Activating Design for Biodiversity
For half a decade, we have been challenging human-centred design by turning to practice design with more-than-humans. Over 160 Industrial design students, and 6 faculty members have been re-learning our place in the world as dependent among, and interdependent with, all other forms of life. Our research shows that this shift in worldview is accomplished through direct, visceral engagement with nature and forms of wildness that are found when we slow down and wander outside of our human-made environments. External guests, including our more-than-human partners, prompt designers to care, to reconsider daily rituals, to re-language and to tell new stories.This engagement opens pathways to a plurality of views and approaches, and seeds a shift in priorities. Recalibrating practices in this way illuminates human interconnection with animate and inanimate beings, highlighting our deep relationality and reliance on the natural world in everything we do. Several questions guide our research. How can design include the presence and voices of more-than-human beings in our processes? How can we establish the importance of more-than-human stakeholders in decision-making? What forms of pedagogy engage new learners? How do students re-interpret these teachings and show us new ways of knowing?
Interdependence, Relationality, Multi-species, Post-Anthropocentric
Zach Camozzi – I was born in Toronto, central Canada, to Italian-Canadian and French-Canadian parents. As a child, my family moved to the West Coast and its ocean, mountains and dense rainforests. On the lands of the Shíshálh (Sechelt) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations, my love of nature was nourished. The dominantly white, English speaking, cis, working class culture (of which I identify) influenced choices like studying Engineering and working in Outdoor Education. I straddle, struggle and continue to decolonize myself and my practice through my work as an interdisciplinary designer teaching in the Faculty of Design and Graduate Studies at Emily Carr University. I primarily research Nature’s connections and influence on design. This allows me to practice within recreation, education and health. In Emily Carr’s Design for Social Innovation Lab (DESIS) I develop pedagogy that de-centres humans. Within the Health Design Lab, I activate outdoor spaces to support children with learning differences. With the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute, I intervene in outdoor play, adding risk in early childcare for development.
Charlotte Falk –Raised in a middle class family in Treaty 6 territory by my mother (of English-Canadian descent) and my father (first generation, German descent), I grew up in a family of scientists, with an early interest in making and art that ultimately lead to design. This trajectory in part through my maternal grandmother’s infectious interest in early Canadian antiques and design. I am a settler, an able-bodied, cis-gender, white woman — identities I continue to interrogate and carry with me into the spaces of my practice. I am an interdisciplinary designer, educator, artist, and (rookie) gardener with a practice spanning industrial design, communication design, public art and architecture. This interdisciplinary practice is reflected in my teaching: at Emily Carr University of Art and Design as a sessional lecturer, and at Langara College as a part-time instructor, both located in Vancouver on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples – Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. My research investigates design processes in relation to materiality and technique, with emphasis on pluralistic, participatory approaches to design.
Dr. Louise St. Pierre – My French-Canadian and British-Canadian ancestors were farmers and makers on the original lands of the Cold Lake First Nation people in remote Northern Alberta. I grew up as a cis-gender white woman with a connection to the land and to cycles of nature that has permeated my research and my life, from the development of early ecological design methods (Okala.net), to developing classes in ecological design, and to being arrested in climate protests. My recent efforts to heal the relationship between Western Modernity and Nature include founding the Design for All Beings Research Group, teaching Design with More-than-Humans, and publications such as Design and Nature: A partnership (Routledge 2019). My approaches to embodied, relational, and experiential pedagogies are informed by my deep engagement with wisdom traditions and contemplative practices.