Gastronomy Design affords the design of experiences that appeal to a range of diners; reflection on abstract dilemmas related to the gastronomic experience; exploration of play’s impact on social dynamics; and—when directed at specific questions—can productively inform concrete design choices. Gastronomy that responds to diners’ needs and desires beyond a chefs’ personal understanding of play, is lacking. We posit participatory Research through Gastronomy Design as an exciting—and viable—approach to address this lack.
July: Quietude gets H2020 WEAR Sustain funding
The Quietude project received €50,000 from H2020-WEAR Sustain to undertake a six-month sprint, developing the work from TRL3 (experimental first proof of concept) through to TRL7 (prototype demonstration in operational environment). Partners include The University of Siena (project lead), Santa Chiara Fab Lab, Siena Arts Institute, Glitch Factory, Technology for all, and some amazing members of the Italian deaf community.
June: SDU joins partners in the region to create the Nordic/Baltic DIYBio Network Initiated by organisation Institutio Media, supported by Nordic Culture Point and International Semiotics Institute of Kaunas University of Technology.
Bioartsociety (FI), i/o/lab Centre for Future Art (NO), Studio NG20, Malmö (SE), Institutio media (LT), Synthetic Biology Organisation (iGEM Vilnius) (LT), Technarium hackerspace (LT), International Hackteria Society and Global Hackteria Network (CH), University of Southern Denmark BodyBioSoft Lab (DK), Biologigaragen (DK), Bauhaus University Weimar (DE), Top Association for the Promotion of Cultural Practice, Berlin (DE).
August 16-17, Constructive & Experimental Research, Århus Aarhus University recently changed its regulations allowing PhD students to submit ‘non-written’ works as part of the PhD dissertation, however there are no guidelines or established practices about how to approach this. This PhD Summer School included a panel on practice-based design research. The panel included myself, Elisa Giaccardi (TU/Delft), Jonas Löwgren (Linköping), Thomas Binder (KADK, Copenhagen), Marie Koldkjær Højlund (Århus) and Lone Koefoed Hansen (Århus)
Design School Kolding, Denmark.
September 25, 2015. 9:30am
Emerging innovations in the material and biological sciences are transforming what is possible in design. But how do designers gain access to these innovations, so that their potential can be leveraged?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to fashion is: (1) to change (something) so as to make it suitable for a new use or situation; or (2) to bring (something new) into being by combining, shaping, or transforming materials. This lecture will introduce a range of approaches to fashioning science in the contexts of fashion, textiles, product and industrial design. Examples from practice will be given, and links to resources that can assist designers to engage with the potential of fashioning science as a way to contribute to human flourishing.
Danielle Wilde is an Associate Professor of Research at SDU Design, Kolding. Her research is focused on embodied interaction, next generation wearables, post-disciplinary and disruptive research strategies, upstreaming engagement and converging craft, design and science. For more, go to: daniellewilde.com